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Clay Shirky; Social Media Visionary

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Permalink Headlined to H2 6/17/11

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Clay Shirky sees big pictures where others see facebook and twitter. He sees the forest where most see tree branches.

I've interviewed rocket scientists and brain surgeons. Pretty much all the people I interview are really smart. Clay Shirky is brilliant. Listen for yourself and you decide.


Bio From Clay's website http://www.shirky.com:

I study the effects of the internet on society.

I've written two recent books on the subject: Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (2008) and Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age (2010).

Bio: from wikipedia: 

Clay Shirky (born 1964 [ 2 ] ) is an American writer, consultant and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. He has a joint appointment at New York University (NYU) as a Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and Assistant Arts Professor in the New Media focused graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).  [ 3 ]  His courses address, among other things, the interrelated effects of the topology of social networks and technological networks, how our networks shape culture and vice-versa.  [ 4 ]

He has written and been interviewed extensively about the Internet since 1996. His columns and writings have appeared in Business 2.0, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and Wired.

Shirky divides his time between consulting, teaching, and writing on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. His consulting practice is focused on the rise of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peerweb services, and wireless networks that provide alternatives to the wired client--server infrastructure that characterizes the World Wide Web.

In The Long TailChris Anderson calls Shirky "a prominent thinker on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies." [ 5 ]

rough, make that VERY rough notes. A transcript will be published, probably next week. 

(some of the notes were preparatory for the interview and were never mentioned, particularly quotes from the books.)


what do you DO? I mean, I have an idea and you're certainly a sought after visionary, but I'm curious about how you describe your work. Did it exist while you were studying in college or grad school? 

was fortunate to know just enough html and perl to get a job. 

Theory and practice of social media

interested in internet's influence on access to other people, where you get group dynamics

Teach classes in which students build tools build things in class. 

Foursquare-- was developed by one of his students

ITP

Interactive telecommunications program

can do both sociology and programming

And who do you do it for, besides your academic work?

have been involved in a couple of multiyear projects trying to hard networking problems

library of congress long term digital storage

connecting for health-- moving healthcare data between institutions and patients.

Because there's no-one who owns the network or in control f the digital preservation network== history of internet is a guide to how to get things done-- have to get institutions together and get them to share

Internet turned out to be not only a technology lab but also

At Personal Democracy Forum, an array of revolutionaries from Tunisia talked about their experiences. 


For example, media and communications Rasha Abdullah of Cairo talked about how Egyptians using Facebook learned, unconsciously, that you control your relationships, who could access your page, that this changed things from the one way vertical relations that existed before to a new world where people could control their own lives. 


My take away from Abdullah's observation was that it's not just using social media for organizing rebellion. 



re- his foreign affairs article referenced in WSJ about Facebook and China


We've overvalued access to information and undervalued access to each other. 

what mattered was that they could talk to each other. 


governments are not afraid of individuals. they're afraid of empowered groups of synchronized groups. 


Our media system is so much more interwoven and entangled with our social from even 3 years ago. 


In 2008 there were fewer than 30,000 facebook subscribers and now there are over 2 million. 


One thing we see in open systems is they develop membranes. 


you either say the membrane is about scale... or you can say that the membrane is going to be at the level of the individual comments...

The thing that goes wrong when people want completely open systems at arbitrarily large scales. 




The simple use of the media itself, even for the most  innocent purposes, changes the way you see your relationships-- as you put it in your book, changes the nature and function of the "connective tissue" of the media and social environment.

What's the lesson of Here Comes Everybody-- the book that turned me into one of your fans?

Our social tools are not an improvement to modern society: they are a challenge to it. 

...when new technology appears, previously impossible things start occurring. If enough of those impossible things are important and happen in a bundle, quickly the change becomes a revolution.

Revolution doesn't happen when society adopts new technologies-- it happens when society adopts new behaviors.

When you change the way a society communicates with itself you change that society. A society with the printing press is a different kind of society than one without the printing press. 

Core theory of here comes everybody is that the internet's signal contribution...

Tools don't get socially interesting until they technologically boring. 

The moment a tool gets interesting is when your mom takes it for granted.

Paul Ford's blog F Train

internet allows to be active participants in whatever's going on in the media landscape

Games 

Reality Is Broken Jane McGOnicle's book

Cliff Stoll  1995 newsweek  The Internet Bah Humbug an internet user who totally missed all the things that

all businesses are media businesses.

pareto's law

starting vs joining and levels of participation

Your new book just out in paperback is Cognitive Surplus-- Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age

What's Cognitive Surplus and what's the take away message of the book?

and Can you share some of the amazing surplus related numbers?

society is that we have a new resource that we can design with-- all of us have some r=free time and talents that we can commit that free time to participating in an enormous number of interesting and engaging projects.

We had all that time in the 20th century.  CS also requires a network that allows to combine free time at low cost. 

how much time did it take to make wikipedia? about 100 million hours of human thought by human thought. 

How big is that compared to the potential==

Television use of free time

People watch 200 billion hours of television in the US every year.

we spend a wikipedia project's worth of time every weekend in the US just watching ads. 

value of density of potential users/customers and pizza by the slice

worked at a pizza place where they made a pizza for a customer in 20 minutes. Got to NY and they'd sell a slice of pizza. If you have enough people around, you no longer have to match up supply and demand one by one. 

media as providers of content vs connection, consumption vs interaction P 19

social surrogate hypothesis-- when we watch television we're more disconnected. 

Watching TV ameliorates the effects of loneliness but worsens the conditions of it. 

"any shift, however minor, in the way we use a trillion hours of free time a year is likely to be a big deal.

means, motive, opportunity and culture

Three ways to manage revolution

The "As much chaos as we can stand" approach

ushahidi

wikipedia for breaking news

"Behavior is just motivation filtered through opportunity."

Next book?  

where should we look for the next big changes?

Pierre Rossenvallen Counterdemocracy

what media does is allow citizens to be suspicious of the state in more engaged ways. 

saying to business not google or facebook

The old model that you have to build something and drive something to it. 

How do I build something and go to where people are.

Best Buy-- brand was more in the hands of the 19 year old who was going to buy a flat screen TV

Biggest mistake that businesses make?

They believe there is some way to re-institute the model of the 20th century that almost anything said about the business is said by the business....

observations on Linkedin and Pandora going public

Heroes?

Ethan Zuckerman center for civic media

Mimi Ito at USC sociologist and observer of internet culture.

Vint Cerf and Len Kleinroth

"people who have managed structured or careful thinking but are also engaged with the world."

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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mr shirky looks only for evidence that supports hi... by Ron McGillicutty on Saturday, Jun 25, 2011 at 9:02:26 AM
Sorry, but you don't have a clue what he knows. Re... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Jun 25, 2011 at 9:39:10 AM
Have been kind of waiting for the transcript. ... by Ecor on Sunday, Jun 26, 2011 at 1:44:18 AM