Reagle, at times both anthropologist and archaeologist of the web’s comments, has dug deep beneath the layers of the world’s most visited websites. The result of this work is Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web, published this spring by MIT Press.
In this month’s Alumni Books Podcast, Reagle explains why he undertook such an ambitious dig.
“I had written a book about Wikipedia…but I found a couple of comments [that were] 1-star. I found that experience odd and a little bit difficult. As I’ve continued to use the web, I find a lot of things online that are difficult, and some very difficult.”
“I characterize this book as an expedition to the bottom of the web,” says Reagle. “I think there are things that perplex us about the bottom of the web, and I think there’s things we can learn about ourselves and how people are seeking to take advantage of us.”
Listen to the complete interview with Reagle here. Listen to past books podcasts with novelists, professors, and entrepreneurs by visiting MITAA on Soundcloud. Have a good book to recommend, written either by you or a classmate? Tell us about it.