Jeff Jarvis is the perfect author to discuss the Google way, with his extensive background in media, from TV Guide to Entertainment Weekly to his popular blog, Buzzmachine.com. He teaches journalism at the City University of New York in NYC, and all of his background and experience combines in his analysis of Google's success. It's a fascinating, insightful examination of the company, and how it has changed the world.
The Internet has changed the way the world communicates. Nothing shows that more than the last Presidential campaign in which President Obama's team capitalized on all of the ways to reach voters - from Facebook to Digg to MoveOn.org. Google, Craigslist, Facebook, Wikipedia, and Digg are all organized to take advantage of the knowledge of their users. Jarvis spends time analyzing the success of these companies that organize the modern world so people can use that knowledge, and then allow people to make suggestions, pointing out what works.
Google, and the other companies discussed, can be viewed as scary, or challenging. Jarvis points out that newspapers are already on their way out because they couldn't adjust to the new way people learned the news. Jarvis examines the changes in the entertainment world and book publishing, because of these companies. And, he, and Google, share their rules, based on connections.
Jarvis spends time exploring Google's rules for a new society, one "built on connections, links, transparency, openness, publicness, listening, trust, wisdom...." It's a society I'd like to live in.
As a reader, and librarian, it makes me think about public libraries, and how we could change. Our biggest problem is the rules imposed on us by our governing bodies, usually city or local governments. To be honest, there would be fewer rules if librarians actually controlled their own libraries - fewer fines, fewer penalties. And, Google has already changed how libraries do business. Everyone starts with Google, looking for answers. If they succeed with books online (and they will), libraries will continue to change. With today's economy, we've seen that one of our most important roles is as an Internet access point for people needing computers to file for unemployment and find jobs.
As a member of the Sunday Salon community, this book shows we've already succeeded in becoming a network to discuss the books we all love. Google, Digg, Craigslist, and the other companies are about building communities. If you came to Lesa's Book Critiques because of Sunday Salon, the network is working. And, if you go from my blog to another one, the network of book lovers is working.
Jeff Jarvis' What Would Google Do? is a fascinating book that has already forced me to make changes on my blog. I'd like to be part of the Internet future, not the past. It's a book to read if you'd like to understand our world.
Jeff Jarvis' blog is Buzzmachine.com
What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. HarperCollins, ©2009. ISBN 9780061709715 (Hardcover), 272p.
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