How has the Internet changed the way you think?

Via Kevin Kelly’s blog, I found this thought-provoking group of essays answering the question “How has the Internet changed the way you think?”

Today, I don’t have time to read all 172 responses published on Edge, though I am tempted to try fitting it between manuscripts and loads of dirty dishes. In aggregate, the essays make a 132,000-word document. This should count as an ebook I can review on Goodreads. Maybe I’ll put it into the system.

From my cursory Saturday afternoon reading, here are two stand-out quotes:

From Kevin Kelly,

The whole ball of connections — including all its books, all its pages, all its tweets, all its movies, all its games, all its posts, all its streams — is like one vast global book (or movie, etc.), and we are only beginning to learn how to read it.

Knowing that this large thing is there, and that I am in constant communication with it, has changed how I think.

From Clay Shirky,

It is our misfortune to live through the largest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race, a misfortune because surplus always breaks more things than scarcity. Scarcity means valuable things become more valuable, a conceptually easy change to integrate. Surplus, on the other hand, means previously valuable things stop being valuable, which freaks people out….

As we know from, the 20th century model of publishing is inadequate to the kind of sharing possible today….

The beneficiaries of the system where making things public was a privileged activity, whether academics or politicians, reporters or doctors, will complain about the way the new abundance of public thought upends the old order, but those complaints are like keening at a wake; the change they fear is already in the past. The real action is elsewhere….

We could [use the Internet as] the communicative backbone of real intellectual and civic change, but to do this will require more than technology. It will require that we adopt norms of open sharing and participation, fit to a world where publishing has become the new literacy.


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I work as an editor at Harlequin, but the posts on this site are all mine and don’t represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.
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