Writer, artist and designer, theorist and community builder, Howard Rheingold is one of the driving minds behind our net-enabled, open, collaborative life.
As Howard Rheingold himself puts it, "I fell into the computer realm from the typewriter dimension, then plugged my computer into my telephone and got sucked into the net." A writer and designer, he was among the first wave of creative thinkers who saw, in computers and then in the Internet, a way to form powerful new communities.
His 2002 book Smart Mobs, which presaged Web 2.0 in predicting collaborative ventures like Wikipedia, was the outgrowth of decades spent studying and living life online. An early and active member of the Well (he wrote about it in The Virtual Community), he went on to cofound HotWired and Electric Minds, two groundbreaking web communities, in the mid-1990s. Now active in Second Life, he teaches, writes and consults on social networking. His latest passion: teaching and workshopping participatory media literacy, to make sure we all know how to read and make the new media that we're all creating together.
"With his last book, Smart Mobs, the longtime observer of technology trends made a persuasive case that pervasive mobile communications, combined with always-on Internet connections, will produce new kinds of ad-hoc social groups. Now, he's starting to take the leap beyond smart mobs, trying to weave some threads out of such seemingly disparate developments as Web logs, open-source software development, and Google."BusinessWeek