Apr 5, 2013

I write - You write - Therefore We Are - Clay Shirky - Here Comes Everybody - Ch 4

Ch.4 : More great Shirky quotes  as I continue with my personal learning journey on Here Comes Everybody  ....

"When people talk about user-generated content, they are describing the ways that users create and share media with one another, with no professionals anywhere in sight  ...

It's easy to see this as a kind of failure. Who would want to be a publisher with only a dozen readers ?  ...

It's simple. They're not talking to you.  

The bloggers and social network users operating in small groups are part of a community,

... and they are enjoying something analogous to the privacy of the mall" p 83-85. 

Just like the sporting community folks at the Vietnamese restaurant last Sunday night .... a couple of really loud raucous tables sharing the conversations of their community with the rest of us, their accidental audience  .. and they not caring a hoot what we heard.

Shirky observes the difference between audiences and communities :

"An audience isn't just a big community; it can be more anonymous, with many fewer ties among users"  p 85

"A community isn't just a small audience either; it has a social density that audiences lack"  p 85

In fact Shirky argues "people are all talking to one another in these small clusters also explains why bloggers with a dozen readers don't have a small audience :

they don't have an audience at all, they just have friends.... most of what gets published is public  but not for the public " p 80 - 90

Further the self-actualization thing .. "Writing things for your friends to read and reading what your friends write creates a different kind of pleasure than writing for an audience" p 90

And "if people can share their work in an environment where they can also converse with one another, they will begin talking about the things they have shared  

... conversation is king

... content is just something to talk about " p 99 - ever been at a party with school teachers or IT geeks ?

Shirky describes an evolution to a community of practice - where the conversation becomes

... "how did you do that ?

 ... trading tips abut certain kinds of repairs, thus educating each other in the lore not covered in the manuals

... there are thousands of examples of communities of practice  

.. Gaia Online is a community for teenage fans of anime and manga

... like how to draw girls with really big eyes ..." (followers include my Teen - but to me Gaia had been the all encompassing Mother Earth Environment concept ! ) p 100-101

Recently Stan Garfield's Communities Manifesto (nb not to be confused with the Cluetrain Manifesto) has reached almost iconic status

eg see one of many bloggers' posts  it's generated.

But regardless, there's still Dunbar's number - how many people can you really effectively interact with ?

"No matter who you are, you can only read so many weblogs, can trade email with only so many people

... someone writing for thousands of people, though, or millions, has to start choosing who to respond to and who to ignore, and over time, ignore becomes the default choice. " p 91

Maybe it sounds like how some politicians deal with particularly persistent & pesky constituents ?

"Every webpage is a latent community.... In almost all cases the community will remain latent, either because the ties are too weak

... or because the people looking at the page are separated by too wide a gulf or time, and so on " p 102

Perhaps the above challenges have been, in part, the basis of Twitter's success - you can scan "sound bite sized chunks" of more folks, even more so with Twitter lists, and then choose which of their blogs to click through, to read the full content ?

"It is easier to ask a question than to answer it, we get the curious effect of a group of people  all able to overwhelm one another by asking, cumulatively, more questions than they can cumulatively answer

... The limiting effect of scale on interaction is bad news for people hoping for the dawning of an egalitarian age ushered in by our social tools " p 94-95


... perhaps in this there is a warning from Shirky, to be heeded by the prophets of Government 2.0 ? 


Back to : Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 / Chapter 3

Forward to : Chapter 5 / Chapter 6/ Chapter 7 / Chapter 8 / Chapter 9 / Chapter 10 / Chapter 11 / Epilogue


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