I am a good example of how one has to be "of the Web" in order to relate to the things in Small Pieces, and it also helps to have some comprehension of philosophical fields such as phenomenology and the actual experiences of "we" and "connection via the web" in order to appreciate what Weinberger writes about here. Futrelle could have saved readers some time by simply saying "I don't get it", and sparing himself the time to devote to something he has a clue about.
Given that the essence of the 95 Theses could be boiled down to perhaps a sentence or two,
again, this guy is obviously not in tune with the disgust felt by many who actually "experience" the "conversation" and find hope there. I write more than a sentence or two in this section , and continue to find related issues for the Church in its Theses and the writings of Locke, Weinberger, Searls, and Levine (where is that Levine guy? Why doesn't he blog?)
it's remarkable that the Manifesto writers managed to pull a whole book out of it.
It's even more remarkable that a paper with the reputation of the Washington Post lets this "review" get published, when you obviously have better things to do (I hope)
But such is the power of (dumb) ideas. Now David Weinberger, one of the authors of the Manifesto, has conjured up a book of his own, a baffling little volume that purports to offer a "unified theory of the web."
And for someone like this guy, who likes to do to "Web Sociology Insights" what he accuses Cluetrain and Samll Pieces of doing (ranting on about nothing), it would be impossible to talk about the Web with any depth at all.
Weinberger, a writer and business consultant, argues that despite all the technology behind the scenes, the Internet is fundamentally about people, not data. "The Web is a world we've made for one another," he writes. "It can be understood only within a web of ideas that includes our culture's foundational thoughts, with human spirit lingering at every joining point."
Trouble is, Weinberger has a little trouble connecting these airy generalizations to the specific details of life as it is lived online and off -- in part because he doesn't seem to have any real curiosity about how others make sense of their worlds.
Ditto, guy, since you only seem to want to dismiss the intelligence of thoughts beyond your own world, and "warn us" all away from something you don't understand. That's reason enough for me to steer clear of anything you might say about the "human elements" of the Web.
he [Weinberger] is content to attribute his own thoughts and concerns to an amorphous collective "we." (Who's this we, Kemo Sabe?) Weinberger's inability to tell the difference between the first-person singular and the first-person plural leads to some strange conclusions. In one chapter, for instance, he argues with some fervor that the Web forces us -- whoever "us" is -- to confront the fact that "not only do we live in a shared world, but we like it that way."
That's not, on the face of it, a particularly controversial notion; indeed, it seems to be little more than a rehashed version of the sentiment that "people who need people/ Are the luckiest people in the world," as Barbra Streisand so famously sang. But Weinberger convinces himself, and tries to convince his readers, that what he's said is a shockingly "radical" idea that the unenlightened mass of humanity would fervently deny. (Apparently he's never seen "Funny Girl.") Adopting the guise of a modern-day Socrates speaking truth to power, Weinberger insists that "you could build a new destiny for your species on an idea as radical as that." Or you could write the lyrics for Broadway musicals.
The problem with this guy's analysis, is that Small Pieces isn't a generalized "people who need people" fluff piece, but it's an exploration of how this is being transformed via Web technologies. It's puzzling how he misses this. This guy seems to have problems appreciating sociological and philosophical discussions about the Web, which makes it puzzling why he appreciates Turkle, who has written some groundbreaking stuff that is Heavily Psychosocial in nature. I guess he just doesn't like Weinberger's writing style. I guess the fault is really with the Washington Post, for giving the assignment to "somebody in technology" who isn't into the phenomenological approach, or too much social psychology.
Here's some links to discussions linking to Small Pieces by others, who like to discuss in-depth things that don't make any sense (sarcasm):