- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (29 Jan. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141030623
- ISBN-13: 978-0141030623
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 340,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Here Comes Everybody: How Change Happens when People Come Together Paperback – 29 Jan 2009
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'As crisply argued and as enlightening a book about the internet as has been written' Daily Telegraph 'As usable as the technology he writes about' Independent 'Clay Shirky's masterpiece ! brilliant insights that make me think ... that's how it all works' Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing 'Anyone interested in the vitality and influence of groups of human beings ... needs to read this book' - Steven Johnson, author of Emergence 'Terrifically clever' Guardian 'Gordon Brown has been reading Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody, currently the book of the moment among webheads and new media obsessives.' - Matthew D'Ancona, Telegraph
Welcome to the new future of involvement. Forming groups is easier than it's ever been: unpaid volunteers can build an encyclopaedia together in their spare time, mistreated customers can join forces to get their revenge on airlines and high street banks, and one man with a laptop can raise an army to help recover a stolen phone. The results of this new world of easy collaboration can be both good (young people defying an oppressive government with a guerrilla ice-cream eating protest) and bad (girls sharing advice for staying dangerously skinny) but it's here and, as Clay Shirky shows, it's affecting! well, everybody. For the first time, we have the tools to make group action truly a reality. And they're going to change our whole world.See all Product description
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Clay Shirky is primarily interested in the sociological effects of the internet and other networking tools (mobile phones etc.), or how people use them and are affected by them. Anyone with a mobile phone will be familiar with the looser social arrangements it allows. (I'll text you when I get there etc.).
In essence his thesis is that the costs of networking have collapsed and allowed us to try before you buy (or publish then filter as he puts it rather than the other way round as was the case).
In the past only companies had the resources to publish in any meaningful way, and they had to weigh up the cost of trying things and had to play safe as a consequence. He's broadly correct on the positive way that the internet has enabled Linux, wikipedia and other social networking sites (facebook, stay at home mums etc.) to exist where they couldn't have before, but he doesn't address the fact that there is a negative side to all of this - cyberbullying being a classic example. Now we're all networked the pursuit of the mob is harder to escape, he also doesn't address online vigilantism - PC Pro's columnist Dick Pountain has complained about articles being deleted by rogue groups of over-vigilant un-knowledgeable users.
His book reads very well and is full of well considered stories which pull you through, it's worth a read for anyone who liked 'The Future Just Happened' or the 'The Long Tail: How Endless Choice Is Creating Unlimited Demand'. In some ways this book is the same central insight as the Long Tail - collapsing publishing costs allow more experimentation and a more ad-hoc arrangement of interested people. Both books focus on the power law that allows the tail (minority) effects to be economically viable.
An interesting book, which I recommend, nonetheless.
Clay continually uses examples that for anyone who uses web resources on a daily basis can relate to. He takes these examples and highlights not only the positives that they have generated, but their limitations too. His insight into what we previously believed to be technological implications shows us that indeed they are not technological, but human social limitations. Coupled with the depth of compassion towards humans, Clay continually reminds me that humans are essentially good but require the tools to be able to put that goodness into practice.
My favourite part is his comparison of the internet and web to the printing press pushing aside the scribes. I truly believe that we're watching the birth of a new cultural revolution, Clay sees it and the examples I have taken away from his writing allow me to show the changes to my friends and family that otherwise lay blind to it.
If you are even slightly interested in the web, communication, or modern culture then you must read this book. Thanks Clay for writing such an insightful and positive guide to this culture's birth.
Like many original works, it might have been ground breaking when first released, but releasing its central idea into the public domain killed its own originality. The paperback was 2 years old when I read it, and the Internet moves so fast that it might be approaching its shelf-life already.
Still, a good light read for anyone interested in dotcoms.
Not so new either is Shirkey's central insight. Knowledge is power, more knowledge is more power or at least more democracy. He pads this out with a lot of anecdotes, some you'll have heard before and others that are just boring.
By now (2011) we can see what Shirley missed: the spammers, trolls, single-issue fanatics, conspiracy theorists, scammers, fraudsters, phishers and above all the tendency (surprise, surprise) to make exclusive communities on the net. Just because information travels faster doesn't make it better.
I think I'm going to "defriend" any other books on the sociology of the web in future.
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