Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Translucent Generation

The Translucent Generation by Alex Krupp
A substance is translucent when it transmits light, translucency being the intermediary phase between opacity and transparency. This generation is translucent because bits and pieces of our thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs, and actions are available on-line to anyone who cares to look. Not enough to tell the complete picture about any person or institution—transparency—but enough to put us in a state of social disequilibrium that will have a profound impact in the years to come.

The translucent generation is made up of those whose values, beliefs, and ideals have been shaped by their dynamic use of the Internet. There are lots of twenty year olds today who use the Internet daily, and a few who have used it since they were old enough to read. Of those even fewer are power users; the web logging, Usenet posting, wiki editing, IRC chatting types. And of those power users, very few were engaged in these activities during their formative years. Those elite few share a unique value set that will revolutionize the world. And because these values spread virally, the size of this generation will continue to grow exponentially.

The philosophical underpinnings of the translucent generation have come through the process of millions of people arguing about their beliefs for billions of hours. Ideas on the Internet compete in a Darwinian way; the best ideas spread at the speed of light while the others fade away. However, here are a few individuals whose actions or writings have summed up this philosophy exceptionally well.

Richard Stallman — Founder of the GNU project
Jimmy Wales — Founder of Wikipedia
Eric Raymond — The Cathedral and the Bazaar
Philip Greenspun — Philip and Alex’s Guide to Web Publishing and founder of ArsDigita
Lawrence Lessig — The Future of Ideas and Free Culture
Howard Rheingold — Smart Mobs and The Virtual Community
Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, David Weinberger — The ClueTrain Manifesto
Dan Gillmor — We the Media
David Weinberger — “Small Pieces Loosely Joined”
Joe Trippi — “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
Bruce Schneier — “Beyond Fear”
Jeffrey Rosen — “The Unwanted Gaze” and “The Naked Crowd”
Don Tapscott and David Ticoll — “The Naked Corporation”
The whole article is well worth a close read.

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