From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

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Notes on the Portable Kit

43Folders brought to my attention the Burdens of the Modern Beast, a Washington Post article on how today's networked individual (43Folders suggests we might call them urban crap wranglers) is carrying more and more stuff around with them. This article has personal resonance this week: as I've been working simultaneously on my lecture on Philip Johnson at Yale as well as my Network City, and Networked Publics work, I've found myself carrying not just my laptop bag, but a giant orange Patagonia bag filled with books. With the lecture at least temporarily under control, I suppose I can focus and just carry a book or two with me. But still, as this flickr tag set (this one too) shows, we have this insatiable desire to take stuff with us. The most interesting observation in the Post article is from cultural historian Thomas Hine, who suggests that this proliferation of items in our personal kit reflects “the tendency of our society to dispense with sources of shared stability -- the long-term job, neighborhoods, unions, family dinners -- and transform us into autonomous free agents.


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