Ethan Zuckerman – Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans In The Age Of Connection

Ethan Zuckerman – Rewire- Digital Cosmopolitans In The Age Of Connection

W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN-13: 978-0393082838, English, 288 pages, 2013, USA

Pretending but failing to be “cosmopolitan” in the internet age seems to be nonsense. But that’s exactly what Zuckerman tries to prove. “Connecting”, in fact, doesn’t just mean adopting the same communication protocol but understanding how the connection is happening and who really stands on each side of the planet. Shaking the dotcom ideology, constructed on the narrative of cultural superpowers acquired through the smartest use of technologies, Zuckerman (also cofounder of Global Voices) looks carefully at daily uses of digital. How much digital is “rooted in the world” and is not building real mutual understanding is explained in different ways: missed context, the extreme speed of information and the lack of human filters. For example he explains how news consumption remains incredibly local or at most national, being even less international than 40 years ago, despite the never-ending global updates from the web. He speaks about fostering the training of “bridge figures”, or cultural translators, and he’s calling for help from bloggers – though this seems more suited to the tradition of foreign correspondents. Such people would be able to give back what is usually lost: context, understanding and experience in both worlds. “Translation” (universal automatic translation between languages) could also help a lot, as well as “serendipity” which would cause random and fruitful encounters. With an endless sequence of stories and data, the book accomplishes its task of counterbalancing networked ideologies with analysis and perspective.