The Web has not been hyped enough. That’s the startling thesis of this one-of-a-kind book that’s sure to become a classic work of social commentary. Just as Marshall McLuhan forever altered our view of broadcast media, Weinberger shows that the new medium of the Web is not only altering social institutions such as business and government but, more important, is transforming bedrock concepts of our culture such as space, time, the public, and even reality itself. Weinberger introduces us to denizens of this new world, among them Zannah, whose online diary turns self-revelation into play; Tim Bray, whose map of the Web reveals what’s at the heart of the new Web space; and Danny Yee and Claudiu Popa, part of the new breed of Web experts we trust despite their lack of qualifications. Through stories of life on the Web, an insightful take on some familiar (and some unfamiliar) Web sites, and a wicked sense of humor, Weinberger puts the Web into the social and intellectual context we need to begin assessing its true impact on our lives. The irony, according to Weinberger, is that this new technology is more in tune with our authentic selves than is the modern world. Funny, provocative, and ultimately hopeful, Small Pieces Loosely Joined makes us look at the Web — and at life — in a new light. From Small Pieces Loosely Joined: The Web has sent a jolt through our culture, zapping our economy, our ideas about the sharing of creative works, and possibly even institutions such as religion and government. Why? How do we explain the lightning charge of the Web? If it has fallen short of our initial hopes and fears about its transformational powers, why did it excite those hopes and fears in the first place? Why did this technology hit our culture like a bolt from Zeus? Suppose — just suppose — that the Web is a new world we’re just beginning to inhabit . . . If the Web is changing bedrock concepts such as space, matter, time, perfection, public, knowledge, and morality — each a chapter of this book — no wonder we’re so damn confused. That’s as it should be. The Web is enabling us to rediscover what we’ve always known about being human: we are connected creatures in a connected world about which we care passionately . . . If this is true, then for all of the over-heated, exaggerated, manic-depressive coverage of the Web, we’d have to conclude that the Web in fact has not been hyped enough.
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