Review: Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection

by darribas

Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection
Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection by Ethan Zuckerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book considers the effect that the internet and the new wave of news distribution associated with it in the last few years (social networks, etc.) can have in our perception of the world and in how connected we will actually stay to more initially distant realities. Surprisingly (or maybe not so much), the main thesis of Zuckerman is that true cosmopolitanism won’t come by itself as an extra feature of technology, we have to bring it and built it in ourselves if we really value it. The book is very well written; the ideas are powerful and deep but I think they are laid out in a way that’s easy to understand and digest. It also contains several historical background, anecdotes and examples that are fascinating in themselves, but that illustrate his point very well. On the minus side, if I have to mention one, I would say he tries to scratch the surface of many topics without going into too much detail so, if you are looking for an academic treaty on any of these, this is not your book. As a window into new areas you might not know you like, it’s a fantastic one though.

I’ve really enjoyed the book in many respects. Although the thesis is clear from the beginning, it’s not one of those books that only has one idea and stretches it for 400 pages. The author delves into several aspects of what being cosmopolitan today means, why it is something we should embrace it in one way or another and, how we can get there. It challenges the conventional wisdom and tries to get the reader out of his/her comfort zone. Reading it has made me realize how much of this aim to connect with a global community was in my teenage, when I started delving into the internet and looking for the most disparate things from each corner of the globe. But, if you buy the book’s premise, that’s really why I liked it and, in fact, why I read it in first place. Homophily.

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