Public Parts

Here’s a hub of links for Public Parts, the book.

Buy the book at Amazon here (I get affiliate revenue). Barnes & Noble here (I can’t figure out how to get affiliate revenue). And e-books: Kindle at Amazon, Nook at B&N, iBookstore at Apple. I’ll put up an Audible link when I can get it (darn, this industry is inefficient).

Here is a schedule for the book tour.

Here’s a free excerpt: the introduction. Here’s a free excerpt of sections about Germany and privacy. And here is a free audio excerpt about my own publicness and privacy.

Here is a page with a clickable version of the endnotes (aka footnotes), as promised in the book.

For ongoing discussion around the book, go to this tag on Buzzmachine.

A promotional video for the book:

Here’s the jacket copy:

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, Public Parts 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 names—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, think, ways—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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REVIEWS

Here’s a snippet of John Gapper’s review in the Financial Times. Note that he wasn’t so crazy about my last book, What Would Google Do?, but calls this one superior. Money quotes: “Jarvis makes a solid case thoughtfully…. Not only is it well researched and elegantly argued but he makes some original observations about how digital technology is changing the nature of human self-expression….”

Here’s a snippet of Jessi Hempel’s review for Fortune:

“Privacy has its advocates. Jeff Jarvis has made himself an advocate for publicness. In Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way we Work and Live, the original Internet optimist argues that if we become too obsessed with guarding all personal information on the ‘Net, we’ll miss important opportunities that come with making information available.

“It’s a refreshing take on a topic often covered by people who feel that the Internet — and in particular, social networks like Facebook and the vast amount of personal data that flow within them — threatens to imperil our children and undermine our society. . . . .

“His book is not so much a rallying cry for tweeting your breakfast choices and blogging your company financials as it is a field guide for how to navigate this new technology with optimism rather than fear.”

Here’s a nice review from Mark W. Smith of the Detroit Free Press and USA Today. “Jarvis works methodically in ‘Public Parts’ to unravel long-held beliefs about why openness online is dangerous. . . . Jarvis’ message of openness will be provocative to many, but what he explores is only the beginning of a revolution that will continue to change how we use the Web — and how the Web uses us.”

Here’s Booklist’s review, by David Pitt:

The author of What Would Google Do? (2009) returns with another thoughtful look at the Internet age. A welcome and well-reasoned counterpoint to the arguments that social-networking sites and the easy availability of personal information online are undermining our society and putting our safety at risk, the book shows how instruments of connectivity like Facebook, Wikipedia, and Twitter can be, if used constructively, major contributors to society. (Recall, for example, how early news out of Egypt during the recent revolution came via Twitter.) Jarvis doesn’t ignore the downsides of online connectivity, of course, but he puts them in what appears to be a more objective context. With the recent publicity surrounding the Rupert Murdoch media empire and the cellphone-hacking scandal, the book’s theme that the Internet is a valuable tool for social change might strike some readers as a bit ill-timed, but the argument is highly persuasive (especially when Jarvis show how the printing press, like the Internet, also came with predictions of misuse, invasion of privacy, and disaster). A must-read for anyone interested in the issue of connectivity versus privacy.

[Not sure what he means with the Murdoch reference but I'll take the rest....]