The Internet pioneer looks at the effect of disruptive technologies on society, culture and the entertainment industry
Howard Rheingold — online pioneer, author of the best-sellers Virtual Reality and The Virtual Community — has a new book, Smart Mobs. He spoke with J.D. Lasica by phone on Sept. 12, 2002, in advance of the PopTech conference in Camden, Maine.
You’ve called Smart Mobs your most important book. Why do you say so?
For a couple of reasons. The proximate reason is that I’ve written this at a time when a lot of people have some experience and knowledge of what happened to them and their industry and to the world as a result of the PC and the Internet. Maybe, because this is very early in what I think is the third big wave of technology-enabled change, we can apply some of what we’ve learned to shape rather than be the victims of circumstance.
Histories are important, and books that help people think about the wider issues are important. But books that are written at a time when people might still be able to do something about an issue have more importance.