Virtual Community: Can We Survive It?

This is a good description of what I see sometimes, the retreat from reality to the screen (first, second, sometimes even third). What interests me most is why? What are we retreating from, and seeking? Sure this is happening, our behavior is changing, because we have the means in our hands. Companies are profiting hugely from the shift. But what is it that we're after, as we peer into that tiny bright rectangle? What am I after, writing here? Because we know that we can always get on Facebook, or [...]

“What the Internet is Hiding from You” – @nybooks

Sue Halpern's articles in the New York Review of Books are thought-provoking introductions to aspects of science and technological development that I need to know about, and this essay is relevant to human relationships, the subject of A Smaller Circle: Anonymity, which flourishes where there is no individual accountability, is one of its key features, and behind it, meanness, antipathy, and cruelty have a tendency to rush right in. As the sociologist Sherry Turkle observes: "Networked, we are together, but so lessened are our expectations of each other that we [...]

Two cultures, new cultures

I just went back to something I wrote four years ago in Shanghai, working on a letter about my early days in publishing and how they shaped what Berkshire Publishing Group is becoming today, and found that I was writing then about community as well as about my October letter's subject: the "two cultures" and how we are working to bring this great divide through interdisciplinary collaboration. I've also been thinking about the protests near Wall Street in New York, only a couple miles from where I sit on a [...]