Jan14

Top Technology Related Reads

Posted by Kelly Kirkham

Too much time? Need a book? Pick one of these terrific technology-related books from and follow me as I abstain from Facebook for thirty days.

Since my decision to ditch Facebook as my personal New Year’s resolution, I have found that I have a little more extra time on my hands. Rather than see this situation as a negative, I have decided to use my newly found free time for good. After deactivating my account, I decided to set some goals to accomplish during the month of January.

In an attempt to better myself during this brief (30 days) Facebook hiatus I have chosen a list of technology-related books with help from Medium.com. This (hopeful) mind expansion is a way for me to gauge the pros and cons of a social media focused lifestyle.

After a week I have to admit I do feel somewhat detached from my social circle (con) as well as from the media sources that I follow (con). But I do feel a small sense of pride when someone asks me “did you see on Facebook?” and I reply that no I have not (pro). I have also found that my mind is a less cluttered with random facts and information about friends and loved ones, giving me a chance to spend my energy on more fruitful endeavors(pro!). Which brings me to my next task: Books!

I love books. I read with the same commitment that individuals binge-watch The Walking Dead or Sons of Anarchy. Once I begin a book, I form a slight obsession that only ends once I have devoured the entire thing. This is not to say that the books I read are beneficial in any fashion besides entertainment. No Shakespeare or Chaucer as of late, mostly vampires and time travel. So, I have committed myself to reading a book that will open my mind to previously unfettered paths. With a little help from Medium.com, I have compiled a list of five different technology related books that are great contenders.

My nominations include these five top tech books with comments from Andrew Leonard, a 20-year online journalism veteran:

Topic: Digital Information Reliance

The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age

By Astra Taylor

Metropolitan Books

From Andrew: “Let’s just put it this way: if you’re looking for one single book to introduce you to the complexities of how technological change has affected journalism, music, advertising and privacy, a book that both acknowledges the amazing things that the Internet and computers have delivered unto us, while at the same time making an undeniable case that we can do better, you won’t go wrong with The People’s Platform.

Topic: Human Nature

Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One’s Looking

By Christian Rudder

Crown

From Andrew: “As the founder of the popular online dating site OKCupid, Christian Rudder discovered he had access to an extraordinarily intimate and revealing database: the truths, and lies, that people tell when they are trying to get a date. In this witty and informative book, he tries to make sense of it all.”

Topic: Social Media Issues

It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

By Danah Boyd

Yale University Press

From Andrew: “Parents, you have permission to chill out. Yes, your children are growing up in an environment of digital distraction and immersion unlike anything ever experienced by any generation of humans who have ever lived on this planet. Yes, they appear to be spending way too much of their quality time on Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and something that was just invented yesterday that you haven’t yet heard of.”

Topic: Information Overload

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us

By Nicholas Carr

W.W. Norton

From Andrew: “You don’t have to believe that the Internet is actually making us dumber to get value from Carr’s latest book, an exploration of some of the downsides to an increasingly automated, digitally mediated life. Where other critics are shrill and frothy, Carr is level-headed; an eloquent writer and a subtle thinker.”

Topic: Privacy

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance

By Julia Angwin

Times Books

From Andrew: “The title says it all. If we learned anything about the Internet over the past two years, it has been that the extent to which corporations and governments are snooping on our personal information goes far beyond what any of us expected or imagined the first time we pressed send on an email, texted a lover or simply searched for a good deal on headphones on Google.  We might have once thought that the Internet was mostly about giving us access to information; now we realize that it’s an even more efficient tool for granting others access to information about us.”

Realistically, I only have time to read one. Which one should I choose? Tell me what you think on Twitter: @Midphase

 

 

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