Can We Change the Web’s Culture of Nastiness?

Book: You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

My colleague John Tierney wrote an interesting review of Jaron Lanier’s new book, “You Are Not a Gadget.” Mr. Lanier has been a strong voice online since the early 1980s and helped popularized the term “virtual reality.” He was also an early champion of the open culture on the Internet.

There are two main themes to the book that Mr. Tierney covers in his review. One is the idea of paying for content online and integrating micropayments into the Web to allow a new economic model for content consumption. There is an interesting discussion about this topic over at the TierneyLab blog.

The other notion discussed in the review is Mr. Lanier’s belief that the “drive-by anonymity” allowed by the Web has led to a mean mob mentality — or as Mr. Tierney calls it, “vicious pack behavior on blogs, forums and social networks.”

Full piece at the NYT Bits blog