We live in an age of connection, one that is accelerated by the Internet. This increasingly ubiquitous, immensely powerful techlogy often leads us to assume that as the number of people online grows, it inevitably leads to a smaller, more cosmopolitan world. We'll understand more, we think. We'll kw more. We'll engage more and share more with people from other cultures. In reality, it is easier to ship bottles of water from Fiji to Atlanta than it is to get news from Tokyo to New York. In Rewire, media scholar and activist Ethan Zuckerman explains why the techlogical ability to communicate with someone does t inevitably lead to increased human connection. At the most basic level, our human tendency to flock together means that most of our interactions, online or off, are with a small set of people with whom we have much in common. In examining this fundamental tendency, Zuckerman draws on his own work as well as the latest research in psychology and sociology to consider techlogy's role in disconnecting ourselves from the rest of the world. For those who seek a wider picture-a picture w critical for survival in an age of global ecomic crises and pandemics-Zuckerman highlights the challenges, and the headway already made, in truly connecting people across cultures. From voracious xephiles eager to explore other countries to bridge figures who are able to connect one culture to ather, people are at the center of his vision for a true kind of cosmopolitanism. And it is people who will shape a new approach to existing techlogies, and perhaps invent some new ones, that embrace translation, cross-cultural inspiration, and the search for new, serendipitous experiences. Rich with Zuckerman's personal experience and wisdom, Rewire offers a map of the social, technical, and policy invations needed to more tightly connect the world.
Ethan Zuckerman is the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media. A media scholar, Internet activist, and blogger, he lives in Lanesboro, Massachusetts.