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Rushkoff’s Rules for the Digital Age
Doug Rushkoff   Nov 2, 2010   WBUR On Point  

WBUR’s On Point talked with big thinker Douglas Rushkoff about his “ten commands” for living right in the digital age.

The digital world around us - Facebook, Google, and all the rest - has grown so big, so fast, that people come to think of it as a given, like gravity or the speed of light. Of course, it’s not. The digital world is thoroughly engineered, by human hands, and for human ends, like making money.

Big media critic and theorist Douglas Rushkoff wants to be sure we don’t forget that. Otherwise, he warns, as lives migrate to the digital realm, we run the risk of being slaves, not masters, of its power.

And the thing that gets programmed may be us.

Here are Rushkoff’s “10 commands,” as summarized by

1. Time. Thou shall not be always on. We are turning an asynchronous net as always on. He encouraged saying “My time is mine.”

2. Distance. Thou shalt not do from a distance what can be done in person. Using long distance in short distance situations. Don’t use distance learning in localized context.

3. Scale - the Internet is biased to scale up. Exalt the particular. Not everything scales, should scale or needs to scale.

4. Discrete - everything is a choice. You may always choose none of the above. Sites like Facebook promote forced choice, you have to choose from a set of options.

5. Complexity - the net reduces complexity. Thou shalt never be completely right.

6. Non-corporeal - out of body. Thou shalt not be anonymous. Rushkoff says “work against tendency of the net to promote anonymity.” Anonymity encourages becoming part of polarized mobs with no sense of consequence, it side steps prejudices. It is liberating to promote yourself online.

7. Contact is king (not content). Remember the humans. “Social marketing is an oxymoron.”

8. Abstraction - as above, so not below. Print abstracts text from the scribe. Hypertext takes it a step further.

9. Openness. Thou shalt not steal. When there is no social contract, openness can continue until there is no one left to give things away. Nothing is free.

10. End users - technology is biased toward consumers. Programmed or be programmed.

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Doug Rushkoff

"Not everything scales, should scale or needs to scale."

I would say the same thing about 'convergence.'

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