Here comes everybody

here comes everybody

by Clay Shirky is an “examination of how the wildfire-like spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exist within them, with profound long-term economic and social effects-for good and for ill”

It’s about how the tools of the web enable people to organize without formality, but doesn’t stop there but includes ideas about how organizations might use community tools like social software to build stronger customer relations, communities of practice and more

Some take-aways, all highlighting by me:

You can think of group undertaking as a kind of ladder of activities, activities that are enabled or improved by social tools. The rungs on the ladder, in order of difficulty, are sharing, cooperation, and collective action

Hmm, ladders everywhere – nice metaphor but somehow flawed: We don’t leave the rungs when we step up, we just build upon them.

Anyway, looks interesting. Check out the mp3 of a discussion with Brian Eno and Clay Shirky (there are also some video snippets). Here’s the blurb of this recent evening at ICA:

Everywhere we look, it seems, companies and organisations are trying to harness the alleged wisdom of crowds – the power of groups of people to come together through the internet and share with one another, work together, or take some kind of collective public action. One of the world’s leading experts on social and technological networking, Clay Shirky, Professor in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University and the author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organising without Organisations, comes to the ICA to talk about how the idea of networks, and particularly online social networks, is changing everything around us.

Experientia has collected more stuff:

Book site
Review by Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing
Review by Helen Walters and Matt Vella in Business Week
Interview with author by The Guardian newspaper

There’s another interview with him, conducted by Jon Lebkowsky at the World Changing site, talking about different media uses and preferences of people:

[Shirky:] Here is my hypothesis: that one of the things that people create some kind of really deep mental model for is modes of communication. People my age and older have a very good sense of when to call someone on the phone, and when to send them a personal letter, and when to go see them. But we don’t have such a good sense of when to email them, or IM them, or Twitter or what have you, because all of that stuff was invented after we had already solidified our sense of the media landscape. All of those things are still new.

And here’s a video of Clay Shirky discussing HCE, found at the Berkman Center, uploaded by Robert to Sevenload for easy embedding:

And there’s also David Weinberger who was live blogging Shirky’s book presentation at Harvard, extracting the key points about group forming, collaboration and the effects of social software:

[…] Now we’re seeing a set of tools that make it easier to create large groups: Ridiculously easy group forming. E.g., email unexpectedly became the dominant service used on the original Internet. That was because of the “reply all” button, a social feature.

But there’s been an enormous social lag. This tech has not transformed society as rapidly as it might. That’s because groups are innately conservative. No one wants a protocol that shuts out group members. It needed to become ubiquitous and boring. That’s when the social effects become interesting.

Well, yes, while we’re not there yet we’ll be there in no time. Now back to Twittering.

  1. […] take note of my post at bmid on Clay Shirky’s new book (”Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organising […]

  2. Thanks for the mention. I hope you enjoy the subscription.

    Mary Abraham

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