American Internet expert who puts emphasis on mobile technology supporting democracy will open the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum taking place from June 3-5 in Bonn
Howard Rheingold from Stanford University, one of the most important trailblazers in Web 2.0 and author of several bestsellers covering the effects of the Internet on society, will open the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum on Wednesday, June 3. More than 900 guests are expected to attend the three-day conference taking place in Bonn, which will focus on “Conflict Prevention in the Multimedia Age”.
The renowned social scientist and founder of several online communities is one of the leading experts in the area of mobile communication. He even coined the term “smart mobs”, which describes networks that help their members communicate more efficiently with each other by using the Internet. “Something that was never thought possible with this magnitude, regardless of location and at a phenomenal speed,” says Rheingold.
Whether it is students protesting in Taiwan and Chile, civil unrest in France or demonstrations in the Philippines, Rheingold believes that new technologies change the way in which people get together, organize things and exchange information. The 62-year-old Internet guru from California asks himself: “Is the world on the verge of a new form of activism and civic participation?” In his opinion, “smart mobs” have also left their mark on politics. “The demonstrations that decided the elections in Korea and Spain were organized via text message,” says Rheingold.
At the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, the communication scientist will also tackle the question of whether “smart mobs” can outsmart the censors. In addition, Rheingold will critically examine the opportunities and risks of mobile communication and look at if it has the potential to “unite world citizens or fragment society even further”.
His bestsellers Tools for Thought (1985), Virtual Reality (1992) and The Virtual Community (1994) have been translated into many different languages.
The second Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum will focus on “Conflict Prevention in the Multimedia Age”. Along with the 50 individual events, 900 participants from around the world are expected. Co-host of the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum is the Foundation for International Dialogue of the Sparkasse in Bonn. The convention is also supported by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, the government of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Bonn, DHL, The Economist, Intermedia, KD Deutsche Rheinschifffahrt AG and the dpa group companies news aktuell and picture alliance. April 23, 2009