TODAY: Digital community builder Howard Rheingold to speak at CSUSB


Howard Rheingold, considered one of the most forward-thinking experts in the communication and digital communities, will speak at Cal State San Bernardino on Thursday, Oct. 18.

Rheingold, who is credited with coining the term “virtual communities,” will speak about being “Net Smart: How toThrive Online,” at 1 p.m. in the Obershaw Dining Room of the university’s Upper Commons.

Howard Rheingold

Howard Rheingold

The lecture, the first of the CSUSB Teaching Resource Center’s Digital Literacies series, is free and open to the public. Advance reservations are required, and may be made online at the Teaching Resource Center’s event website. Parking at CSUSB is $5 per vehicle.

“Howard Rheingold is not only a living legend – much of his personal history intersects with the history of online communities – but also one of the most perceptive thinkers of our time,” said Mihaela Popescu, CSUSB assistant professor of communication, and one of the organizers of the event.

“Where most educators would bemoan the influence of social media on their students’ attention span, Rheingold teaches us how the mindful use of these tools can make us more creative, more literate and more connected, for the benefit of all,” she said.

To underscore his influence, the TED Conference – the worldwide gatherings where ideas are shared – under the heading “Why you should listen to him,” said, “As Howard Rheingold himself puts it, ‘I fell into the computer realm from the typewriter dimension, then plugged my computer into my telephone and got sucked into the net.’ A writer and designer, he was among the first wave of creative thinkers who saw, in computers, and then in the Internet, a way to form powerful new communities.”


Click on the image to view a larger size of the poster.

Rheingold has written several books, including “The Virtual Community: Homesteading in the Electronic Frontier” (1993), “Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution” (2002) and his latest, “Net Smart: How to Thrive Online,” from which his presentation is taken. He was an editor for the Whole Earth Review and the editor-in-chief of the Millennium Whole Earth Catalog. He also lectures worldwide, including at the TED Conferences, as well serving as a visiting lecturer at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.

His presentation at CSUSB will focus on five fundamental digital literacies: attention, participation, collaboration, critical consumption of information (or more directly and politely, filtering out the garbage) and network smarts.

Rheingold will also describe the quality of participation that empowers the best of the bloggers, netizens, Tweeters and other online community participants; examine how online collaborative enterprises contribute new knowledge to the world in new ways; and present a lesson on networks and network building.

Later in the afternoon, he will lead a workshop for faculty and graduate students on using social media and online collaboration in the classroom.

Rheingold’s visit to CSUSB is part of the Digital Literacies workshop series organized by the Teaching Resource Center. This series brings together CSUSB faculty, noted digital literacy experts, students and the larger community in order to encourage an interdisciplinary, meaningful dialogue about affordable, effective and engaging educational solutions for a diverse student population.

The series is sponsored by CSUSB’s Teaching Resource Center, the Department of Communication Studies, the Learning Research Institute, the Office of Distributed Learning and the Pfau Library.

Visit Rheingold’s website for more information on the speaker.

For more information on the Oct. 18 event or the Digital Literacies series, contact Mihaela Popescu, assistant professor of communication, at or (909) 537-5862, or Kim Costino, director of the CSUSB Teaching Resource Center, at or (909) 537-7412.

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, call the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit