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Download And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample And Then Theres This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture Audiobook, by Bill Wasik
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (154 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bill Wasik Narrator: Bill Wasik Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2009 ISBN:
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An entertaining and eye-opening look into the new frontier of idea making - breaking news, fresh gossip, tiny scandals, trumped up crises - every day we are distracted by a culture that rings our doorbell and then runs away. Stories spread wildly and die out in mere days, quickly replaced by more stories with ever shorter shelflives. How we participate in these stories has changed, too. No longer do we sit on the sidelines waiting for monolithic media giants to tell us what's happening. Anyone on a computer in his or her local Starbucks can spread a story almost as easily as The New York Times, CNN, or People - in fact blogs are now often the source for journalists working in big media.

And Then There's This is Bill Wasik's journey along the unexplored frontier of our churning and rambunctious viral culture. Covering this world - watching new bands promote themselves at South by Southwest; reporting on a website contest while secretly entering it; and creating a site that aggregates all blog smears against the presidential primary candidates - he ends up conducting six experiments himself. He doesn't always get the results he expected, but along the way he meets a cast of characters who are capable of getting their information into our brains - and they're not who you think.

And Then There's This reveals how our culture is now created from the ground up. Wasik proves that any one of us can cause a small ripple that can turn into a tsunami. Anyone involved in journalism, business, or information technology - and those who want to be - must read this book. And for the rest, Wasik's tour is great, eye-opening fun. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Heather Denkmire | 2/17/2014

    " I can't stand giving up on books, but sometimes it doesn't feel like a struggle. I read a review of this somewhere that suggested maybe the problem with the book is the subject matter (elusive, fast moving, insubstantial) not the book itself. In any case, I had to mark this "read" to get it off my "to read" or "currently reading" list but have marked it "given up," also. Meh. It felt too much like a waste of time. There's probably irony in here somewhere but I'm not sure where to find it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick | 2/6/2014

    " Ten years ago I read Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, and it forever changed how I watch (or rather, now, don't watch) television. Bill Wasik's And Then There's This, while not as groundbreaking for me as Postman's book, nonetheless is an insightful follow-up for those now living in the age of the internet (Postman wrote in 1985). Wasik shows how the internet encourages us to trivialize ourselves to death, and provides a fairly interesting account of how that occurs. The book could have been better, but I appreciate anything that spurs me on to think more carefully about any major aspect of my life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ihancock | 1/2/2014

    " As I read this book I often had moments of reflection, interest, confusion, skepticism; in fact, I felt pulled in many different directions. This is, I guess, to be expected when the book describes itself as part memoir, part field report, part manifesto, and part deconstruction of a decade. I found the book initially to get into for this very reason. However, as the book went on, either I became more acclimatized to the editing and writing style or the book became clearer at defending its thesis. I am not sure that I agreed with the authors assertion that the rise of memes coincides with the rise of boredom and or the increasing "multitasking" brain. I more think that it is a symptom of a society that has learned that it can have a voice and that sometimes this voice gives rise to someone that others want to seek out and connect with. This used to be the realm of professionals but more than ever it is amateurs who seek each other out and confer this status on each other. This is more than boredom. It is people who want to bask in popularity; want to go for that moment of fame which is altogether more possible in the internet world. However, there were many moments I did agree with including the rapid rise and fall of stories or websites as people find the "next big thing" then move on as the site becomes crowded and no longer new. I think one of the challenges for storymakers and website developers (and one that I think Facebook is facing right now) is how to not only keep things new but also how to keep the initial flood of people who signed on at the beginning and excitedly "helped" the website or story gain importance/mature. I myself know this feeling as someone who has excitedly been involved in a website ad it began and am now feeling like my contributions are being lost as the site grows in users. Selfish? Maybe but when new web 2.0 sites look to initial users and connect with them as a way to grow their site some thought has to be placed onthis concept I think. I also agreed with the author about the need to reach out beyond what we feel agrees with our opinions. The Internet has made this far to easy but it will be a challenge to overcome for precisely the reasons given by the author. All in all, a good book; interesting anecdotes, difficult to get into to start with but easier if you stay with it. As with most of these books I also would not purchase it. Will it stay relevant as time goes? Maybe, maybe not. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jordan | 12/30/2013

    " Nicely written, and really interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ron | 12/29/2013

    " Although I found the concept of the "nanostory" -- the item of cultural notoreity which spreads quickly across the Internet and then fades into obscurity -- interesting, I wasn't as engaged by Wasik's perspective "from the frontlines." After creating the original flash mob, most of the projects he describes feel like they boil down to "let's create the most annoying thing we can create on the internet and see if we can get anybody to pay attention to it." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christian Dumais | 12/22/2013

    " Not a bad book. Not as in-depth as I was hoping it was going to be. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dominic Bellavance | 11/16/2013

    " Interesting concepts, but not particularly well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 11/9/2013

    " Remember flash mobs? Bill Wasik invented the flash mob, and in this book he details the rise of online memes and viral culture. Interesting subject and very well written, though more than I wanted to read on the topic [ full review ] "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alex Whalen | 11/1/2013

    " Really entertaining Gladwell-esque study of how cultural events go viral. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi Bumpus | 8/13/2013

    " I'd actually have given this 3.5 stars if it were an option. Book started off dry but really sucked me in about the third chapter. Weird to remember Facebook really blew up after it was written; no mention, whereas a very short time later it would have been a prevalent part of the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joey Hoggard | 12/5/2012

    " Fascinating examination of the nanostories that bombard us in our viral culture driven by the speed and easy reach of the internet. Bill Wasik's social experiments are amusing and thought-provoking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jesselyn | 10/10/2012

    " I'm torn on this book - while I enjoyed the stories and the writing style (which reminded me of Chuck Klosterman), the book felt fragmented and not cohesive as a whole. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 9/1/2012

    " This book sounded fascinating (It's a fascinating topic) but I found it somewhat interesting. It was informative, but didn't "wow" me in any way. There was nothing really objectionable, or with which a disagreed; it just didn't "wow" me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 6/30/2012

    " great discussion of viral Internet culture. I learned a lot about the beginnings of the viral movement that I was totally unfamiliar with. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan Corbett | 2/15/2012

    " The authors overly stylized language in relation to the topics that he is discussing make most of his points laughable. Not to mention his outright arrogance in which he seems to insert himself unnecessarily throughout the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marti | 12/16/2011

    " While some of the sites discussed in this book are dated by this point, the general point still stands. The third section on the Internet and politics is particularly interesting in an election year. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan and Amy | 10/28/2011

    " The sections on the less successful viral projects were a little slow at times which perhaps reflects one of the main points of the author (are stories about successful nanostories inherently more interesting than those about unsuccessful nanostories). Liked the overall analysis and conclusion "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kris | 10/20/2011

    " Interesting in an obnoxious way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 9/23/2011

    " Fascinating tales and lessons of viral culture from the man who invented flashmobs. To be featured in The Beachwood Reporter this week. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matt | 7/9/2011

    " this worked better as magazine articles "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jerry | 3/8/2011

    " A good look at the phenom, with Wasik involving himself...but really just a beginning of figuring out what the internet doing to distraction and attention spans. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darin Stewart | 2/14/2011

    " I had high hopes for this book, but it just didn't engage me at all. Rather than an analysis of how memes birth, live and die on the internet, it is more a chronicle of Wasik's adventures and pranks online. The anecdotes of flashmobs and the like are entertaining but not particularly informative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 12/2/2010

    " great discussion of viral Internet culture. I learned a lot about the beginnings of the viral movement that I was totally unfamiliar with. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 9/23/2010

    " This book sounded fascinating (It's a fascinating topic) but I found it somewhat interesting. It was informative, but didn't "wow" me in any way. There was nothing really objectionable, or with which a disagreed; it just didn't "wow" me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dominic | 8/5/2010

    " Interesting concepts, but not particularly well written. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matt | 4/21/2010

    " this worked better as magazine articles "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christian | 9/4/2009

    " Not a bad book. Not as in-depth as I was hoping it was going to be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joey | 8/4/2009

    " Fascinating examination of the nanostories that bombard us in our viral culture driven by the speed and easy reach of the internet. Bill Wasik's social experiments are amusing and thought-provoking. "

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About the Author
Author Bill Wasik

Bill Wasik is a senior editor at Wired magazine and was formerly a senior editor at Harper’s. He writes on culture, media, and politics.