Session 2: THE UNBOUND BOOK
Bob Stein (US) - Social Reading is No Longer an Oxymoron
Conference Day 1, May 20, Den Haag, 13.30 – 14.30
Marx and McLuhan were right. Technology hasasignificantanddeterminingeffecton how humans organize their societies and how they express ideas and communicate with each other. Certain developments – thediscoveryoffire,theinventionofprint or the shift from analog to digital – are so profound that they usher in wholesale changes in the fabric of human conscious- ness and existence. Reading and writing are thought to be among the most solitary of behaviors; however as we shift from page to networked screen the fundamentally social nature of these activities is being revealed with startling clarity and giving rise to an entirely new ecosystem of publishing that will comprise new kinds of works and new modes of creation, distribution and consumption. If print ushered in the ‘age of enlightenment’ with its focus on the individ- ual, digital networks provide the basis for us to discard the shackles of individualism, one of the key pillars of capitalism, and move toward a society based on collaboration. Sadly, this is not an inevitable outcome; there are also perfectly plausible dystopian models which must be considered.
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