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Clay Shirky, the noted tech writer and consultant (and professor at NYU) has a new book about the Internet entitled Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.

Clay Shirky(Photo courtesy of Mike Champion)
The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School has posted a video of Mr. Shirky talking about the main point of his book: that the transformative nature of the internet is NOT that it allows people to communicate faster or send more information... instead, it is the fact that the Internet makes group action much easier. And that this fundamentally changes society. It sounds simple, but as he explains it, he really gets across the revolutionary nature of these tools. I've been using the internet for 14 years now. I'm at the point where the Web tools I use are ordinary and on quick path to invisible and ubiquitous. Nice to hear from someone that reminds me just how amazing these tools are.

I thought it would be apropos here at the Ning site to remind us not only of what this site means, but where it comes from, and the potential for where it can go.

High speed bandwidth recommended. 42 Minutes long. (You can watch online, download the 121 MB video, or the 29 MB mp3 file).

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/interactive/events/2008/02/shirky

Lower bandwidth version at YouTube here.

There's some audio trouble in the first one minute. Hang in there. It gets fixed.

Tags: Web2.0, collaboration, internet, lecture, video, web

Views: 49

Replies to This Discussion

Looks good - I'm gonna have to get me a copy of his book - hopefully through the library system.

Thanks for the lead...
Watched, great information, and why we, as storytellers, are on the web and what we, as storyteller, can do. Now, just to find out how? Feels like I'm back teaching art, 1986, and the new Macs arrived in classroom. The children learned to sign into the machine onto their pages and can write or draw whatever they can. They push keyboard buttons here and there and clinking here and there with the arrow to make this and that <-~-> and they learned how to use the computers, writing poems and make art. These experimenting artists were my teachers. So here I go again, pushing and looking at this and that --- !
Thanks, Tim.
Just finished reading the book.

Highly recommended!

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
Clay Shirky
Penguin Press HC, The (February 28, 2008)

Shirky here focuses on human behavior: how the Web changes the way we consume, the way we interact socially, economically, politically. And he's got some great stories. Whether you are a technophobe or a technophile, Shirky's stories about various social software resources (social software = web software that lets you do things (as opposed to a static web site) have real world implications. From Howard Dean's presidential campaign to political dissent in Belarus to the social relationships that Wikipedia requires... this is an eye-opening look at how our society is being changed.
Not changed by becoming addicted to the internet... changed by having disruptive technologies knock down businesses and institutions (from newspapers to the music distribution industry to encyclopedias to Microsoft)... because the tools out there are changing behavior.
Now, if it's been a while since you've been in a social science class, his description of power law distributions, small world networks, and social capital might be a tad dense, BUT hang in there. Shirky's stories to illustrate the point are always clear and fascinating glimpses in how extraordinary the time we are living in is.
Or, as Stewart Brand put it: "Clear thinking and good writing about big changes."

Will these social tools that Shirky analyzes change storytelling?
No.
They will, however, change: schools, media consumption, media distribution, revenue models for performing artists, national and regional organizations, conferences, publishing, and how people will spend their free time.

(Sadly, the book didn't have the one think I hoped it would: a step-by-step recipe for creating a brilliant and useful social tool.
Shirky breaks down the successes into three main ingredients, which is helpful, but he points out that you absolutely need all three to work AND that there is no way to predict if it will... because of the complexity of not only the tool but of social interaction. Humans are just too darn complicated.)

Still, if you are interested in the future --not the future of flying cars and jet packs-- but of how something like the Web is upending our notions of how we do business, how we organize collectively... this is an absolute must read.
New video of Shirky's ideas on TED:


If you can't see the embedded video, or want to see it larger, or in high-res, go to the TED site directly:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/clay_shirky_on_institutions_vers...

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