out of 5
Review by Ihancock
As I read this book I often had moments of reflection, interest, confusion, skepticism; in fact, I felt pulled in many different directions. This is, I guess, to be expected when the book describes itself as part memoir, part field report, part manifesto, and part deconstruction of a decade. I found the book initially to get into for this very reason. However, as the book went on, either I became more acclimatized to the editing and writing style or the book became clearer at defending its thesis. I am not sure that I agreed with the authors assertion that the rise of memes coincides with the rise of boredom and or the increasing "multitasking" brain. I more think that it is a symptom of a society that has learned that it can have a voice and that sometimes this voice gives rise to someone that others want to seek out and connect with. This used to be the realm of professionals but more than ever it is amateurs who seek each other out and confer this status on each other. This is more than boredom. It is people who want to bask in popularity; want to go for that moment of fame which is altogether more possible in the internet world.
However, there were many moments I did agree with including the rapid rise and fall of stories or websites as people find the "next big thing" then move on as the site becomes crowded and no longer new. I think one of the challenges for storymakers and website developers (and one that I think Facebook is facing right now) is how to not only keep things new but also how to keep the initial flood of people who signed on at the beginning and excitedly "helped" the website or story gain importance/mature. I myself know this feeling as someone who has excitedly been involved in a website ad it began and am now feeling like my contributions are being lost as the site grows in users. Selfish? Maybe but when new web 2.0 sites look to initial users and connect with them as a way to grow their site some thought has to be placed onthis concept I think. I also agreed with the author about the need to reach out beyond what we feel agrees with our opinions. The Internet has made this far to easy but it will be a challenge to overcome for precisely the reasons given by the author.
All in all, a good book; interesting anecdotes, difficult to get into to start with but easier if you stay with it. As with most of these books I also would not purchase it. Will it stay relevant as time goes? Maybe, maybe not.