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Here Comes Everybody

Page history last edited by Bryce Urbany 15 years, 1 month ago

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

by Clay Shirky



From the cover: "A woman loses her phone and recruits an army of volunteers to get it back from the people who stole it.  A dissatisfied airline passenger spawns a national movement with her weblog.  Citizens with camera phones out-perform photojournalists documenting the London Transport bombings and the Indian Ocean tsunami.  The world's largest encyclopedia is created by unmanaged participants.  A handful of kids in Belarus create a political protest that the state is powerless to stop...  Everywhere you look, you can see groups of people coming together to share with one another, work together, or take some kind of public action.  A political protest in Eastern Europe seems unconnected to the shared creation of an encyclopedia or to the recovery of a mobile phone, but all of these effects and a thousand others have the same root cause: For the first time in human history, our communications tools support group conversation and group action.  Gathering a group of people and getting them to act used to require significant resources, giving the world's institutions a kind of monopoly on group effort.  Now, through, the tools for sharing and operating on a global scale have been placed in the hands of individual citizens.  In the same way the printing press amplified the individual mind and the telephone amplified two-way communications, a host of new tools, from instant messages and mobile phones to weblogs and wikis, amplify group communications.  And because humans are natively good at working in groups, anything that amplifies group effort changes society.  Business models are being transformed at dizzying speed, and the larger social impact is so profound that it's under-appreciated.  Now someone with a laptop can spark a movement that changes the fortunes of a billion-dollar industry or even helps topple a government.  In Here Comes Everybody Clay Shirky, one of new culture's wisest observers, gives us his lucid and penetrating analysis on what the impact of this social revolution will be, for better or worse, on what we do and who we are."


About The Author


Photo of Clay Shirky by Joi Ito


From the cover: "Clay Shirky writes, teaches, and consults on the social and economic effects of the internet, and especially on those places where our social and technological networks overlap.  He is on the faculty of NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, and has consulted for Nokia, Proctor and Gamble, NewsCorp., the BBC, the United States Navy, and Lego.  Over the years, his writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, Wired, and IEEE Computer, and he is a regular keynote speaker at tech conferences.  Mr. Shirky lives in Brooklyn."


Chapter Summaries


  1. It Takes a Village to Find a Phone
  2. Sharing Anchors Community
  3. Everyone Is a Media Outlet
  4. Publish, Then Filter
  5. Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production
  6. Collective Action and Institutional Challenges
  7. Faster and Faster
  8. Solving Social Dilemmas
  9. Fitting Our Tools to a Small World
  10. Failure for Free
  11. Promise, Tool, Bargain



Clay Shirky on New Book "Here Comes Everybody"

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Clay Shirky Interview

Pt. 1


Pt. 2


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Blogs, wikis and other Web 2.0 accoutrements are revolutionizing the social order, a development that's cause for more excitement than alarm, argues interactive telecommunications professor Shirky. He contextualizes the digital networking age with philosophical, sociological, economic and statistical theories and points to its major successes and failures. Grassroots activism stands among the winners—Belarus' flash mobs, for example, blog their way to unprecedented anti-authoritarian demonstrations. Likewise, user/contributor-managed Wikipedia raises the bar for production efficiency by throwing traditional corporate hierarchy out the window. Print journalism falters as publishing methods are transformed through the Web. Shirky is at his best deconstructing Web failures like Wikitorial, the Los Angeles Times' attempt to facilitate group op-ed writing. Readers will appreciate the Gladwellesque lucidity of his assessments on what makes or breaks group efforts online: Every story in this book relies on the successful fusion of a plausible promise, an effective tool, and an acceptable bargain with the users. The sum of Shirky's incisive exploration, like the Web itself, is greater than its parts. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


A Required Text for Professional Writing 209: Writing in the Digital Age

Student Opinions:

Bryce Urbany: "Upon entering this class, I was a bit wary on the content that we would be covering.  What exactly does it mean to “write in the digital age?”  Professor Reid could not of chosen a better introduction to the definition of today’s digital age than Shirky’s Book Here Comes Everybody.   This book clearly outlines what it means to be living in today’s world of technology.  With researched stories like the woman regaining her phone by using the internet to the Belarus flash mobs as well as personal stories from Shirky himself, look no further for an explanation when someone drops the term Web 2.0.  Not only does Shirky cite many of the social sites that have been created in the past couple of years such as Flickr, Twitter, and Digg, Shirky analyzes the way these sites work by the formation of an online collective consciousness and community.  He best compares these websites to a real society living together in a village.  Human beings have the internal desire and need to survive and the best way to do this is to work together as a society.  Wikipeida is the best example of this because it is an encyclopedia built by a system with no management.  It only works because of this desire of survival.  People want to look up information and want this information to be accurate; other people who want to share accurate information, trusting they will get the same in return, share this information on Wikipedia.  If someone posts false information, these honest people will see the errors and change it to make it easier for the masses to obtain factual information.  For more information on this subject and more you must read this book.  I highly recommend it."



Shirky, Clay. 2008. Here Comes Everybody: The Power Of Organizing Without Organizations. New York: The Penguin Press





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Comments (1)

Bryce Urbany said

at 12:55 am on Oct 23, 2008

Anybody can add to the Student Opinions section or create their own chapter summary and link it to this site in the appropriate section. This will help us all out on our contribution for the assignment.

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