This is the second part of my inaugural lecture at City University London, ‘Is Ice Cream Strawberry?’. The first part can be found here.
Cars, roads and picnics
Throughout the 20th century there were two ways of getting big things done – and a third way of getting small things done. Clay Shirky sums these up very succinctly in terms of how people organise car production, road building, and picnics.
If you want to organise the production of cars, you use market systems. If you want to organise the construction of roads, you use central, state systems of funding – because there is a benefit to all. And if you want to organise a picnic, well, you use social systems.
In the media industry these three line up neatly with print, broadcast and online production.
The newspaper industry grew up in spite of government regulation.
The broadcast industry grew up thanks to government regulation.
And online media grew up while the government wasn’t looking. Continue reading
Here’s a great interview with Clay Shirky by GRITtv’s Laura Flanders.
Clay Shirky talks about the power of digital networking, and how social media can do everything from cause revolutions to create whole new political parties when done right.
The simplicity of Twitter, of course, is its genius. It has the power to do so much by doing so little. But that’s not the only thing that’s simple about Twitter. The service itself was only intended to share 140-character messages with the world. Its significance is its evolution. Everything from @replying and retweeting to using hashes and symbols can be attributed to the users. It has brilliantly allowed users to define it – almost entirely. As Shirky points out, “Most of the uses of Twitter were not imagined by the designers of the service – they were managed by the users of the service.”
As Claire Cain Miller wrote in this NYT piece, Twitter exploded to unprecedented popularity by outsourcing “its idea generation to its users.” Continue reading
From 10am UK time today I will be reading Clay Shirky’s new book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (Amazon US) – and reviewing it on Twitter as I go.
And I won’t be alone. Joining me will be Antonio Gould, Dave Briggs, Jon Bounds, Paul Inman and Brendadada.
All six twitterers – plus a Tweetscan search for ‘Here Comes Everybody’ – will be aggregated at http://xfruits.com/paulbradshaw/?id=38799 so you can follow them all, or join in yourself.