Howard Rheingold: Professional Cool Person

I’ve been using the net since ’92. That’s longer than most people, but far from extraordinary. But in all that time I’ve never much cared about the culture of the net, except in as much as I was a part of it. I never read any of the studies about it or books on the subject.

It’s a shame I didn’t, because I might have learned about Howard Rheingold earlier. I knew of him, I even read the SmartMobs blog for a while. But I never read anything about the man. And I’ve never read any of this books. I’ve taken steps to remedy that. But a quick look on amazon doesn’t show any biographies of him. If anyone knows of one, let me know in the comments.

As for what makes him cool, well, he seems like a Charles Stross or Cory Doctorow character. He sees further and faster than the rest of us. He wrote about virtual communities in ’93 when most people had only heard of the net, not used it. And his life appears to be scattered with stuff that I could only dream about, like working at Xerox PARC and editing the Whole Earth Review.

His latest effort is a vlog updating A Slice of Life in My Virtual Community, the article he wrote in ’88 and first updated in ’92. He’s decided it’s time to update once again, and this time use all the available media, hence the vlog. It’s a series of short videos titled A Re(slice) of Life Online.

Now I’m off to read the original article.


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