Howard Rheingold (born July 7, 1947) is a critic, writer, and teacher; his specialties are on the cultural, social and political implications of modern communication media such as the Internet, mobile telephony and virtual communities (a term he is credited with inventing).
Rheingold was born in Phoenix, Arizona. He attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, from 1964 to 1968. His senior thesis was entitled "What Life Can Compare with This? Sitting Alone at the Window, I Watch the Flowers Bloom, the Leaves Fall, the Seasons Come and Go."
A lifelong fascination with mind augmentation and its methods led Rheingold to the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Xerox PARC. There he worked on and wrote about the earliest personal computers. This led to his writing Tools for Thought in 1985, a history of the people behind the personal computer. Around that time he first logged on to The WELL – an influential early online community. He explored the experience in his seminal book, The Virtual Community.
Also in 1985, Rheingold coauthored Out of the Inner Circle: A Hacker's Guide to Computer Security with former hacker Bill Landreth. In 1991, he published Virtual Reality: Exploring the Brave New Technologies of Artificial Experience and Interactive Worlds from Cyberspace to Teledildonics...
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