This is the end of the year and so it is time to give awards for 2003. And Utne Magazine just picked Smart Mobs, the collective blog led by Howard Rheingold for this year's Utne Independent Press Award for best online cultural coverage. Let me tell you why.
First, here is what Utne writes to justify his choice.
Techno-visionary Howard Rheingold and his co-conspirators chronicle the daily evolution of wireless technologies and their impacts on culture, politics, economics and personal relationships.
In case you don't know the guy, many pictures from Howard are available. I chose this little known one of Howard *working* in his *office*.
Now, just in case you never heard about them, what are smart mobs?
Smart mobs emerge when communication and computing technologies amplify human talents for cooperation. The impacts of smart mob technology already appear to be both beneficial and destructive, used by some of its earliest adopters to support democracy and by others to coordinate terrorist attacks. The technologies that are beginning to make smart mobs possible are mobile communication devices and pervasive computing -- inexpensive microprocessors embedded in everyday objects and environments. Already, governments have fallen, youth subcultures have blossomed from Asia to Scandinavia, new industries have been born and older industries have launched furious counterattacks.
So, if collaborative actions like this can be organized with things like ordinary cell phones, why not create a collective blog to cover them? This is what did Howard, with the help of people he called the Smartmobloggers.
Of course, a blog exists because it has writers, but it wouldn't live without readers. Howard recently asked who they were and you can find the results here. You'll see famous names, as Bruce Sterling, as well as complete unknowns. But everyone has a story to tell and gives a reason why he's reading daily Smart Mobs.
2004 is coming soon. It's about time that you also become a Smartmobber.
Sources: Utne magazine, January/February 2004; Smart Mobs website