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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.

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

  1. 1. I’m Clive Thompson I report on how people think and communicate using today’s digital tools.
  2. 2. 2 PUBLIC THINKING We’re taking our private thoughts and making them public. How will that change the way we read books?
  3. 3. Writing nothing … … used to be the norm for most people.
  4. 4. 3.6 trillion words /day That’s equal the entire contents of the Library of Congress
  5. 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. 6 Audience effect We try harder, think more deeply, and analyze more clearly – when someone is watching
  7. 7. Multiples That big idea you’ve got? Twenty other people around the world are having it right now, too.
  8. 8. Culture gets us talking Almost nothing provokes as much public thinking as the stuff you’re watching, reading.
  9. 9. Culture-based groups Like online discussions of TV – “how did Sherlock survive?”
  10. 10. Culture-based groups Forums with tens of thousands of people talking about a game that isn’t even out yet.
  11. 11. Culture-based groups – a teeming web community for 4 million people who knit and crochet.
  12. 12. Solitary reading Historically, reading wasn’t always done in solitude – but that’s our cultural stereotype.
  13. 13. Books become loci … … for tons of public thinking. When people read, they want to write, and vice versa.
  14. 14. I remember Al Purdy … … and it turns into “Al Purdy day” in my corner of Twitter.
  15. 15. Conversation emerges … … pretty much anywhere people talk – like Twitter …
  16. 16. Instagram Pictures of “what I’m reading now” produce mini book-clubs.
  17. 17. Social marginalia Public thinking moves inside the book: The book club is inside the pages.
  18. 18. My book in Readmill … Attracted 8,000 words of highlights and commentary for a 2,000-word excerpt – a 4:1 ratio.
  19. 19. Attention becomes visible We can see what people found significant. “It’s like a type of applause” -- Steven Johnson.
  20. 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. 21. Social discovery Wander onto the subway and see what other people are reading, digitally, around you.
  22. 22. Floating libraries “Library Box”: A portable drive that broadcasts its contents to anyone nearby using wifi.
  23. 23. Public reading = dangers Big privacy issues: Who’s watching you read? Where are the trails stored? Does DRM block it?
  24. 24. We come full circle Reading was very social, and full of public thinking, at its very origins.
  25. 25. Thank you!
  26. 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