Public Parts

  • by Jeff Jarvis
  • Narrated by Jeff Jarvis
  • 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A visionary and optimistic thinker examines the tension between privacy and publicness that is transforming how we form communities, create identities, do business, and live our lives.
Thanks to the Internet, we now live—more and more—in public. More than 750 million people (and half of all Americans) use Facebook, where we share a billion times a day. The collective voice of Twitter echoes instantly 100 million times daily, from Tahrir Square to the Mall of America, on subjects that range from democratic reform to unfolding natural disasters to celebrity gossip. New tools let us share our photos, videos, purchases, knowledge, friendships, locations, and lives. Yet change brings fear, and many people—nostalgic for a more homogeneous mass culture and provoked by well-meaning advocates for privacy—despair that the Internet and how we share there is making us dumber, crasser, distracted, and vulnerable to threats of all kinds. But not Jeff Jarvis.
In this shibboleth-destroying book, he argues persuasively and personally that the Internet and our new sense of publicness are, in fact, doing the opposite. Jarvis travels back in time to show the amazing parallels of fear and resistance that met the advent of other innovations such as the camera and the printing press. The Internet, he argues, will change business, society, and life as profoundly as Gutenberg’s invention, shifting power from old institutions to us all.
Based on extensive interviews, Public Parts introduces us to the men and women building a new industry based on sharing. Some of them have become household name: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Eric Schmidt, and Twitter’s Evan Williams. Others may soon be recognized as the industrialists, philosophers, and designers of our future. Jarvis explores the promising ways in which the Internet and publicness allow us to collaborate on how we manufacture and market, buy and sell, organize and govern, teach and learn. He also examines the necessity as well as the limits of privacy in an effort to understand and thus protect it.
This new and open era has already profoundly disrupted economies, industries, laws, ethics, childhood, and many other facets of our daily lives. But the change has just begun. The shape of the future is not assured. The amazing new tools of publicness can be used to good ends and bad. The choices—and the responsibilities—lie with us. Jarvis makes an urgent case that the future of the Internet—what one technologist calls “the eighth continent”—requires as much protection as the physical space we share, the air we breathe, and the rights we afford one another. It is a space of the public, for the public, and by the public. It needs protection and respect from all of us. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in the wake of the uprisings in the Middle East, “If people around the world are going to come together every day online and have a safe and productive experience, we need a shared vision to guide us.” Jeff Jarvis has that vision and will be that guide.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An important read

The piece by Jeff Jarvis is an necessary document about the world that being created right now online. The fact that i can write this review and that it will potentially have pull in how this work is viewed is a testament to the topics and arguments in this book. Audible isn't trying to tell you what to read. It instead is using a small slice of my willingness to share to pass judgement. If you are at all interested in what drives the claims of "privacy concerns" on today's digital world, please read this book.
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- Simon H. Morris

Very thought provoking-worth a 2nd or 3rd listen.

At times I really like Jeff Jarvis and there are times he is plain annoying. (kinda describes most people - doesn't it.). Regardless, you have to respect his positions and the excellent points he makes in Public Parts. Jeff explains how much of our concept of privacy is only a recent creation and how many times living in public can improve life. He also explains some of the misplaced panic that legislators seem to think is there duty to protect us from ourselves. Lastly, Jeff explains how our Internet is a danger of being taken away from us as old media struggles to recover their lost markets and the control of society they have long enjoyed. This by no means all of the jam packed information Jeff has put in this book. If you have interest in the future of media, the Internet or your ability to be public or private please enjoy Public Parts.
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- Howard "When I like something I'll let you know. If I don't, I'll let you know that too!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-27-2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio