Author Jeff Jarvis: There's 'incredible benefit from being public'

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PHOENIX -- Jeff Jarvis, a founding editor of Entertainment Weekly and author of the best-selling book "What Would Google Do?" is in town to sign copies of his new book at Arizona State University's Downtown campus.

His new book, "Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live," looks at how "our new sense of publicness via the Internet will change business, society, and life by shifting power from old institutions to us all."

Jarvis sat down with 3TV's Scott Pasmore to discuss the issues of privacy and publicness, to explain why we share things online and to advise people to be aware of what he calls "the Cabernet rule."

"There are 800 million people on Facebook." he said. "They're not all there 'cause they're stupid or drunk. They're there because they want to share with each other, want to connect with each other."

Developing technology has made it possible to share anything any time.

While privacy is important and something to be safeguarded, being public is good, too.

"On the Internet, we get incredible benefit from being public," Jarvis said, explaining how being public allows people and companies to connect and collaborate on a potentially huge scale. "This is an amazing era."

While being public is great for people, it's essential for companies.

"For an individual, you really have a choice in what to do," he said. "For a company, there's no choice. A company has to be online, it has to be social because that's how it's going to find its customers."

As important as it is to be public, there are times to stay away from the social media. That's where "the Cabernet rule" comes in.

"If you've had a few too many glasses of wine, it's best not to go online right then because you'll be a little bit too honest," Jarvis explained with a laugh.

Jarvis himself has been quite public about everything, including his prostate cancer. He says he has found "great value" in it and has gotten "great benefit back."

"People give me advice and support," he said. "I've met people around the world. I really enjoy being public"

There is, however, a line, and while there are some general common-sense guidelines, it's different for everyone.

"I have to be careful not to drag others into my glass house," he said. "My wife and my kids, they have their own decisions to make."

Jarvis, who teaches journalism in New York and blogs about media and news at BuzzMachine.com, will be speaking at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication today at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.changinghands.com/event/jarvis-jan12.