Friends, Followers and the Future: How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands, and Killing Traditional Media

Overview

"Rory O'Connor is one of the smartest media guys around. He knows who's spinning, who's pandering, and who's putting money in his own pocket at the expense of logic, reason, and the public good."?Michael Wolff, Vanity Fair media critic

"This is a timely book about a vital subject: How do we get information and is it reliable? With a 'cold eye,' author Rory O'Connor shows how traditional journalism cheapened its value by sabotaging its trust, and how the digital revolution wonderfully democratizes information yet ...

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Friends, Followers and the Future: How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands, and Killing Traditional Media

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Overview

"Rory O'Connor is one of the smartest media guys around. He knows who's spinning, who's pandering, and who's putting money in his own pocket at the expense of logic, reason, and the public good."—Michael Wolff, Vanity Fair media critic

"This is a timely book about a vital subject: How do we get information and is it reliable? With a 'cold eye,' author Rory O'Connor shows how traditional journalism cheapened its value by sabotaging its trust, and how the digital revolution wonderfully democratizes information yet often removes the journalistic curator, creating more noise, more ME and less WE news. If you want to understand the future of news, its opportunities and its pitfalls, read this book." -- Ken Auletta, author and New Yorker media writer

There’s a revolution going on, as ever-accelerating developments in digital information technologies change nearly every aspect of how we live, work, play, do business, and engage in politics. Share and share alike—the numbers say it all as billions of people worldwide flock to online media and use social networks to discover and spread news and information.

In the process, ever-growing networks of “ordinary people” are using these powerful new tools to trim the influence long held by Big Business, Big Government, and Big Media. No longer just passive recipients, participants in social networks now regularly make and break news while organizing civic and political actions that bypass censors, outpace traditional media, attract massive audiences, and influence the rise and fall of brands, industries, politicians, and even governments.

In this insider’s look at how social media are transforming our world, Rory O’Connor explains the trends and explores what tech visionaries, media makers, political advisers, and businesspeople are saying about the meteoric rise of the various social networks of friends and followers, and what they bode for our future.

Rory O’Connor, co-founder of MediaChannel.org, is the author of Shock Jocks: Hate Speech & Talk Radio. He has won two Emmys and a George Orwell Award, among many other honors.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In his lucid examination of the effects of digital technology, the author asserts that the evolution of web-based platforms and the rise of the Occupy movement has caused a marked decrease in our culture’s dependence on 'traditional models of organization' . . . O’Connor pulls no punches and effectively tracks the gains and losses of the movement in clear, energetic language. An erudite, constructive analysis."--Kirkus Reviews

"Anyone who cares about the impact of the digital information revolution on democracy and culture can't afford to miss FRIENDS, FOLLOWERS AND THE FUTURE -- a story that moves as swiftly as the dizzying pace of change itself. Rory O'Connor combines journalistic integrity with a passionate belief in the power of ordinary people to change the world. Depending on your stake in the outcome, you will find this book inspiring, scary, or perhaps a bit of both." -- Andrew Heyward, Former President of CBS News

"This book is a comprehensive, up-to-date, and fair-minded survey of how social media are conveying -- and perhaps transforming -- what we want to know." -- Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education and author, most recently, of Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed

"Before Rory O’Connor writes, he researches, ask questions, and asks them again before calling the the insiders who are the targets of his inquiry. He is persistent, even relentless, as a hard-charging reporter which is why his blogs, columns and this new book 'Friends, Followers and the Future: How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands, And Killing Traditional Media' (City Lights, 2012) leaves you questioning your own assumptions and often superficial take on the issue at hand. Personally, he is a refugee from old media and as a multi-media man (films, books, blogs, websites, etc) , an early adopter to the new. But he didn’t stop there: he is a practitioner who wants to know where all this is headed and how the digital innovators and entrepreneurs think about what they do. This is a book in the know with ideas that we will all need to know as we navigate our personal and collective futures." -- Danny Schechter News Dissector.com

"With laser-like accuracy Rory O'Connor spotlights the key challenges and opportunities in the world of news and information, where technology has upended the old rules of how media is created and consumed. O'Connor's wise, savvy 'Friends, Followers and the Future' is an essential examination of how social media is transforming the lives of individuals and society at large. Read it and share it." -- J. Max Robins, Vice President/Executive Director,
The Paley Center for Media

"...O’Connor has put together a trustworthy introduction to the current state of play."--Boston Globe

"If Glenn Beck keeps a J. Edgar Hoover-esque blacklist under his bed pillow, journalist Rory O’Connor is probably on it, appearing before Nancy Pelosi and George Soros. O’Connor turns a skeptical yet pragmatic eye to the likes of Facebook. He examines how such online networks empower citizens to create counternarratives to bullsh*t punditry, political spin, and corporate PR, while warning of the dystopian echo chamber they could realize, where every citizen becomes a bullsh*tting pundit, partisan hack, or corporate flak." --SF Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
Is social media enhancing our ability to share and digest information or contributing to its attrition? Two-time Emmy Award–winning filmmaker and journalist O'Connor (Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio, 2008, etc.) acknowledges that "the dichotomy between mainstream and digital media is rapidly disappearing." In his lucid examination of the effects of digital technology, the author asserts that the evolution of web-based platforms and the rise of the Occupy movement has caused a marked decrease in our culture's dependence on "traditional models of organization," a trend defusing the formerly ironclad influences of government-regulated businesses and media franchises. An era of participatory involvement is underway, and O'Connor offers both a history and a contemporary update on this modern informational superhighway with chapters highlighting the pros and cons of Internet name-branding, the visual prowess of YouTube's innovative "audience engagement," Twitter's "micro-blogging" magnetism and the flap over privacy issues at monopolistic entities like Google and Facebook. Further supporting the author's pro-digital thesis are the voices of leading researchers and executives, including Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, former Facebook Director of Marketing Randi Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Though all tout their respective products, they are fully aware of the cautionary characteristics of technological progress. An obvious proponent of the online-media revolution, O'Connor pulls no punches and effectively tracks the gains and losses of the movement in clear, energetic language. An erudite, constructive analysis.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872865563
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 1,417,426
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 6.84 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author


Rory O’Connor is an author, filmmaker and journalist whose work centers around media and politics. Author of Shock Jocks: Hate Speech & Talk Radio (2008), and co-author of Nukespeak (2nd ed, 2011) his broadcast, film and print career has been recognized with two Emmys, a George Orwell Award, a George Polk Award, a Writer's Guild Award, among other honors.
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