Book This: An Intersection of Blogging, Technology, and Sociology

In the past week, I have tried to make more time for reading. Something always feels missing from my days if I do not have time to sit down and read.  I always have a sizable stack of books waiting for me whenever I sit down for a moment’s peace. I’ve been trying to make it through Thoreau’s Walden, but I keep picking up more books to read and it gets sent down the stack. I tend to read books with a specific subject for a while. I rotate subjects, but always come back to a few themes. I’m very interested in sociolgy, particularly on the way the millennial generation is interacting with the world. I believe that technology is marks our generation’s interactions with the world, and because of this belief, I have tried reading more about the intersection of technology and culture.

Alone TogetherLast April, I read Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. This book started a renewed desire to focus on the intersection of culture and technology. I’ve realized that there is a profound shift in the way that we relate to one another now that blogging and social networking have found their fully established place within our society. Turkle focuses a critical eye on the shifts that have occurred in communication and relational styles over the past 2-3 decades, and while her writing sometimes trends towards an ominous feeling, I think that this shift is behavior can be a very positive experience.

In the past week, I have read through Jeff Jarvis’ Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live.  Jarvis takes a look at issues of privacy and publicness, and the merits of sharing online.  I must admit that his personal testimony and the perspectives he adds from other countries are a compelling argument for why it is worth sharing individual experience online.  Because of these opportunities for virtual connections, it is possible for us to meet people in other cities and countries, to have conversations with people who care about the same issues, and to gain a greater perspective about the world.

Clear BloggingI also picked up Bob Walsh’s Clear Blogging: How People Blogging Are Changing the World and How You Can Join Them and read through it this week. I thought that the book would be similar to Jarvis’ book, but it’s 2007 publication date shines through. It was clearly written at a time when blogging was beginning, and not in 2011, like Jarvis’, when social networking has grown so entrenched in our culture that it fits us like a cotton tee shirt on a warm summer’s day. Jarvis has a great deal of technical advice about blogging, but his book does not focus on the sociology of blogging. The book is worth reading if one is looking to further their knowledge of the blogsphere, but it’s the least interesting to me of these three.

Any recommendations on books about blogging, social networking, or the sociological or psychological facts of technology on our generation? I’d love to have more to add to my stack!

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