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Hyperlinked Society book now online

The Hyperlinked Society: Questioning Connections in the Digital Age, edited by Joseph Turow and Lokman Tsui, is now available in full online. It’s an anthology of essays about hyperlinks and society by a great collection of folks. (And then there’s my contribution, which argues that the Internet is good — what a surprise! — because the hyperlinked architecture of the Web mirrors the architecture of morality itself.)

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6 Responses to “Hyperlinked Society book now online”

  1. I agree, the internet and especially blogs allows us to see what we would not normally see.

  2. Thanks for the link to the book – has been a very good read so far.

  3. Just tracking the idea of connection across the web, and I came to your connection/link to this fascinating exploration of hyperlinks. This result, and my response on your blog that is the result of this result, speaks to the power of connection. I learned about you,and about all the people who have connected with you, and about this work on the hyperlinked world. *I’ve already begun reading it, and it’s worth the read so far!

    I think the connected web in which all these events take place helps me to be a more connected person with myself, and hyperlinks let me grow this capacity at hyperspeed (as opposed to mundane reality, where acquiring these connections would take a very long time.)

    One more thing: On the amoral nature of any tool…a tool is as useful as the person who wields it, and as good (or evil) as the person who uses it. The web cannot be more or less than a mirror for we who use it and wield it!

    Thanks for a great blog, and for the mindset behind it! I’m bookmarking you!

  4. I just now read your contribution, and wow, it is a wonderful read!  (I’m going to talk about it on my blog one day soon.) So it was GOOD!  The way you define morality is so good I’ll be quoting it to my students next week (with full attribution to you, of course!)  I loved the Golden Rule Rabbi Akiva reference too.  

    If I’ve understood what you wrote, you pose the idea that hyperlinks are essentially moral, and therefore good.

    I agree, but only to a point.  I agree that links are ‘good’ because they connects us as human beings to each other, opens up expansive and creative options and possibilities beyond our immediate view, helps us to recognize that we are part of a larger world, and to care about that larger world.  

    But I cannot help but balance this good with the corresponding potential for evil that the web makes possible.  The loss of privacy for example, where companies and governments can spy on us, get into OUR space when we enter the shared space.  The way that anything you say can and will be used against you if someone has a mind to do so. The way it can be used to build connections between people of ill intent, like terrorists and fanatics.  Or to make available to people of bad intent the tools of our collective destruction (bomb making, for example.) The way it can be used to balkanize us, as we stick with people we agree with and filter out conflicting results and any other source of cognitive dissonance that might disturb our already fettered and cluttered minds. 

    Please do reply when you have a moment.  I’m quite taken with your writing…I did not intend to read the entirety of the article, but once I began I had to complete it, because your prose (actually the conherence of your thinking) beckoned me onward! 


  5. +1. Who more? :)

  6. Rick, sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I’ve been on the road way too much.

    Glad you like the piece. And I of course agree that the Web can be used for evil. There are plenty of examples around. The fact that its architecture is remarkably similar to the architecture of morality does _not_ ensure that it’s only used morally. Nevertheless, there are reasons to think that, in addition to its evil uses, it does in some sense predispose us towards our better natures: It enables us to engage our moral sympathies more easily, and it smacks our faces into the fact that the world consists of others with different points of views but some common interests.

    There’s no inevitability here. But there is hope.

Web Joho only

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