Howard Rheingold

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Howard Rheingold
Rheingold in 2007
Born (1947-07-07) July 7, 1947 (age 72)
Residence Mill Valley, California, US
Alma mater Reed College
  • Critic
  • writer
  • teacher
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Howard Rheingold (born 1947) is an American critic, writer, and teacher, known for his specialties on the cultural, social and political implications of modern communication media such as the Internet, mobile telephony and virtual communities (a term he is credited with inventing).

Media studies is a discipline and field of study that deals with the content, history, and effects of various media; in particular, the mass media. Media studies may draw on traditions from both the social sciences and the humanities, but mostly from its core disciplines of mass communication, communication, communication sciences, and communication studies.

Internet Global system of connected computer networks

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

Mobile telephony collective term for the operation of mobile telephone devices

Mobile telephony is the provision of telephone services to phones which may move around freely rather than stay fixed in one location. Telephony is supposed to specifically point to a voice-only service or connection, though sometimes the line may blur.



Rheingold was born on July 7, 1947, in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, in 1968. [1] His senior thesis was entitled What Life Can Compare with This? Sitting Alone at the Window, I Watch the Flowers Bloom, the Leaves Fall, the Seasons Come and Go. [2]

Phoenix, Arizona State capital city of Arizona, United States

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city in Arizona, with 1,660,272 people. It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.

Arizona State in the United States

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Reed College private liberal arts college located in the U.S. state of Oregon

Reed College is a private liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 1908, Reed is a residential college with a campus in the Eastmoreland neighborhood, with Tudor-Gothic style architecture, and a forested canyon nature preserve at its center.

A lifelong fascination with mind augmentation and its methods led Rheingold to the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Xerox PARC. There he worked on and wrote about the earliest personal computers. This led to his writing Tools for Thought in 1985, a history of the people behind the personal computer. Around that time he first logged on to The WELL – an influential early online community. He explored the experience in his seminal book, The Virtual Community .

The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is an American non-profit parapsychological research institute. It was co-founded in 1973 by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell,, the sixth man to walk on the Moon, along with investor Paul N. Temple, and others interested in purported paranormal phenomena, in order to encourage and conduct research on noetic theory and human potentials.

Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology is a work of "retrospective futurism" in which Smart Mobs author Howard Rheingold looked at the history of computing and then attempted to predict what the networked world might look like in the mid-1990s. The book covers the groundbreaking work of thinkers like Alan Turing, John von Neumann, and J.C.R. Licklider, as well as Xerox PARC, Apple Computer, and Microsoft. Rheingold wrote that the impetus behind Tools for Thought was to understand where "mind-amplifying technology" was going by understanding where it came from.

The WELL Internet community

The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, normally shortened to The WELL, is one of the oldest virtual communities in continuous operation. As of June 2012, it had 2,693 members. It is best known for its Internet forums, but also provides email, shell accounts, and web pages. The discussion and topics on The WELL range from deeply serious to trivial, depending on the nature and interests of the participants.

Also in 1985, Rheingold coauthored Out of the Inner Circle: A Hacker's Guide to Computer Security with former hacker Bill Landreth. In 1991, he published Virtual Reality: Exploring the Brave New Technologies of Artificial Experience and Interactive Worlds from Cyberspace to Teledildonics .

Out of the Inner Circle: A Hacker's Guide to Computer Security is a book by Bill Landreth and Howard Rheingold, published in 1985 by Microsoft Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster (ISBN 0-671-30942-0). The book was created to provide insight into the ways and methods of the hacking community in days before internet became prevalent. Although largely outdated and nostalgic, it does show what brought on many of the current trends we see in network security today.

William "Bill" Landreth is an American hacker notable for his cracking activities during the early 1980s within an exclusive cracking club called "The Inner Circle", and subsequent 1986 disappearance. His book Out of the Inner Circle: A Hacker's Guide to Computer Security, published in 1986, is considered a best-seller.

Teledildonics is technology for remote sex, where tactile sensations are communicated over a data link between the participants. The term can also refer to the integration of telepresence with sexual activity that these interfaces make possible.

After a stint editing the Whole Earth Review , Rheingold served as editor in chief of the Millennium Whole Earth Catalog . Shortly thereafter, he was hired on as founding executive editor of HotWired , one of the first commercial content web sites published in 1994 by Wired magazine. Rheingold left HotWired and soon founded Electric Minds in 1996 to chronicle and promote the growth of community online. Despite accolades, the site was sold and scaled back in 1997.

<i>Whole Earth Review</i> Mother Nature:  Walking on the "Wild Side"  NOT quitting the Field

Whole Earth Review was a magazine which was founded in January 1985 after the merger of the Whole Earth Software Review and the CoEvolution Quarterly. All of these periodicals are descendants of Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Catalog.

<i>Whole Earth Catalog</i>

The Whole Earth Catalog (WEC) was an American counterculture magazine and product catalog published by Stewart Brand several times a year between 1968 and 1972, and occasionally thereafter, until 1998. The magazine featured essays and articles, but was primarily focused on product reviews. The editorial focus was on self-sufficiency, ecology, alternative education, "do it yourself" (DIY), and holism, and featured the slogan "access to tools". While WEC listed and reviewed a wide range of products, it did not sell any of the products directly. Instead, the vendor's contact information was listed alongside the item and its review. This is why, while not a regularly published periodical, numerous editions and updates were required to keep price and availability information up to date.

Hotwired (1994–1999) was the first commercial web magazine, launched on October 27, 1994. Although it was part of Wired Ventures, Hotwired was a separate entity from Wired, the print magazine, and had original content.

In 1998, he created his next virtual community, Brainstorms, a private successful webconferencing community for knowledgeable, intellectual, civil, and future-thinking adults from all over the world.

Rheingold in Mill Valley Howard Rheingold-2007.jpg
Rheingold in Mill Valley

In 2002, Rheingold published Smart Mobs , exploring the potential for technology to augment collective intelligence. Shortly thereafter, in conjunction with the Institute for the Future, Rheingold launched an effort to develop a broad-based literacy of cooperation.

<i>Smart Mobs</i> book by Howard Rheingold

Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution is a book by Howard Rheingold dealing with the social, economic and political changes implicated by developing technology. The book covers subjects from text-messaging culture to wireless Internet developments to the impact of the web on the marketplace. The author highlights the many ways in which technology alters and impacts the way in which people live and think.

Collective intelligence

Collective intelligence (CI) is shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration, collective efforts, and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making. The term appears in sociobiology, political science and in context of mass peer review and crowdsourcing applications. It may involve consensus, social capital and formalisms such as voting systems, social media and other means of quantifying mass activity. Collective IQ is a measure of collective intelligence, although it is often used interchangeably with the term collective intelligence. Collective intelligence has also been attributed to bacteria and animals.

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is a Palo Alto, California, US–based not-for-profit think tank. It was established, in 1968, as a spin-off from the RAND Corporation to help organizations plan for the long-term future, a subject known as futures studies.

In 2008, Rheingold became the first research fellow at the Institute for the Future, with which he had long been affiliated. [3]

Rheingold is a visiting lecturer in Stanford University's Department of Communication where he has taught courses such as "Digital Journalism", "Virtual Communities and Social Media", and "Social Media Literacies". [4] [5] [6] He is a former lecturer in UC Berkeley's School of Information where he taught "Virtual Communities and Social Media" and "Participatory Media/Collective Action". [7] He has been a frequent contributor to the Connected Learning Alliance blog on topics ranging from new media literacy to learning innovation. [8]

Rheingold lives in Mill Valley, California, with his wife Judy and daughter Mamie. In an entry on his video blog, he provides a tour of the converted garage that became a "dream office" and an "externalization of [his] mind" where Rheingold absorbs information, writes, and creates art. [9]

He contributed the essay "Participative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies" to the Freesouls book project. [10]

Selected bibliography

See also

Related Research Articles

A virtual community is a social network of individuals who interact through specific social media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals. Some of the most pervasive virtual communities are online communities operating under social networking services.

Smart mob

A smart mob is a group whose coordination and communication abilities have been empowered by digital communication technologies. Smart mobs are particularly known for their ability to mobilize quickly.

Internet culture, or cyberculture, is a culture that has emerged, or is emerging, from the use of computer networks for communication, entertainment, and business. Internet culture is also the study of various social phenomena associated with the Internet and other new forms of the network communication. Examples of these new forms of network communication include, online communities, online multi-player gaming, wearable computing, social gaming, social media, mobile apps, augmented reality, and texting as well as issues related to identity, privacy, and network formation.

Davey Winder, previously known as "Wavey Davey" or "dwindera" but now settled as "happygeek", is a United Kingdom IT pundit who has worked as a consultant, writer and journalist. He is the 'IT Security Journalist of the Year (UK) 2010', an award he has won three out of the four years it has been given.

Intelligence amplification automation of insight-finding by incorporating natural language processing and machine learning to create better data.

Intelligence amplification (IA) refers to the effective use of information technology in augmenting human intelligence. The idea was first proposed in the 1950s and 1960s by cybernetics and early computer pioneers.

Participatory media is media where the audience can play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating content. Citizen / Participatory journalism, citizen media and democratic media are related principles.

Participatory culture is an opposing concept to consumer culture — in other words a culture in which private individuals do not act as consumers only, but also as contributors or producers (prosumers). The term is most often applied to the production or creation of some type of published media. Recent advances in technologies have enabled private persons to create and publish such media, usually through the Internet. Since the technology now enables new forms of expression and engagement in public discourse, participatory culture not only supports individual creation but also informal relationships that pair novices with experts. This new culture as it relates to the Internet has been described as Web 2.0. In participatory culture "young people creatively respond to a plethora of electronic signals and cultural commodities in ways that surprise their makers, finding meanings and identities never meant to be there and defying simple nostrums that bewail the manipulation or passivity of "consumers."

As coined in the writings of Marshall McLuhan, metamedia referred to new relationships between form and content in the development of new technologies and new media. [REFERENCE NEEDED: The book Understanding Media doesn't once use the word metamedia, meta-media, meta-medium or metamedium.]

Lovegety was a proximity matchmaking device introduced in Feb. 1998 in Japan by Erfolg Co.,ltd., which allowed users to find potential dates that match their personal preferences in the vicinity. Over 1,300,000 of these units were sold in Japan at an approximate price of $21.

The Wearable Computing Group is a research group within the computer and information science department at the University of Oregon that focuses on the development and evaluation of wearable and mobile computing technology for facilitating and augmenting human collaboration.

Peter Kollock American sociologist

Peter Enrique Kollock was an American sociologist and an associate professor and vice chair in the department of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Cybermethodology is a newly emergent field that focuses on the creative development and use of computational and technological research methodologies for the analysis of next-generation data sources such as the Internet. The first formal academic program in Cybermethodology is being developed by the University of California, Los Angeles.

Douglas Rushkoff writer, American media theorist

Douglas Mark Rushkoff is an American media theorist, writer, columnist, lecturer, graphic novelist, and documentarian. He is best known for his association with the early cyberpunk culture, and his advocacy of open source solutions to social problems.

Clive Thompson is a Canadian freelance journalist, blogger, and science and technology writer.

MediaSmarts is a bilingual Canadian non-profit organization based in Ottawa, Ontario that focuses on media literacy programs. In particular, the organization promotes critical thinking via education resources and analyzes the content of various types of mass media. Surveys and studies performed by MediaSmarts have explored youth media consumption, such as television and internet use, as well as media issues. In recent years the organization's focus has shifted more heavily to digital literacy, although it continues to produce resources on traditional media.

Louis B. Rosenberg writer

Louis Rosenberg is a technologist, prolific inventor, entrepreneur, writer, and currently the CEO of the artificial Intelligence company Unanimous AI. His doctoral work at Stanford University resulted in the virtual fixtures system for the US Air Force, the first immersive Augmented Reality system, built in 1992. Rosenberg founded a number of technology companies, including the early VR company Immersion Corporation which went public in 1999, the 3D digitizer company Microscribe which was used in the making of many feature films, and the technology company Outland Research. Rosenberg also worked as a tenured professor at California Polytechnic State University. In 2014, Rosenberg founded Unanimous A.I., an artificial intelligence company.


  1. "Reed Magazine: What It Is, Is Up To Us (1/3)". Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  2. Wolf, Gary. "What It Is, Is Up To Us". Reed College.
  3. "Howard Rheingold is First IFTF Research Fellow". Archived from the original on 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  4. "Faculty: Howard Rheingold". Retrieved 2019-09-10.
  5. "Graduate courses in Communications". Archived from the original on 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  6. "Stanford University Explore Courses: Rheingold". Archived from the original on 2019-09-10. Retrieved 2019-09-10.
  7. "Howard Rheingold – School of Information". Archived from the original on 2016-09-09. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  8. "Howard Rheingold – Connected Learning Alliance". Retrieved 2019-09-10.
  9. "Howard Rheingold's Vlog". Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  10. Rheingold, Howard. "Participative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies". Archived from the original on 2018-06-03. Retrieved 2019-09-10.