Sunday, October 28, 2012

Timmi and McLuhan's 4 Laws of Media

A few weeks ago, I suggested the creation of a new technology: a trans-media, multi-instance, holographic (TMMIH) avatar – aka “Timmi”.  This week, I want to apply Marshall McLuhan’s Tetrad (4 Laws of Media) to my new innovation.  First, a quick review of the technology I proposed. Timmi is a 3-dimensional holographic image of me or another character (perhaps a cartoon or movie character) of my choosing.  The hologram speaks in my voice or the voice of my chosen character and both acts as my assistant (reading messages e-mails, texts, or speaking meta-data to a search or inquiry when requested), and as my representative on other people’s devices and displays. The hologram becomes a trans-media image when it makes itself instantly available on my device of choice (smartphone, touchpad, personal computer) and when appropriate, appears in my car’s heads-up display while I’m driving. As my representative, I can “push” my hologram to my friends and family, to speak on my behalf when I send a message or voicemail their way.

In looking at this innovation through the filter of McLuhan’s Tetrad, we find a couple of interesting insights. McLuhan’s Tetrad outlines in metaphoric fashion his four laws of media. These four laws suggest that for every new technology, new medium, or innovation, there is something gained (extended), something lost (amputated), something retrieved from our past and, when taken to its extreme, the innovation reverses or flips on us. 
First, with Timmi, we gain a presence in every social situation and community which is important to us. This is more than just being available through text on a screen, or a disembodied voice of voicemail. This is having a likeness of ourselves or a representative of our choosing available to be seen and heard by others, when they are connected. Additionally, as an assistant, Timmi becomes an acoustic interface to what was predominantly a visual and tactile medium (reading messages and responding with typing). This makes our environment of communicating within our communities a two-way, acoustic environment. The medium moves to the “ground” as the hologram image moves to “figure”.

However, with these gains, what do we lose? One of the amputations is the separation of the personal self from relationships that deal with the “agent” self. As this happens, our personal connections to communities we care about can be co-opted by an impersonal likeness as we delegate our presence to a representation of ourselves. The danger in this arrangement is that our real community becomes the relationship we have with our holographic assistant/agent, and we move toward isolation and individualism like the literate man.  

From the past, we retrieve expression, intonation, and the nuances of meta-data which were all amputated in our social media explosion. In the current world of social media, communication by text (words, acronyms, code, cryptic slang, etc.) and emoticons drive the preponderance of our messages. In the visual and tactile domain of smartphones, touch pads and personal computers, our thumbs and fingers and eyes are our “transmitters and receivers”. As Timmi is deployed, we have the opportunity to convey to friends, family and acquaintances more than what can be portrayed by text and emoticons on a display.

What happens to Timmi when taken to its limits?  As Timmi becomes ubiquitous, it reverses or flips on us. We lose real presence in any of our communities, and end up having to show up in person in those communities we really care about, as Timmi can’t convey caring, sympathy and empathy. What started out to be a way to provide an immediate presence, ends up being no presence, as Timmi has become “us”, and our personal presence is really nowhere to be found.

It’s important, as McLuhan maintains, that we think about these things as new innovations arrive, so that we can decide a way of “evasion and survival”. Otherwise, we will be left to deal with the consequences of “the maelstrom created by our own ingenuity.”

McLuhan’s Laws of Media. Retrieved from:

McLuhan/ Laws of Media. Retrieved from:
McLuhan’s Wake (2003). The Disinformation Company. New York, NY.

Ohler, Jason (2010). Digital Community: Digital Citizen. Corwin. Thousand Oaks, CA. (p.134-135)


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Retribalization of Man

According to McLuhan, the electronic media – in particular, radio and television – are bringing about the retribalization of man. Prior to the medium of print, man was tribal in the sense that the identity of the group, or village was paramount. It was paramount to meaning, and it was paramount to survival. But man also lived in an “acoustic” environment, as McLuhan would say. Man’s engagement and interaction, as a way to find meaning and understanding, was through the telling of stories and the oral traditions in the context of their impact on the village. His survival was also linked to his environment, and with that environment, a heightened acuity in all his senses.

The invention of the printing press initiated the shift in man's identity as a tribal being to one of singular identity - an explorer, a frontiersman, a thought-leader - an individual. The printing press brought literacy, and literacy brought the dissolution of the group, as the medium of print engendered a new-found sense of individualism. However, in becoming literate, we also lose this sense of the 360 environment – a surround sound view of life, where all the senses are equally engaged.  The notion of reading and understanding through print is both serial and personal. Through literacy, the search for meaning was found in the lonely process of reading and thinking, and establishing identity as an individual with a personal interpretation of the words and concepts delivered one at a time through sense the of sight. 
In this new literate world, in McLuhan’s terms, we traded an ear for an eye. What was once a community storytelling experience, became a private and image-rich experience of reading a book. While literacy for the common person took decades to accomplish, the printing press nevertheless set in place the medium through which individual literacy would come to modern, pre-industrial man. Orated stories may be subject to change and embellishment over the generations, but with books, the story stays fixed. The concepts and interpretations understood in the context of the time in which they were read.
McLuhan makes the point that the concept for the words “to read” means “to guess”.  He further explains that reading, then, is a process of rapid guessing. Picking the right meaning of words – especially words with multiple meanings – in the context of the other words around them, requires rapid guessing.  As a result, he says, “that is why a good reader tends to be a quick decision-maker; and a good reader…..tends to make a good executive”.  Carrying this concept further, good executives are needed in organizations and bureaucracies, for their ability to make decisions and for their leadership. This is a very individualized function – as is reading. Groups don’t lead, individuals do. Our organizational constructs of legal entities such as governments and companies are built around the decisiveness of leaders maximizing the productivity of individuals in collections. But this is not the same as the group. Sure, there are elements of group – people may be proud of where they work or feel a sense of camaraderie with their fellow workers. But to be sure, promotions, recognition, pay and rewards are all at the individual level. And when the workday is done, people retreat to their individual homes, each “worlds” apart from the workplace. Clearly, the work of Edward Demming has had a mitigating effect on the role of the individual in organizations over the last half-century, as his teaching elevated the goals of the “village output” over the individual’s goals by way of his “Quality” measurements. Interestingly, Demming’s work was first accepted in the East, as the management teams of the industrialized West saw no need for his concepts of quality. The West had cornered the market of consumerism, and saw no need for change from the rugged individualism which had gotten it to that point.
Individualism is still the cornerstone of modern, western, industrial and post-industrial society. Those who work hardest get ahead. Those who are appealing to voters get voted into office and control bureaucracies. Correspondingly, the role of government in western society has had a long, slow, shift from being the protector of the group – with certain inalienable individual rights – to the elevation of protection of individual’s rights over that of the group. To wit, 76 of the 85 cases before the Supreme Court this year concern the rights of the individual.
With the advent of electronic media, the literate man began to re-engage with his other senses again – more than just his sense of sight.  The purely visual media, such as print and the visual arts, can be viewed with a sense of detachment, but the aural media and acoustic media – and McLuhan counted television among the acoustic media – are engaging, and enveloping media. In McLuhan’s words, “they work us over”, “they bump us up”, they interrupt us and get our attention; they engage us. We become immersed in this new media, and through this immersion, there is a loss of individual identity, and a new search for meaning in the group; in the “village” which is attached to that particular medium. While the content may shape one’s path for that search, it is the medium, itself, which is the message – that we are a product of our village, first and foremost, and our identity is part of the larger identity of our group.
In that sense, we have come full circle from being tribal in our relationships and search for meaning to being individual in our pursuits, to once again becoming tribal in our search for meaning and context. The new media and social media, however, take this concept of retribalization to whole new levels. Our village cuts across geographies, political boundaries, and cultures, instantaneously; and it can grow to a population of over 50 million in less than a year, as it did for the video-sharing site, ViVo.  But there’s another dimension of retribalization. We are now engaged, not just aurally, but tactilely – and this is the essence of what McLuhan calls “acoustic”. Our senses are engulfed as we participate in and create our own media. Where radio and television are one (or few) to many, social media are anyone to any; and messages we create can be delivered on many media at one time. Television may or may not retribalize us. But the medium of TV was an important stepping stone to bring the immersive senses back into play with new media and social media – away from the singularity of the sense of sight. 
This move to retribalization, however, does not mean we become illiterate, in the sense that we return to the tribal man of pre-printing press. Rather we adopt a new literacy – one which is poorly understood in the context of our current individual structures. The futurist, Alvin Toffler said “the illiterate person of the twenty-first century is not someone who cannot read and write, but the person who cannot learn, un-learn, and relearn”.
Now, here is the rub. We live in a world where political, industrial, and even post-industrial organizational and bureaucratic structures are stuck in the literate world of individualism. Eddie Obeng, in his June, 2012 talk at TEDGlobal, in Edinburgh, Scotland said, “We spend our time responding rationally to a world which we understand and recognize, but which no longer exists”.  Perhaps our most important work as media psychologists comes in helping public and private organizations and institutions understand the dramatic shift in society from individualism back to tribalism and its implications on our systems of education, enterprise, and governance.  These are all structures we respond to rationally, because we understand them and recognize them; they are so familiar to us that they are part of the “ground” of our western society – but they were built for a world which no longer exists. However, as Ohler sees it, these individual structures are giving way to older structures as man becomes more tribal and less a being of solitude. It’s as if we’re returning to the pre-industrial family dinner-table discussion; bringing the “front porch” back to the position of figure in our culture. The car, the freeway system, the airplane, the telephone, and the computer allowed us all to maintain our extended family while the individual and frontiersman in all of us caused us to move physically further and further apart. The new media work not because they somehow bridge the gulf that we’ve created by our distance, but because they return us to something very familiar – something old and comfortable. Bringing meaningful understanding to society is to bring these old structures to the position of “figure” in our culture, where the issues and options are debated, researched, discussed and analyzed. In helping create this tribal discussion, we help create a platform for safe change as we replace old structures with new ones –or older ones, as the case may be.  The implications for education, enterprise, and governance are enormous with this facilitated shift in identity.
The Arab Spring gave us all a glimpse of what happens when the individualism of totalitarianism - with no prospect for change and no willingness to understand - runs afoul of the tribal man of social media. Malcolm Muggeridge observed that both capitalism and totalitarianism have the same end in mind; just different means of achieving it. We have a worthy task in helping society understand through learning, un-learning and relearning the message of the media, else capitalism and democracy, as we know them today, will become unwitting victims of the impatience of tribal man, as well. 
Covey, Stephen M. R. (2006). The speed of trust. (p.177). New York, N.Y. Free Press.
Hunter, Ian (1980). Malcolm Muggeridge: A Life. New York, N.Y. HarperCollins.
McLuhan, Marshall (1979). The medium is the message.  ABC Radio National Network, Australia. Retrieved on 10/15/12 from
McLuhan, Marshall; Fiore, Quentin (1967). The medium is the massage. Berkeley, CA. Gingko Press.
U.S Supreme Court, 2011-2012 cases. Retrieved on 10/17/12 from
Wolfe, Tom (1968). The pump house gang.  What if he is right? (pp. 119-154). New York, N.Y. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Technology I Would Create....

This week, we were asked to come up with a new technology that we would create. Key concepts which have influenced our collective thinking over the last 3 weeks are: Mobility, technology landscape, augmented reality, meta-data, transmedia, digital community, digital citizen, narrative, story arc, and connectedness. With these concepts in mind, a new technology I would create is a transmedia, multi-instance, holographic (TMMIH) avatar – aka “Timmi”.  Here's how it would work:
To set up my Timmi, I use my smartphone camera to take a picture of my face, straight-on, and a picture of each side of my face. The software in my phone renders a 3-D holographic image of my head. Next, I record a few sentences of carefully-picked words to capture most of my phonemes, and intonations. Like Apple’s SIRI, my phone is “listening” to my voice as I speak and develops a library of sounds so that my body-less avatar, over a very short time-span, sounds just like me. Alternatively, I could pick from a catalog of pre-created cartoon characters or movie characters to be my avatar in their own voices (a great licensing opportunity for movie producers and owners of cartoon character trademarks such as Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Buzz Lightyear, and…..oh yeah, Felix the Cat!). One of my colleagues suggested this week that we often have a voice in our heads that talks to us, and we're consequently surprised when we hear our actual voices because it doesn't sound like the voice in our heads! 
Once Timmi is set up, it's deployable to act as my "assistant" as well as my representative. As my assistant, when I get an e-mail, a text, or other message (e.g., Facebook message, Twitter feed), or want to search for something, Timmi comes alive on the retina display of my device (cell phone, tablet, PC, or windshield heads-up display) and speaks the information to me in my own voice (or the cartoon character’s voice). This is not a big technological leap from where we are today. For instance, I can speak into my iPhone and ask SIRI (or some other information services proxy) for almost any kind of information, and after a short search, SIRI will speak the information back to me, in the proxy’s voice. When I initiate a search for a retail location, a product, or a service, Timmi can come alive read aloud to me any meta-data associated with my search or location, as well. An instance of Timmi is always available on my cell phone’s retina display,  so when I get into my car, the Bluetooth registration process "pulls" my avatar into the heads-up display in my windshield. Without taking my eyes off the road, I can command Timmi to speak information to me – messages, search results, and meta-data.
As my representative, I can “push” an instance of Timmi to a friend’s smartphone - just like is done with a "v-card", today. When my friend gets a message from me, such as text, e-mail, Facebook message or Twitter feed, an instance of my Timmi appears on the retina display of his/her phone, reads my message, in the appropriate voice - mine or my chosen character's. Further, if my friend calls me and I can’t answer my phone, my Timmi pops up on their phone to tell them I’m unavailable and asks them to leave a message. Additionally, Timmi will ask my friend to pick a medium of choice for a response. My Timmi can appear on whatever device my friend is using, whether a cellphone,tablet, PC or heads-up display on their windshield. My Timmi is only in their display long enough to deliver the message, and then disappears. Their own personal Timmi is available as their assistant, waiting for the next command or prompt. I can have as many instances of my personal Timmi as I have friends with smart devices! Likewise, as many of my friends’ Timmis as I want, can reside on my electronic apparatuses of choice. Many of the asynchronous capabilities we have today are enhanced by a more personal (or comedic) representation of "us".
The reason this new technology (or rather this new adaptation of several combined technologies) is compelling to me is that it gives us the capability to do many of the messaging and retrieval functions we do with social media today with just our voices and our eyes, and the extension of those two senses through multiple agents in the digital domain. Activities like texting-while-driving become a thing of the past. The extension of our capabilities through the ether represents us the way we want to be represented, and we have the potential to gain back some of the amputations brought on by the current explosion of social media, such as expression, intonation, and many of the nuances of meta-data that can’t be adequately conveyed through letters, numbers, and emoticons on a 2-dimensional screen. That said, one of the amputations we get is a further separation of the personal self from relationships that deal with the “agent” self. We may have stored most of our intonations and expressions in Timmi, but Timmi can never really convey that reaction of surprise, of wonder, of deep sorrow, or empathy.
In my estimation, the chances of getting this innovaton to market are good, since most of the constituent piece parts already exist. For instance, the technology to push and pull information to and from devices exists with our ability to "bump" mobile phones and exchange contact information. We can also push information to our list of “friends” via a Twitter or Facebook posting. Likewise, the technology exists today to render a 3D hologram from a series of multi-view 2-dimensional pictures or diagrams. Agent software is in use today where a software proxy for the user is available to retrieve or display information without the active, synchronous participation of the user. As well, text-to-speech and speech-to-text software algorithms are in use today in a variety of applications. Heads-up displays have been used in military applications for a number of years and are just beginning to be seen in commercial applications – not the least of which are automobile windshields displaying dashboard metrics for the driver. What is required? The computational capabilities at the device level (cell phone, touch pad, laptop, etc.) – and according to Moore’s Law*, that problem is very soon solved.
As a media psychologist, there is a plethora of opportunities available in the space of convergent media technologies. Basic questions of affectation need to be answered in areas such as: education, productivity and the workplace, marketing and advertising, social behavior,  relationships, cognitive skills, and the story and story-teller in each of us. Beyond these basic questions there lies a whole array of 2nd- and 3rd-order cause-and-effect questions. Perhaps the unintended consequence of Moore’s Law is that with the price-performance of computing quadrupling every 18 months, the psycho-social implications of computational capabilities do, as well.

*For those unfamiliar with Moore’s Law, in 1965, Gordon Moore, one of the co-founders of Intel, postulated that the capabilities of computation (processing speed, memory capacity, pixel density, etc.) would double every 18 months and that the cost of any given technology would halve every 18 months (due to manufacturing capabilities and scale, and integrated circuit efficiencies). Doing the math, “two divided by one half”, the notion of a quadrupling of the price-performance of computation every 18 months was described by Moore in his 1965 paper, Cramming more components onto integrated circuits.
Isbout, Jean-Pierre; Ohler, Jason (2011).  From Aristotle to augmented reality. The Oxford Handbook of Media Psychology, (Karen Dill, Ed.).
Moore's Law, retrieved from's_law

Ohler, Jason (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. California, US. Corwin.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Citizenship in Digital Communities

According to Ohler (2010), “citizenship arises when people gather in groups and inevitably ask the question, “what does it mean to belong here?””  This concept implies an active participation in the group or community. It applies to the physical domain (legal and geographic), to the cultural/social domain (ethnic, belief, common interest), and the electronic (digital) domain. Although not universally true, the social, cultural, and electronic domains are more alike in that people generally choose to be part of a group, either to help define the “what does it mean?”, or because the group appears to have an interesting and compelling journey in answering the “what does it mean?”. The use of the metaphor of citizenship is interesting in the context of these different domains and raises an important question: Is citizenship a function of origin (birth), residence, or behavior (participation)? Further, the follow-on question is: Is it possible for me to be a resident of a community and not a citizen?

For example, we may choose to move into a community for reasons of proximity to schools, church, work, or other communities where friends or family live, and as such, we may not always stop to ask ourselves “what does it mean to belong here?”  Having lived in three different neighborhoods (each for more than a year), without ever knowing my next-door neighbors or those who lived across the street from me, I realize that just being resident in the neighborhood did not necessarily make me a citizen of that neighborhood. What I cared more about was my citizenship in the other communities that I cared about - schools, churches, work, etc. One could argue that I was a citizen, just not a good one. I think it’s possible to be a “resident” without really being a citizen. In this sense, part of the definition of “citizen” must be linked to behavior:  the notion of being actively involved and engaged in answering the question, “what does it mean to belong here?”
Being a resident without being a citizen in any community denotes a sense of isolation. This isolation is lamented by writers such as Naomi Stephan and Patrick Overton.  After the great migration from the farms to the cities in the early days of industrialization, the front porch was where community was built. It was there where stories were shared, values were taught, and citizenship was modeled. But the proliferation of the automobile brought the disappearance of the front porch from the American landscape. Communities were no longer confined to the immediate geography. Mobility brought to us the wonderful opportunity to redefine our community to include those to whom we could drive (and exclude that pesky neighbor whose politics we never agreed with in the first place). 
As the front porch disappeared, our sense of isolation within our own neighborhoods began to rise. Wilkerson, et al (2011) ask an important question about the correlation of “neighborliness” – citizenship – and a “positive physical environment”, including front porches. Ohler (2010) writes about citizenship requiring virtuous behavior, and that our educational processes ought to teach that behavior to digital citizens. There is a very real need to educate both digital immigrants and digital citizens on the need for participation and virtuous behavior in these new digital communities. In essence, we need to take the “front porch” to the digital domain. There needs to be a place (virtual or otherwise) where the transfer of values can take place. In a society where isolation (i.e. being a resident without really being a citizen) has become a growing problem, there is a very interesting question to be answered relative to our digital communities. The question, however, is this: If people have never learned the meaning of citizenship (i.e., participation and virtue) in the physical domain, will they be able to learn and adapt those principles to the digital world? Certainly, the value of face-to-face encounter in the physical domain must be in the teaching (and learning) of responsible, respectful encounter and virtuous participation. Without a paradigm to transfer into the digital world, are these concepts too easily left behind by the unprincipled?
The shift into digital domain changed the nature of our communities in at least nine ways (six "gains" and three "losses"). First, we can be even more selective about our communities. It’s no longer necessary to put up with Aunt Edna at the family reunions just to see our favorite uncle. Now we select our “family friends” on Facebook. Alternatively, we can exclude Aunt Edna from our e-mail distribution list. We only belong to the circles that have the people we want to be “around” in the virtual sense. And if our circle gets too many people who get under our skin, we can just go start a new circle and “forget” to invite them to come along.
Second, by choosing to become a citizen of any community – including our digital communities – we gain the collective embrace and support of the citizens of that community. In addition, we explicitly or implicitly pledge our support of the greater good and adherence to the unspoken rule of order, whatever that may be. Conflicts always arise, however, that test our commitment to the community. The conflict comes when the resolution to a problem has two potential paths forward – one that benefits ourselves but not our community, or one that benefits the greater good of the community in which we live, but not ourselves. So in a sense, we may be forced to become “less of an individual” or “less of a citizen”. It’s a tough choice, and the ramifications to answering this question may not always be obvious.
The third change in nature is the loss of synchronicity. It’s no longer necessary to be there in real time. It only matters that you get around to communicating and responding in a time frame that doesn’t scream “I don’t want to hear from you again!” Loss of synchronicity doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In a world where people are managing multiple digital communities (generally while sitting through a lecture or dinner with the family!), precious little time is given to the art of critical thinking.  The world of “asynchronicity” (not a word, I know) brings the ability to actually think before responding to something or someone – of course, whether we use that ability is something entirely different. But we can be thoughtful, measured, and rational in our approach to communicating. No more “Ready! Fire! Aim!” like so often happens in our speech (at least I’ll speak for myself).
Fourth, we gain the opportunity to transform the way we think of ourselves and therefore the way people perceive us. If we want to be someone slightly different (or even radically different, for that matter!), than who we really are, we have the opportunity to do that. This however, has a disadvantage, because we can lose our ability to have physical encounter with folks, afraid that our physical self won’t match the expectation we’ve set with our digital self.
Fifth, by shifting into the digital domain, we gain by the ability to weave our social and community interaction into our day. Instead of having “dead spots” in our day – unredeemed time waiting in lines, or for the bus, train, or doctor – we’re on-line communicating. This asynchronous communication allows us to manage several communities at one time. In traditional, physical communities, we had to choose between being present at our cousin's birthday party or our best friend's bar mitzvah.
Sixth, we gain access to communities that we could never access before. If Fielding Graduate University didn’t employ the digital domain in its distributed learning model, many of us would never be able to participate in its graduate programs. We couldn’t all move to Santa Barbara, and the cost to commute is too high. Additionally, FGU probably wouldn't have the faculty they have if there was a requirement for everyone to be a citizen of Santa Barbara. But access has a broader, cultural context, as well. We can even reach outside of our culture and invoke cross-cultural experience without having to travel to exotic places and eat things we’re really not interested in eating.
In return for all those gains, or in McLuhan’s terms, “extensions”, we get “amputations” or losses. In the “always-on” digital world, we stay so busy that we lose valuable reflection time. This isn’t necessarily the same as a thoughtful response to someone. This is a crucial part of our critical thinking processes where we question, apply concepts, check our biases, and play things out to their logical conclusions. The result of this behavior (always-on) could very well be a generation of kids who cannot think critically.
The second loss what Ohler (2010) refers to as the loss of meta-information.  Voice inflections, expressions, and perhaps even context. With this loss of meta-information, too much is left to the interpretation of the reader. If the reader is dealing with a personal emotional injury in their life, odds are pretty good that they will interpret messages in that context. What the writer could have meant as a funny note or response could easily be taken as an insult by the reader without that meta-information.
Third, in the digital world, we can lose touch with the physical world. This may not be tantamount to losing touch with reality, but it’s only one step away.  If we lose connectivity with the physical world, we lose face-to-face encounter. Many of our cognitive processes are initiated by our sight. We see faces, body language, beauty, destruction, and a host of other things that aren’t always available in the digital world. But perhaps the amputation that will affect us the most is the loss of touch. Sometimes, there is nothing more communicative, more calming, more comforting, or more affirming, than the touch of another human being. Of all the senses we’re blessed to have, I believe the sense of touch has its greatest impact on our cognitive processes.
As we shift into our digital communities, we need to be mindful of these gains and losses, so that we can maximize the good and minimize the bad of taking up citizenship in the virtual world of the ether. I believe our work as media psychologists may be twofold. First we have a unique position as advisors and counselors to educational institutions and in educational processes.  The need to educate on what it really means to be a responsible citizen is probably never higher than right now – at the very front end of the explosion in digital communities.  Plato said “if you ask what is the good of education, the answer is easy: that education makes good men and that good men act nobly”.  We need to raise a generation of digital citizens who will act nobly. Second is to help citizens understand the implications and the 2nd and 3rd order effects of the tough choices between community promotion and individual promotion.  The ramifications could very well determine how long the digital domain remains a collection of civilized communities.

Cook, Scott (n.d.). The evolution of the Ameerican front porch. Retrieved on 10/4/12 from
Ohler, Jason (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. Thousand Oaks, CA. Corwin
Overton, Patrick (1997). Rebuilding the front porch of America: Essays on the art of community making. PrairieSea.
Stephan, Naomi. Reflections on reflection: or whatever happened to the front porch?  Retrieved on 10/4/12 from
Wilkerson, A., Carlson, N., Yen, I., Michael, Y., (2011). Relationships with neighbors; Does positive physical environment increase neighborliness? Environment and Behavior, 44 (5). DOI: 10.1177/0013916511402058 
McLuhan, Marshall (1964). Understanding media: The extensions of man. Critical Edition, Terence Gordon (Ed.). Berkeley, CA. Gingko Press, Inc.
Martin, Judith (2012). Miss Manners on sentiments in the digital age. Retrieved on 10/7/12 from: