Here Comes Everybody
By Clay Shirky
I realized about a third of the way through this book that I made a mistake in reading it after Cognitive Surplus. Since Shirky wrote this book first, many of his concepts are refined more in his second book. That said, I love this book. Shirky looks at what it means to live in a connected world and how that impacts our relations to each other. He looks at early versions of social networking (Myspace, Xanga) and how those have changed in later iterations (Twitter, Facebook).
Now that we’ve had the technology of the internet for 20 years, our behavior is changing. This has happened before in history. Major technological revolutions change the way society works as a whole. Look at the movable type printing press and the radio, not to mention television. All of these technologies have had significant impact on the world around them, but only after they became thoroughly ensconced in society. The internet is now at the same point, and we are seeing the beginnings of results.
There was one quote that I found myself repeating to several people. It doesn’t have anything to do with technology and everything to do with people. “[H]uman nature has turned out to be fairly context sensitive; given the opportunity to misbehave, and little penalty for doing so enough people’s behavior becomes antisocial enough to wreck things for everyone” (283). I found this observation to be very poignant.