Every once in a while you come across one of those books that goes beyond the mere collection of anecdotes or examples on “hot” topics. “Here Comes Everybody” by Clay Shirky is one of those books.
We now have communications tools that are flexible enough to match our social capabilities, and we are witnessing the rise of new ways of coordinating action that take advantage of that change.
The author explains how social technologies are modifying behaviours and enabling new practices, namely those related with group formation and collective action, combining real examples with basic notions of social networks, group dynamics and the sociological aspects of collective action. And it goes one step further to analyse the implications of this new reality for topics such as communication, journalism, group formation, institutions and society as a whole.
By making it easier for groups to self-assemble and for individuals to contribute to group effort without requiring formal management… these tools have radically altered the old limits on the size, sophistication, and scope of unsupervised effort…
So if you are looking for a clearer understanding of the fundamentals of the changes that social tools have brought to our lives and to the future of society (something beyond those “anything for dummies” sort of books) I highly recommend this book.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes.
…now we can do things for strangers who do things for us, at a low enough cost to make that kind of behaviour attractive, and those effects can last well beyond our original contribution. Our social tools are turning love into a renewable building material. When people care enough, they can come together and accomplish things of a scope and longevity that were previously impossible; they can do big things for love.
PS – heard that Christmas is just around the corner. Can’t wait to buy myself his latest book “Cognitive Surplus”