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Public Thinking and the Future of Reading - Tech Forum 2014 - Clive Thompson
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Public Thinking and the Future of Reading - Tech Forum 2014 - Clive Thompson


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"Public Thinking and the Future of Reading" Clive Thompson at BookNet Canada's Tech Forum - March 6, 2014.

"Public Thinking and the Future of Reading" Clive Thompson at BookNet Canada's Tech Forum - March 6, 2014.

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  • 1. I’m Clive Thompson I report on how people think and communicate using today’s digital tools.
  • 2. 2 PUBLIC THINKING We’re taking our private thoughts and making them public. How will that change the way we read books?
  • 3. Writing nothing … … used to be the norm for most people.
  • 4. 3.6 trillion words /day That’s equal the entire contents of the Library of Congress
  • 5. “People read in order to generate writing; we read from the posture of the writer; we write to other people who write.” Deborah Brandt
  • 6. 6 Audience effect We try harder, think more deeply, and analyze more clearly – when someone is watching
  • 7. Multiples That big idea you’ve got? Twenty other people around the world are having it right now, too.
  • 8. Culture gets us talking Almost nothing provokes as much public thinking as the stuff you’re watching, reading.
  • 9. Culture-based groups Like online discussions of TV – “how did Sherlock survive?”
  • 10. Culture-based groups Forums with tens of thousands of people talking about a game that isn’t even out yet.
  • 11. Culture-based groups – a teeming web community for 4 million people who knit and crochet.
  • 12. Solitary reading Historically, reading wasn’t always done in solitude – but that’s our cultural stereotype.
  • 13. Books become loci … … for tons of public thinking. When people read, they want to write, and vice versa.
  • 14. I remember Al Purdy … … and it turns into “Al Purdy day” in my corner of Twitter.
  • 15. Conversation emerges … … pretty much anywhere people talk – like Twitter …
  • 16. Instagram Pictures of “what I’m reading now” produce mini book-clubs.
  • 17. Social marginalia Public thinking moves inside the book: The book club is inside the pages.
  • 18. My book in Readmill … Attracted 8,000 words of highlights and commentary for a 2,000-word excerpt – a 4:1 ratio.
  • 19. Attention becomes visible We can see what people found significant. “It’s like a type of applause” -- Steven Johnson.
  • 20. Marginalialist as a job? “In ten years there will be people so good at marginalia you’ll pay a few bucks to see their comments inside your copy.” – Bob Stein, Institute for the Future of the Book.
  • 21. Social discovery Wander onto the subway and see what other people are reading, digitally, around you.
  • 22. Floating libraries “Library Box”: A portable drive that broadcasts its contents to anyone nearby using wifi.
  • 23. Public reading = dangers Big privacy issues: Who’s watching you read? Where are the trails stored? Does DRM block it?
  • 24. We come full circle Reading was very social, and full of public thinking, at its very origins.
  • 25. Thank you!
  • 26. Photo credits: -Writing journal: Sybil Liberty (Flickr Creative Commons) -Blank journal: Pink Sherbert Photography (Flickr Creative Commons) - Blank book: Donkey Hotey (Flickr Creative Commons) - Library of Congress: Funky Tee (Flickr Creative Commons) - Woman writing: David Goehring (Flickr Creative Commons) - Auditorium: Steve Lambert (Flickr Creative Commons) - Pile of books: Casey Fleser (Flickr Creative Commons) - Solitary reader: British Library Photostream - Woman knitting: Steven A. Johnson (Flickr Creative Commons) - Infinite Jest: Jinxi Caddell (Flickr Creative Commons) - Subway: David Porter (Flickr Creative Commons) - Library Box 2.0: Jason Griffey - Spy camera sign: Mike Mozart (Flickr Creative Commons) - Antique manuscript: Merton College