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There's a revolution going on, as ever-accelerating developments in digital information technologies change nearly every aspect of how we live, work, play, do business, and engage in politics. Share and share alike—the numbers say it all as billions of people worldwide flock to online media and use social networks to discover and spread news and information.

In the process, ever-growing networks of "ordinary people" are using these powerful new tools to trim the influence long held by Big Business, Big Government, and Big Media. No longer just passive recipients, participants in social networks now regularly make and break news while organizing civic and political actions that bypass censors, outpace traditional media, attract massive audiences, and influence the rise and fall of brands, industries, politicians, and even governments.

In this insider's look at how social media are transforming our world, Rory O'Connor explains the trends and explores what tech visionaries, media makers, political advisers, and businesspeople are saying about the meteoric rise of the various social networks of friends and followers, and what they bode for our future.

"Rory O'Connor is one of the smartest media guys around. He knows who's spinning, who's pandering, and who's putting money in his own pocket at the expense of logic, reason, and the public good."—Michael Wolff, Vanity Fair media critic

Praise for Rory O'Connor's Friends, Followers and the Future:

"This is a timely book about a vital subject: How do we get information and is it reliable? With a 'cold eye,' author Rory O'Connor shows how traditional journalism cheapened its value by sabotaging its trust, and how the digital revolution wonderfully democratizes information yet often removes the journalistic curator, creating more noise, more ME and less WE news. If you want to understand the future of news, its opportunities and its pitfalls, read this book." -- Ken Auletta, author and New Yorker media writer

"Anyone who cares about the impact of the digital information revolution on democracy and culture can't afford to miss FRIENDS, FOLLOWERS AND THE FUTURE -- a story that moves as swiftly as the dizzying pace of change itself. Rory O'Connor combines journalistic integrity with a passionate belief in the power of ordinary people to change the world. Depending on your stake in the outcome, you will find this book inspiring, scary, or perhaps a bit of both." -- Andrew Heyward, Former President of CBS News

"This book is a comprehensive, up-to-date, and fair-minded survey of how social media are conveying -- and perhaps transforming -- what we want to know." -- Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education and author, most recently, of Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed

"With laser-like accuracy Rory O'Connor spotlights the key challenges and opportunities in the world of news and information, where technology has upended the old rules of how media is created and consumed. O'Connor's wise, savvy Friends, Followers and the Future is an essential examination of how social media is transforming the lives of individuals and society at large. Read it and share it." -- J. Max Robins, Vice President/Executive Director, The Paley Center for Media

"Before Rory O'Connor writes, he researches, ask questions, and asks them again before calling the the insiders who are the targets of his inquiry. He is persistent, even relentless, as a hard-charging reporter, which is why his blogs, columns and this new book Friends, Followers and the Future: How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands, And Killing Traditional Media (City Lights, 2012) leaves you questioning your own assumptions and often superficial take on the issue at hand. Personally, he is a refugee from old media and as a multi-media man (films, books, blogs, websites, etc) , an early adopter to the new. But he didn't stop there: he is a practitioner who wants to know where all this is headed and how the digital innovators and entrepreneurs think about what they do. This is a book in the know with ideas that we will all need to know as we navigate our personal and collective futures." -- Danny Schechter, News