Back in September, I had the extreme good fortune to read an early galley of Clay Shirky's long-awaited masterpiece, "Here Comes Everybody: How Digital Networks Transform Our Ability to Gather and Cooperate," and now that it's on shelves, I am doubly fortunate to tell you about it. Clay has long been one of my favorite thinkers on all things Internet -- not only is he smart and articulate (and it doesn't hurt that he introduced me to my fiancee), but he's one of those people who is able to crystallize the half-formed ideas that I've been trying to piece together into glittering, brilliant insights that make me think, yes, of course, that's
how it all works.
Clay's book makes sense of the way that groups are using the Internet. Really good sense. In a treatise that spans all manner of social activity from vigilantism to terrorism, from Flickr to Howard Dean, from blogs to newspapers, Clay unpicks what has made some "social" Internet media into something utterly transformative, while other attempts have fizzled or fallen to griefers and vandals. Clay picks perfect anecdotes to vividly illustrate his points, then shows the larger truth behind them.
Clay's gift here is in explaining why the trivial minutae of Internet communications -- Twittery nothings and LiveJournalish angst -- matter, and why the weighty gravitas of the Internet -- dissidents risking arrest, victims finding succour -- aren't the only thing online that's worthy. In so doing, he manages to illuminate the way that every institution is prone to being recast by the net, and how to manage that change for the best possible outcome.
Unlike a regular business book -- something with a one-sentence punchline that could be explained in a longish New Yorker article -- Here Comes Everybody is dense and rich, with new insight on every page. 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.
I've been waiting for this book for years -- something I can hand to people who dismiss the Internet and amateurism and social activity as distractions or trivia. Now I have it.
Clay Shirky defends the Internet
Shirky explains why Keen is a Luddite
Shirky: stupid (c) laws block me from publishing own work online
Clay Shirky: An "expert Wikipedia" won't work
Shirky: Pro metadata will lose to folksonomy
Shirky: Wikipedia is better than Brittanica on net-centric axes
Clay Shirky's ETECH presentation on the politics of social software
Shirky: Wikipedia's "anti-elitism" is a feature, not a bug
Shirky explains: destroying limitations is good for culture
Shirky: Net is a kayak, driven by its environment
Candles that smell like a bookstore, old books, or a musty old cellar? Pal, you sure like books! My home is filled with books, and pets. Guess which one lends more to the olfactory nature of my domicile? Frequently, especially after running the carpet deep-cleaner, I’ll want to light a candle… or burn a sage […]
What follows is the most mind-altering first chapter I’ve read in a long time, from biomechanist Katy Bowman’s latest book Movement Matters: Essays on movement science, movement ecology, and the nature of movement. These items —an electronic car unlocker and a tea bag— are convenient. But what I’ve realized is, when we say or think “convenience,” it’s […]
Harry Connolly’s Twenty Palaces series is one of my favorite new storylines in science fiction. After a several year hiatus Harry has brought back Ray Lilly, and all the magic in The Twisted Path. The Twenty Palaces series tells the tale of Ray Lilly, a former convict turned into a magician’s decoy, or Wooden Man. […]
The Nintendo Switch is king when it comes to gaming on the go, but it’s tough to lose yourself in Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Skyrim if your battery dies out. That’s where this Nintendo Switch Battery Charger Case comes into play. Built exclusively for Nintendo Switch, this pack allows for uninterrupted charging while you play, […]
Creative designers play a pivotal role in engaging target audiences and customers, and while companies are eager to bring more of these professionals on board, you’ll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you’re not using the industry’s best tools. From Adobe to Maya, the eduCBA Design & Multimedia Lifetime Subscription Bundle […]
As more companies aim to reel in costs and boost productivity, project managers are becoming an essential part of many operations, and they’re paid handsomely for their expertise. But, while demand is high, you’ll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you’re not toting the right certifications. The Official Lean Six Sigma […]