Monday, January 21, 2013

Aaron Swartz: Raw thoughts

I'm sure most of you have heard of Aaron Swartz.  I have known his existence from news, but only found out about his writing after his untimely passing.  After going through random samples of his work, I can now see how much we as society have lost by not having him around any more.

He started blogging as early as 2004.  (I read that he started publishing earlier from Wikipedia, but couldn't find the links from his website.)  His writings are found from his website.

He wrote about many topics covering startup, productivity, education and information sharing.  Here are a few samples that I found interesting:

He saw that Internet has fundamentally changed the way mass media network is working.  In the following video, he talks about how blogs and social media have completely changed how media is created and consumed.  Internet has leveled the playing field for mass media conglomerates and individual citizens, and it is disrupting the old mass media model.

Swartz was also socially active.  He firmly believed that he had an obligation to change the social structure because he saw how unjust and unnatural social structure was.  Many people were perpetuating the status quo because they were either benefiting by being complacent or felt powerless to act.

We have lost a great person.  I feel that the world is a poorer place without Aaron Swartz's presence.

"Aaron’s unique quality was that he was marvelously and vigorously different.  There is a scarcity of that.  Perhaps we can be all a little more different too."
- Edward Tufte

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