Regular readers know that I don’t often adhere to the mimetic optimism of the large majority of social media evangelists. They also know that I’m not a luddite. I am just some guy who has taken his life experiences – from corporate mergers to ICU nursing – and applied them to a long-term project of sparking conversation that seeks to arrive at the problems and opportunities which being made by the Century of the Tweet.
But to help to understand a bit more of where I come from, I wish to credit the world’s greatest social medium – the book – and offer a short list of books which have influenced, and continue to influence, one man’s efforts to dive deeper than the superficial glances at what has, sadly, become called Social Media:
- The Republic by Plato, with specific reference to Socrates’ conversation with Glaucon (commonly known as “The Allegory of the Cave”)
- The Ecstasy of Communication by Jean Jean Baudrillard (consider also his better-known Simulcra and Simulation)
- The Question Concerning Technology by Martin Heidegger. Heidegger isn’t easy reading, but his essay is worth a tackle, because once you’ve read Heidegger, your view of the world will change forever (at least if you have that “aha” moment of what he’s getting at with “questioning” concerning Technology). It’s always hard for me to give Heidegger any kind of ‘credit’, since the man was a card-carrying member of the Nazi Party. But in the end, it’s his *ideas* and *questioning* which matter.
- The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway. Yes, this book. Hemingway was the greatest tweeter in history – and this wonderful treasure of literature is chock-full of messages perfectly relevant to our time. Tip: read the epigraph. Don’t write this off if you read it in high school or college – read it again…now.
- A Ritual to Read to Each Other by William Stafford. If you and I ever meet, ask me to perform this for you – I’ll blow you’re little mind wide open and it’ll feel good. Very, very good.
I’m going to stop the list…for now. Maybe I’ll add more of the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of books I’ve read that shape the thinking that shapes (or warps) your thinking.
Learn how to create the illusion of being online more than you are (I have). Your time is your time – it’s not Apple’s nor Facebook’s nor Twitter’s.
Books are your friends – they are the only media that you can call friends.
I hope you know this. If not, it’s still not too late to make new friends.
– Phil Baumann