30 June 2011

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another entry in my irregular "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody" series.
Now 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.

Shirky, chapter 7, page 182
This can be encouraging or discouraging, depending on how you look at it.

On the "yay!" side, it used to be really hard to organize people for collective action whether against something negative or for something positive. If people were going to help, they had to really commit. Which really reduced the population of potential supporters.

On the "boo!" side, now it's really easy to "support" things, particularly through social media. But what, if anything, does adding a badge or twibbon to your avatar or changing your status for a few hours accomplish, either in you or in other people?

The real question is: what are those weak ties we tend to form in social spaces truly worth? I don't know that anyone has a fully satisfactory answer yet.

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