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"SMART MOBS: THE NEXT SOCIAL REVOLUTION"
By Howard Rheingold
The following summary comes from the FUTUREdition newsletter
Volume 5, Number 18
October 10, 2002
Edited by John L. Petersen
After forecasting the PC revolution in 1985 and the internet explosion in
1993, Howard Rheingold sees the world on the verge of yet another
transformation in telecommunications and, ultimately, social structures
world-wide. In his ew book "Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution",
Rheingold coins the phrase "Smart Mobs" to describe groups of people who use
mobile communications and computer networks to organize collective actions
in new ways. By combing the globe for technological hot spots for two
years, he observed how Smart Mobs use instant communication toward faster
and more effective mobilization, what he calls "swarming".
He witnessed the swarming of Smart Mobs in the overthrow of President
Estrada in the Phillipines when demonstrators mobilized and voiced
discontent in the form of forwarded cell phone messages. Evidence also came
from the types of communications shared by protestors at the WTO protests in
Seattle in 1999. Even in the September 11 attacks on the United States,
victims in the plane that went down in Pennsylvania were able to access
information of other attacks via mobile devices and take actions that
prevented further tragedy.
Plainly, Rheingold says, Smart Mobs are combining two current technologies:
the mobile communication device and the internet. To Rheingold, this
combination represents a third wave in communications technology that will
create something new and revolutionary, changing the social structure and
advancing communications in similar, if not more dramatic ways as the PC and
internet of the past.
For more information, TAI has collected the following sources on Rheingold
and his new book:
"Edge" provides in-depth and insightful comments about the social
implications of "Smart Mobs."
The Feature posts an interesting interview with Rheingold about his book and
the next social revolution.
The "New York Times" published an informational article that delves into the
benefits and drawbacks to Smart Mobs.
Smartmobs.com provides a summary of the book.
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