Untangling the Web, Paperback Book

Untangling the Web Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


The World Wide Web is the most revolutionary innovation of our time.

In the last decade, it has utterly transformed our lives.

But what real effects is it having on our social world?

What does it mean to be a modern family when dinner table conversations take place over smartphones?

What happens to privacy when we readily share our personal lives with friends and corporations?

Are our Facebook updates and Twitterings inspiring revolution or are they just a symptom of our global narcissism?

What counts as celebrity, when everyone can have a following or be a paparazzo? And what happens to relationships when love, sex and hate can be mediated by a computer?

Social psychologist Aleks Krotoski has spent a decade untangling the effects of the Web on how we work, live and play.

In this groundbreaking book, she uncovers how much humanity has - and hasn't - changed because of our increasingly co-dependent relationship with the computer.

In Untangling the Web, she tells the story of how the network became woven in our lives, and what it means to be alive in the age of the Internet.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Cultural studies
  • ISBN: 9780571303663

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

As a note of disclosure, Aleks is my friend and so my thoughts on the book will obviously have some bias in them. I'd like to say otherwise, but that simply wouldn't be true. That said:<br/><br/>As a long-time technophile, I experienced two reactions while reading the book: I wasn't surprised by the findings, but I found the book at its most compelling when Aleks explored the science behind what I "believed" I already knew. That's a deft writing trick, writing for a general audience while introducing enough geeky science to keep me interested.<br/><br/>If I was describing its audience for this book, I'd say this was for people who were interested in the Web and concerned about what it was doing to us because of the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that appears so often in Big Media writing. I'd happily give this to my mom on Friday, and expect that she'd have read it by Sunday night. (I say that as my mother is a voracious reader, and is interested in why things are the way they are.)<br/><br/>The book is a series of essays that deconstruct the concerns people express about technology in general and the Web in specific. It's divided into four parts -- Untangling Me, Untangling Us, Untangling Society, and Untangling the Future -- each of which explores individual ideas that you've heard people discuss. Without pandering or writing down to the reader, Aleks weaves short, personal anecdotes with social science to explore the what we know and what we don't know about the Web. <br/><br/>When I wrote for Wired many years ago, I often found myself debating with those who felt technology was bringing ruin to our society. As such, I found the "Untangling Us" section, which includes essays on sex, kids on the Internet, friends in social networks, dating, and hate groups, the most compelling. Aleks approaches each with an even hand, exploring the issues in great depth but always with an eye on the practical experience of the reader.<br/><br/>That narrative approach is not an easy task. Writers such as Malcolm Gladwell have sacrificed the science for narrative, painting pictures that don't mesh with what we know. Aleks is a trained scientist and a writer, though, and her knowledge of both the science and the narrative structures are apparent. The writing is lively and thought-provoking.<br/><br/>If you're interesting in understanding why you feel the way you do about the Web and its social nature, pick up Untangling the Web. You'll understand the digital world around you just a little bit better.

Review by

It is always challenging to try to understand controversial phenomena when living in their midst. Krotoski convincingly argues that technology doesn't really change us, rather we adapt it to our purpose. Humans are hardly passive subjects. And she suggests rather than asking what the web does to us the more productive question likely is 'what does our use of the web say about us, and what does it mean'. A balanced, well-reasoned book... accessible social science.

Review by

Lively, interesting, easy to read style.<br/>Cuts through the alarmist opinions and gets down to surveyed facts.<br/><br/>She ends with ...<br/>'Rather than asking , "What is the web doing to us?" as individuals, as communities and as a society ... We should be asking two other questions:<br/>"What does what we're doing online say about us?" and "What does it mean?"'

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