Journalism professor and book author Jeff Jarvis recalls that early in his own writing and publishing career, he wrote on typewriters and saw his story set in hot metal linotype.

With titles like What Would Google Do? and Geeks Bearing Gifts, though, the books Jarvis writes today make obvious how much has changed since those days.

Indeed, in his new book, The Gutenberg Parenthesis, Jarvis places us outside the era of print and beyond the world that print created. As transmission of knowledge and creativity shifts off the page and onto the screen, should we celebrate or mourn?

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“The problem is the internet is often accused of creating filter bubbles and echo chambers, though there’s a lot of research, ever more research, that says that’s simply not true,” Jarvis says.

“What the internet does is puncture that bubble, and we come to a place where we are exposed to people who we’re unfamiliar with, who are strangers, who may be scary or being made scary by certain forces, and we don’t know how to deal with that.”

Indeed, Jarvis says we can and should learn to appreciate the noisy, even messy, information environment in these digital days.

“My fondest hope for both the internet and its companies and its entities, but also for good old media, is that we find the means to make strangers less strange. I think that’s the most pressing job we have in our society today,” he tells me.


Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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