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The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  247 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
This definitive work on the perils and promise of the social- media revolution collects writings by today's best thinkers and cultural commentators, with an all-new introduction by Bauerlein.

Twitter, Facebook, e-publishing, blogs, distance-learning and other social media raise some of the most divisive cultural questions of our time. Some see the technological breakthrough
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Published September 1st 2011 by Tarcher (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jan 18, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving it 4 stars because when it came out it was definitely worth it. Now many of the articles are somewhat dated. That made a couple pretty boring, although some of that could just be me. I do read this sort of thing for work & most of these articles are from 2000 - 2008, old for the digital age.

Some were interesting due to their historic value. The discussion on MySpace vs Facebook, how each exemplified Web 2.0 & what they appealed to wasn't as laughable as you might think. MySpac
Mar 02, 2012 Shaun rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting collection of essays on digital and social media. As I was reading, I had the sense that this book was written by people a bit older than me, primarily for the benefit of people a bit older than them, arguing that people a bit younger than me will change the world for the better.

Despite the title, the book is weighted heavily toward the "pro" side, and these essays also tend to be more convincing; Lee Siegel's "con" article, toward the end of the book, is extraordinarily condescen
Nov 18, 2012 Jay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: media, business, audiobook
A historical overview of thought on how the internet, social media, and texting have changed society. While I believed the title refered to haves and have-nots of social media, it actually relates to the generations prior to the internet and the newest generations born in the digital realm. This theme doesn't really carry over throughout the book -- it is much more an overview of the internet age. This is a collection of articles from various book and magazine sources over the past 15 years, mos ...more
While the arguments for and against our increasingly digital lives aren't new, having them in the same compendium provokes some reflection. As a collection - essays, chapters, excerpts, columns - there is also the benefit of different authors writing at different times. My favorite is the claim in one piece that people will not use their cell phones to buy content. Hah!
Joy H.
Added 1/24/15.
A good book to skim (through the parts which interest me), even if I haven't got the stamina to read the whole thing. Better yet, perhaps an audio version would help as well.

See Jim's review at:
Lady Jane
Jul 19, 2013 Lady Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Digital Divide is a fascinating collection of essays that analyze, celebrate, and lament the digital world in the dawn of Web 2.0. Even though some of the essays were written over ten years ago and talk about entities that are no longer relevant (Friendster, for example), it is the themes in the essays that resonate and make them timeless.

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants

The book starts off with an introduction of the terms "digital natives" versus "digital immigrants." Folks like me wh

For those who often think about the way the internet has transformed every aspect of our society -- our daily social interactions, the ways we shop and work, etc -- The Digital Divide presents an anthology of writing on that very subject ranging from the 1990s until 2011. These pieces include excerpts from books (Digital Natives or The Cult of the Amateur, for instance) as well as previously published articles. Nicholas Carr's "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" appears in that category. The material
Mar 12, 2017 Bryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not the newest piece of writing on the subject-matter, but the collection of essays proved to be extremely fascinating. Highly relevant in this day and age, as well. Highly recommended. A good variety of tech savvy luminaries.
Antonio Gallo
Dec 29, 2016 Antonio Gallo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chi non ha un profilo su un social network? Chi usa lo smartphone solo come telefono cellulare ?Chi accende il personal computer, fisso, portatile o tablet che sia, solo per motivi professionali o di studio? Se avessi un pubblico davanti a me, nessuno alzerebbe un dito per rispondere positivamente al mio quesito e anch’io farei altrettanto! Tutti siamo armati di un mezzo che ci catapulta in un mondo che da reale è diventato virtuale, anzi no, un universo che è tanto sociale che spesso si tramuta ...more
Ian Drew Forsyth
Some good essays, many obvious or boring ones, some are heavily drenched in the slime jargon of marketing.
Good essays include:
Is Google Making Us Stupid?
They Call Me Cyberboy
Wikipedia and Beyond
Web 2.0
The End of Solitude

Others have questioned what readers think when they encounter 4,383 comments to a news story and believe that post 4,384 really matters. Is this democratic participation or fruitless vanity?
In the month of April 2003, Americans spent zero minutes on Faceb
Feb 17, 2013 Jake rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Digital Divide is a concise introduction to a few of the major debates concerning the role that technology plays in shaping various aspects of our lives including everything from how we communicate to the biological structure of our brains. If you are interested in a more in depth review of specific arguments then you might want to look elsewhere. My main problem with the collection is that it is trying to do way too much. Each chapter is a selection from a different author's work and at ti ...more
Greg Linster
This book is a collection of essays and commentaries on digital technology. If you're anything like me, I imagine you've come across at least some of the essays and commentaries in this book before (e.g., Nicholas Carr's essay "Is Google Making Us Stupid"). I did, however, come across a few new pieces that were quite good, namely Christine Rosen's "Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism", Katherine Mangu-Ward's "Wikipedia and Beyond", and William Deresiewicz's "The End of Solitude".

After read
Amy Stilgenbauer
It's hard for me to review this book because I came at it expecting something different than what I got. I should know better than to judge based on title, but I was expecting a book dealing with economic disparity and our media culture. Instead, I got a fairly basic (to me as someone with a masters in this subject) collection of older literature focused on the different effects of media on the brain and culture. It is not uninteresting and those without much knowledge of the subject may get a l ...more
Erika Nerdypants
Not being very knowledgeable (deplorably so), about the cyber world, this book was hugely enlightening for me. A collection of articles about the effects of our wired world, shed some interesting light on the technology I use on a daily basis without really understanding much about it. It's difficult for me to review this, because I have very little to compare it too. For me it was certainly helpful, would that be the case for someone more familiar with the subject, I'm not sure. What matters is ...more
May 21, 2012 Nadia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A fantastically uneven collection of essays, some of which are outdated at this point. In general, any essay that goes to extremes in this book gets it incredibly wrong. (The internet is not increasing the speed of human evolution, I can't even believe an academic wrote that.) But there are some bright points of reasonable analysis. The essays based on usability studies are a valuable counter point to the idea of "digital natives." The article on Jimmy Wales is illuminating, and paints a reasona ...more
While different view points on the social networking are presented, they are presented by previously published articles or selections from books. The term of continuous partial attention is presented and really says a lot about what we see in our world. This is having a propensity to be doing everything while maintaining a focus on nothing. The early days of the Internet are aligned to the Wild West. It is suggested that the contact available on the Internet and through online applications is mu ...more
Caitlin EVHS Ng
Feb 12, 2015 Caitlin EVHS Ng rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I am content with this read. I thought that Baurelein had some very persuasive essays to stress the different of prior generations, and the generations today. However, there were a few essays which I found lengthy and a little boring. The book wasn't exactly what I expected to be; I thought it would be more of teens using technology, and not, but instead, went more in depth. This book however, is going to be a lot of help for my research paper.
Nov 25, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's an interesting book to introduce you to a number of authors and ideas that may typically not be in the same place.

The pro Web 2.0 articles by O'Reilly and the negative articles by Siegel all a few pages apart provided good perspective And balance of the digital divide.

My favourite essay was the one about digital natives and immigrants. A close second was the one about the end of solitude. Both deal with the generational divide.
Feb 20, 2013 Laurel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was sent to my by the publisher for potential course adoption. It is a series of interesting essays by noted academics and pundits. I commend the editor for picking some excellent pieces for this collection of musings on digital communication technology. As with most commentary of this sort, the content will become dated, however many of authors have written pieces that contain timeless themes and ideas. I plan to use a lot of this book in my class, Living Life Online!
Sep 04, 2012 Troy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good book, but it is amost outdated already. The book doesn't address th how the downturn in the economy is affecting the "Net Natives". I don't see how businesses can cater to the fragile nature of the Gen Y and Net Natives. They want flex schedules and other benefits, I see companies cutting employee benefits and other concessions in order to save money and jobs. I don't know how they are going to handle a stricter work place.
Dec 03, 2011 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: digital-culture
The contents of this book are a great primer for digital culture. Featuring work by some of the top scholars on issues related to contemporary life, the book presents an amazing array of ideas that covers a lot of ground. What I really quibble with here are claims of these issues' importance having cooled, or that there is proof in this text of the risks/ dangers of life lived online. To claim the book is pro/ con, but then to assert the book proves the cons seems delusional.
Emily Osborne
This collection of articles and book chapters chronicle the change that technology has had (both positive and negative) over the past few decades. Some sections were much more interesting that others (as can be expected), but all throw the fact that the we are certainly not living in our parents world directly into our face. It gives a person a lot to think about...
Chris Friend
Not much new or of value here. This book contains mostly reprints of previously published material, and at this point, the conversation seems trite or dated. If you want to label yourself a baby boomer and feel old about it, this book will help. Otherwise, a general awareness of social trends relating to Internet use will go a long way toward alleviating the need to read this book.
Jan 27, 2015 Chiara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent collection of essays discussing some of the complicated issues caused by the use (and overuse) of technology and social media. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in how technology and social media affect our minds and the way they function, as well as their effects (positive and negative) on society at large.
An extremely uneven collection of essays. I'd recommend a few pieces, like Jakob Nielsen's or Christine Rosen's. You can find most of them online. But if you want to get into media ecology, don't start here. Pick up John Dyer's little book, or check out Alan Jacobs' essays. The New Atlantis journal publishes some fantastic essays along those lines as well.
Dec 02, 2013 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the diverse and realistic viewpoints represented in this book. It offers excerpts from some of my favorites, and short essays from others that I'll now how to go find out more about. A very well done compilation.
Neil Krasnoff
Jan 08, 2013 Neil Krasnoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I appreciated this compilation of diverse perspectives on the effects of the Internet on culture. It doesn't go very deep, but it doesn't paint an overly simplistic view of the complex issues either.
excerpts from a variety of writings on technology. Some rather scholarly, but good food for thought. I was familiar with many of the articles or the books that this books took it's excerpts from but still worthwhile to hear and think about again.
Sep 05, 2015 Maxine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Overall it was a pretty dry read. There seemed to be great attention put towards labeling things and people, but there were a few interesting concepts in a few of the articles that made me think about new things.
Sean Kim
Dec 18, 2012 Sean Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an important read for anyone who is in the field of education or in education policy. It makes good arguments (on both sides) regarding the role of technology in society, as well as the potential for good or massive failure inherent to a technologically based society.
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Mark Bauerlein earned his doctorate in English at UCLA in 1988. He has taught at Emory since 1989, with a two-and-a-half year break in 2003-05 to serve as the Director, Office of Research and Analysis, at the National Endowment for the Arts. Apart from his scholarly work, he publishes in popular periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, TLS, and Chronic ...more
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