Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Clay Shirky @ LSE

Last night I went to see a presentation by Clay Shirky, the author of "Here Comes Everybody". Interesting stuff, but not as illuminating as I'd hoped.

He summarised his book as "Group action just got easier". (A similar statement is oft quoted on Gaping Void).

Here's a couple of thoughts that I noted from the talk:

1. Groups unite against an external threat

2. Successful groups act as platforms not as organisations

3. Groups no longer need a formal body to organise on their behalf - the workers could unite to disobey the union.

4. When your fans break your business model, you know you're in trouble (relating to fans posting content from newspapers).

5. Companies can no longer expect to break news on a busy news day to hide bad stories. Someone that cares will find it, republish it etc. etc.

6. A big question is one of legitimacy. This is linked to the fundamental flaws of democracy.

7. This is all about new tools being made available. It's not a change in human nature, it's a change in access and the ability to connect. The Invisible College in the 17th Century was a group of scientists sharing ideas for the greater good - group collaboration is not new behaviour.

One point that Clay made during the presentation was the speed with which events are now made public over the internet, exemplified by the Sechuan earthquake. Here's a few links to Clay's LSE talk being replayed on the internet, including a blog post from the chair of the evening, Charlie Beckett.

You can download audio from the presentation here.

Update: an official podcast of the event is here.

Update: Image credit to cubicgarden. Weirdly, the text placed in the post by Flickr crediting cubicgarden appears in draft format, but not when publised. Apologies cubicgarden for you not being credited initially.

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