We destroyed our institutions. Now what?

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Social media helped us shake up rigid institutions and empower people, but gave us a new world that has proven to be brittle and destructive. The new power structures that have arisen aren’t up to the job of maintaining our civilization. When Charlene Li and I wrote Groundswell ten years ago, we had a utopian vision … Continued

Charlene Li: Reflecting on 10 Years of Groundswell — and What Comes Next

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Charlene Li has added her own perspectives on the tenth anniversary of the publication of Groundswell. Read her post on LinkedIn or below: 10 years ago, my co-author Josh Bernoff and I released our first book, “Groundswell: Living in a World Transformed by Social Technologies”. On this anniversary, I wanted to reflect on what our expectations were when … Continued

In defense of social technologies

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Many of us who promoted social media when it was young are now wondering if we made a mistake. For example, former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya has said “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works: no civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth.” So I decided to take a look … Continued

Collaborating on a book is a terrible idea. But if you must, be asymmetrical.

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Writing a book is hard enough. Adding another person makes it twice as hard. Collaboration only makes sense if it’s asymmetrical — if you have complementary skills and different jobs. I’ve written three books with coauthors, edited a few more, and am currently ghostwriting parts of books with other authors. Coauthoring sounds like it’s going … Continued

Talking about Donald Trump and Twitter with an idealist from 2007

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Josh from 2007: I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’m talking to you ten years in the future. Josh 2017: Yup. I’m here to tell you that you were right about social media blowing up. Even politicians are using it. But it turns out that connecting a politician’s brain directly to millions of voters … Continued

How to write a case study (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Dear Dr. Wobs, How do you write a captivating one-page case study that provides enough information to be understandable (and credible), but doesn’t overwhelm with detail? I read your blog post on preparing for an interview, and found it helpful, but I’d like more information on producing the case study. I’ve also found that “case … Continued

What’s the headline on your obituary?

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Just after Fidel Castro died, The New York Times revealed that 16 different journalists had been working on his obituary . . . since 1959. (They keep these things on file, just in case a famous person dies.) It made me wonder about my own obituary and how it would have changed over the years. If … Continued