For someone who likes to talk about the virtues of disconnecting, the media critic Douglas Rushkoff seems surprisingly always on. When I visited him at his storefront office near his home in Hastings on Hudson, New York, he was preparing to teach a new class, getting ready for a BBC interview, writing an essay, staring down a pile of articles to read, trying to figure out his new iPhone, and hurrying to finish his third book in three years – a graphic novel called ADD, which revolves around gaming culture, celebrity, and the pharmaceutical industry. “It also asks the question,” he says, “what if attention deficit disorder weren’t a bug, but a feature?”
The hyper-speed hyperlinked life is familiar ground for Rushkoff, whose first book, Cyberia, made him a popular tour guide to the internet in the early 1990s and an early prognosticator of its radical potential. But much has changed between the awkward days of “the ’Net” – then a non-commercial collection of public networks, accessed by local ISPs – and the overloaded era of Facebook, YouTube, and iPhones. If Rushkoff is well versed in the language underneath the “digital revolution,” he’s also become one of its most outspoken critics.