Republic.com 2.0

republiccom

The first thing I did upon receipt of this book was to go to the website, http://www.republic.com, and it has nothing to do with the book. All that is at the site (as of this writing) is a search page with ads.

I believe what Cass R. Sunstein was going for was to show how the republic has gone online. You can search blogs and websites for information on different political happenings.

The actual text of the book agrees with that summation, as early in the book, Mr. Sunstein tackles the “public forums” debate by saying that while streets and parks are public forums (and have been listed as such for years) why can’t airports and the Internet also be legally listed as such?

The original version of Republic.com was written in 2002, this new updated edition, Republic.com 2.0 was published in 2009. And with that, its age shows.

In the first chapter, Sunstein mentions how in the future we’ll have a “Daily Me” – ostensibly a newspaper that only shows us only what kinds of news we have already told it we like to read/see/hear about, and none of what we don’t.

It’s almost like the world M. T. Anderson created in Feed (also published in 2002) in which everyone has the Feed hooked directly to their spinal cord. Everyone gets updates to their personal news page automatically as it happens. But, not everyone subscribes to important information.

All of the characters who either don’t have a Feed connected, or had it connected later are all talking about a war that’s happening far away, then it steadily comes closer and the book ends with the war basically at the front door.

Today, in the real world, this is a lot like the RSS feeds (there’s that F word again).

This book is a great read and tackles ideas such as group polarization and net neutrality in addition to other topics of interest in bringing the government into the 21st century.

Princeton’s website for the book.

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