Shibuya Epiphany

My epiphany in Shibuya Crossing led me around the world, to observe street culture, visit development laboratories, seek out industry analysts and sociologists -- anybody who could help me make sense of the technosocial phenomena of smart mobs. In Tokyo, I interviewed teenagers who appropriated mobile texting technology and set off a world-wide industry and grassroots cultural transformation. I also talked with the people who steered NTT's DoCoMo to success in the mobile Internet business at the same time their formidable competitors in Europe and America foundered and failed to connect the mobile telephone's portability and popularity with the Internet's capabilities. In Helsinki, I saw how the cultural appropriations of teenagers had transformed the communication norms of the entire society, met futurists and social scientists who studied the future by looking at what people were doing in the streets today. In Stockholm, I rode around the city half the night with a car full of maniacally devoted gamers, engaged in a location-based virtual combat game involving automobiles, laptops and wireless Internet connections, and text messages to mobile telephones.