Howard Rheingold appears to cherish individuality -- and color. The lid of his MacBook Pro is slathered with stickers. He was sporting a bright green and purple shirt today. He paints -- yes, paints -- his shoes, which today quite logically had canvas tops.
Rheingold teaches at Stanford and Berkeley and is the author of Social Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, which traces the use of technology to communicate and coordinate human activities. When he noticed Finnish teens sharing smiles and quick looks at a cell phone that belonged to one of them, he asked an adult that had been visiting with the teens about it. The man replied, "Kids today flock like birds." Rheingold traced the development and history of social behavior and communication, which he maintains began when non-related people started hunting together in prehistoric times. He offered several inspirational examples of how people around the world have collaborated for good using the web as a medium.
Most interesting to me was Rheingold's brief description of his brand-new project, the Howard Rheingold Social Media Classroom Notebook. He mentioned a site, Socialtext, which provides information and directions for using different social media, including blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, podcasting, video blogging, chat, digital storytelling, RSS, and mashups, in the classroom to promote "participatory media literacy."
Click here to listen to the podcast of this morning's keynote presentation.
I also located this blip.tv video Rheingold created to introduce his Social Media Classroom project.