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Here Comes Everybody: The Power of…
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Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

by Clay Shirky

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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
I'm having trouble figuring out exactly why I like Clay Shirky so much. I have a few candidates for the main reason. First, he tends to have insightful things to say about topics I'm interested in. My favorite thing he has done is his lecture "Ontology is Overrated". However, while I'm not accusing him of being derivative, I can trace many of the ideas I like best in Shirky's work to Yochai Benkler.

So that leads me to think that perhaps what I like best about Shirky's work is his particular genius at finding interesting and revealing examples from which he extrapolates his key insights. In Here Comes Everybody, he tells the story of the lost phone, uses a wonderful comparison of reading social networking to hanging out in the mall. (It's not over-sharing, it's over-listening. On the web, someone like me can complain about vapid noise on Facebook, but if I were at the mall listening in to teens telling their stories it would be clear that I was the creepy one and the kids are just being kids.) From chapter to chapter, Shirky finds good examples and uses them to tease out what he thinks are the key principles.

The third candidate for "Why Nick like Clay Shirky so damn much" is that I tend to agree with his assertions. The printing press *IS* the best comparison for the read/write web. More *is* different. (We're both Internet exceptionalists.)

So, whether it is the quality of his insight, the power of his examples, or the persuasiveness of his conclusions, I tend to be a Shirky fan. Here Comes Everybody is an excellent example of his work and a must-read for anyone trying to make sense of what the current (or formerly current) state of communication technology is doing to us as a society. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
This book made me feel a little bit smarter for every chapter, and was a real page turner which is unusual for non-fiction. ( )
1 vote Ingyplingy | Sep 2, 2014 |
Why did you log in to GoodReads today? What is behind the explosion of Internet-based social networking in all its forms, from e-mail, to listservs, to Facebook, Flickr and Twitter? And more important: what does this new wave of truly participatory media bode for the future?

Clay Shirky takes on these big questions in Here Comes Everybody, and the result is an engaging, eye-opening book that draws upon social change theory, economics, and psychology. Shirky contends that the Internet, cell phones and other two-way communications technologies have lowered the barriers to group formation, such that people are organizing to great effect in ways that would have been impossible just a few years ago. This is taking place in all sorts of ways: social groups, political action groups, photo sharing, news and information sharing, lifestyle support groups, the list goes on and on.

Shirky believes that the power of these new tools at our disposal will be harnessed collectively in a positive direction. He acknowledges that many individuals seek to disrupt cooperative efforts (look at spammers, or "trolls" on mailing lists, for instance). Tools that are overrun by those seeking to disrupt them, though, were flawed in some way, and will fall away in favor of tools such as Wikipedia that correct for such vandalism.

What of corporate and governmental entities trying to screen/censor Internet content? Shirky believes that such efforts are doomed to failure: due to the nature of the technology itself, people will find a way around those attempted impositions. So far, world events bear out his perspective.

Shirky doesn't deal much with inequities in access to these communications tools. But that may be peripheral to his point: after all, not everyone had access to a printing press, yet its relatively widespread availability led to great change all over the world. And anyway, Shirky isn't crazy enough to say that the new ease of organizing will eradicate inequality throughout the world.

Here Comes Everybody is an important counterpoint to those who think that social networking is just a popularity contest for kids, or who bemoan the "narcissism" of people who put their information into MySpace. There's a whole lot more going on there, and people of all generations are beginning to figure that out.
( )
  ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
A good examination of the ways new social tools have changed our society and will continue to do so. Although the book is already more than four years old, an eternity in the world of Internet commentary, most of what he has to say is still valid—and because his tone is measured and he avoids gee-whizzing, it's not hard to imagine where he would have gone with his ideas in 2012.

Shirky takes off from the concept of Coasian economics, market theory originated by Ronald Coase in 1937 that looked at the contractual costs and benefits of hierarchical organizations and their advantages over the free market. The premise here is that because online communications have lowered the cost of gathering groups of people together—whether in money, effort, time, materials, or manpower—this radically alters all sorts of equations throughout society. He cycles through a series of anecdotal scenarios to make his points, explaining them clearly and relevantly, without jargon; the examples are well-picked and illustrate his ideas without being heavy-handed. And his commentary is open-ended enough that you can sit back afterward and extrapolate on how it bears on the wired world of 2012, what works and fails online, and why. It's smart and thoughtful, and still relevant—no mean feat for an Internet sociology study. ( )
  lisapeet | Dec 31, 2013 |
Pre-dates the explosion in social media as corporate and personal branding platform, so, somewhat dated. That said, the big ideas remain relevant--and recent history provides a useful lens for understanding the internet today. ( )
  amelish | Sep 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
It's the kind of a book that you can open to any page and be delighted by -- especially if you love the Internet -- and the kind of a book that you'll want to read aloud from to your friends.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Feb 28, 2008)
 
The thing is, Internet books are inevitably either cheerleadery or chidey, and Shirky is a cheerleader.
added by Katya0133 | editTechnology Review, Emily Gould
 
Shirky's terrific new book, "Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations," is an excellent primer for those journalists who feel confused by the impact technology is having on their
industry.
added by Katya0133 | editNieman Reports, Joshua Benton
 
Sacrificing rigor for readability, Here Comes Everybody is an entertaining as well as informative romp through some of the Internet’s signal moments.
added by Katya0133 | editIEEE Spectrum, Bruce Schneier
 
A perceptive appraisal of the contemporary technology-society interface.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Gilbert Taylor
 
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On an afternoon in late May 2006 a woman named Ivanna left her phone in the backseat of a New York City cab.
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Discusses and uses examples of how digital networks transform the ability of humans to gather and cooperate with one another.

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