Zach ThompsonFeb. 1, 2011Engl 411
Clay Shirky’s ‘Here Comes Everybody’
Course discussion materials, chs. 1-6
“Groups have, until recently, largely been limited to meeting in the real world, and things you say in the real world areheard only by people you are talking to and only while you are talking to them. Online, by contrast, the default mode for many forms of communication is instant, global, and nearly permanent.” (89) Twitter chats seem to harken back to McNeely’s “thinking locally and acting globally.” (130)
Is a public record “fair and unusual punishment?”
“These communications tools have been given many names, all variations on a theme: ‘social software,’ ‘socialmedia,’ ‘social computing,’ and so on. Though there are some distinctions between these labels, the core idea is thesame: We are living in the middle of a remarkable increase in our ability to share, to cooperate with one another, and totake collective action, all outside the framework of traditional institutions and organizations.” (20, 21)
What are the weaknesses? How do we expect they’ll be overcome?
“Though many of these social tools were first adopted by computer scientists and workers in high-tech industries, theyhave spread beyond academic and corporate settings. The effects are going to be far more widespread and momentousthan just recovering lost phones. “By making it easier for groups to self-assemble and for individuals to contribute to group effort without requiring formalmanagement (and its attendant overhead), these tools have radically altered the old limits on the size, sophistication, andscope of unsupervised effort (the limits that created the institutional dilemma in the first place).” (21)
Iran, Tunisia and Egypt
“It’s unlikely that Evan could have achieved what he did even five years ago, and inconceivable that he could haveachieved it 10 years ago, because neither the tools he used nor the social structures he relied on were in place ten yearsago.” (11)and “The Web is different from broadcast media like TV because the Web can support real interaction among users. … Webelieved (often because we wanted to believe) that technical limits caused this imbalance in attention. When weblogsand other forms of interactive media began to spread, they enabled direct, unfiltered conversation among all parties andremoved the structural imbalances of fame.” (90, 91)
But there are still technological limitations, aren’t there?
“Do we also want a world in which, whenever someone with this kind of leverage gets riled up, they can unilaterally resetthe priorities of the local police department?” (14)
Were the police being asked to do something they shouldn’t already have been doing?
“He used his site to tell the story without being a journalist, he found Sasha’s information without being a detective, and soon. The transfer of these capabilities from various professional classes to the general public is epochal.” (17) Do we lose anything by subverting the professionals? How do we, as amateurs and hobbyists, gain credibility? How do we get noticed?