My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I just finished reading this book and will give it five-stars. It is not only current and relevant to today’s world, it is also a fascinating history into the early history of communications in this country. (You might want to read the Victorian Internet before reading this book, though it isn’t necessary). Tim Wu’s thesis is that the natural course of things is for new innovative technologies to destroy the old technologies and not supplement them. An early example is the telegraph being absorbed by Bell Telephone Company or AT&T.
Radio came into the lives of those in the 1920s. It was an honorable way to get news and a wonderful hobby for busy men. It was then an open technology. When motion pictures began, a movement to centralize actors, directors, theaters into a more closed group started the movement to monopolize communications. FM radio and television joined the advances in the early 20th century.
Ted Turner became a pioneer in cable networking and of course created CNN after getting his fledgling UHF Atlanta television station national exposure. This was the start of what would be ‘mass media’. The 1930s to the 1990s became an age where a viewer in New York City would be connected with one in Anchorage, Alaska watching the same program, at nearly the same time.
The Internet today has removed us, somewhat from the homogenous programming that we have been used to with the major networks of the mid-20th Century.
Today we are at a crossroads with the issue of ‘net neutrality’ and whether we as a computer literate society will have the freedom to innovate and create with the Internet today or be leashed in by conglomerates such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and other corporations in our vast social media mega-interconnected world.