Clay Shirky explains why. Come to find out, he’s already a well-known new tech guru…
Think MySpace is inane? Millions of users on social networking tools are publishing–turning the definition of that on it’s head, eh?!–but you only think it’s drivel because THEY’RE NOT TALKING TO YOU. (85)
User-generated content is a many-to-many pattern of communication (87). Think about broadcast media–that’s one-to-many. And even Web 1.0 technologies like websites are one-to-many. But now people talk back. Question is–what to do with this?!
People like to consume media–who hasn’t gotten lost on the internet?! But now we find out they like to create it, produce it, share it–sort of shouting “Look at what I did!!” to the world. (104)
Adopt something, anything now, because if you wait to create the perfect vehicle, you may never get to the unveiling! (122) Simple is good, and your online community can help you improve.
Mass creates credibility. Think of it in terms of news–one unknown source is not credible, but twenty citations of the same event lend formalization. This could apply to your events, or gathering news stories related to your work. How many bloggers do you have in your reporting network?
With online tools, “the highly motivated people can create a context more easily in which the barely motivated people can be effective without having to become activists themselves. (182). Wow–signing a petition can suddenly be done in a click, and creating the platform for action also creates roles for other people to be further up on the organizational ladder of volunteers.
Be a host/hostess at your online party (265). The mass of online interaction is like filling up a restaurant. You want people to feel like they’ve made a good choice, and feel welcomed enough to come back.
Meetup groups people by affinity and proximity (196), helping people identify niches in their own locales. And it gets pretty darn specific, too–all by user choice. So, no longer a ‘cooking’ group, but an ‘ethnic dining out night’ group! Interestingly, online tools create a way for fringe and socially unacceptable groups to organize–no longer is permission needed to create coverage or host such an event.
Great way to describe Twitter: as a channel of information you can tune into. “Like me, and what I have to say? Follow me on Twitter!”
Okay, you know how those big ideas never get tried because you don’t have the organizational structure, enough staff, etc. to implement them? Throw them to the internet wind and see what happens! Shirky talks about history (Gutenberg, the printing press–say bye-bye to Scribe as your profession, organizational theory (Coasean theory of transaction costs and power law distributions of participation), social dilemmas, and more traditional organizational structures, but mostly he relates these with anecdotes, making the text flow. His corollaries to new technologies make them make sense, instantly.
And value, what about value? How will you get back what you put into new tech? Think about this–“Increased flexibility and power for group action will have more good effects than bad…” (296). We’re in a revolution, and coming out on the other side is always difficult. Change is not instantaneous–it’s a transformation process.
Learn more about the WHY (vs. the HOW of adopting new tech) at the HCE blog.