Why did you feel there was a need to teach people "how to thrive online"? I'm playing devils advocate here for a minute but are not many already online and thus thriving?
The Web is full of great information and not so great information. There's a lot of venom and crap out there. With people texting while driving, Facebooking in class, doing medical research online and often using dangerous medical recommendations — the list is long — it is clear to me that a great many people don't know how to get the most out of the media that are available.
Can you talk about your decision to spend time writing about attention and mindfulness as part of this book? At first I was surprised you brought these topics up but then it made sense as you tied it together with all of our internet experiences. Put another way, what do attention and mindfullness have to do with Internet use?
I think we're all aware that always-on, everywhere-available media are challenging both the cognitive aspects of attention (e.g., research by Nass et. al. demonstrates that media multitasking degrades performance for 95% of the population) and social norms (Pew Internet and America Life survey reveals that one in six Americans admit to bumping into something or someone while texting and walking; Sherry Turkle warns about the damage of looking at your smartphone while your child is trying to talk with you; professors need to deal with students who are looking at their laptops in class). Entire books are being written about the distractions of social media. I don't believe media compel distraction, but I t hink it's clear that they afford it. The difference is how people manage our attention.
One of your more interesting chapters speaks about the importance of having good crap detectors when online and you do a great job explaining how to go about doing so. I agree crap detection is key. What's your sense for whether most people do indeed do crap detection already?
How many Americans believe the President of the United States was really born in Africa? How many people don't vaccinate their children, treat cancer and other serious diseases with quack cures they find online, check Snopes.com before passing along email with well-known urban legends and hoaxes? How many students copy and paste from Wikipedia and believe (as research I cite in the book has stated) that "if it's on Google, it must be good information?"
Can you talk about collaboration? You see it as important that people need to learn how to collaborate online, and list it as "one of the literacies that are in the process of changing our world." Why is collaboration so important?