Here Comes Everybody talks about how new technology shapes behaviour, reflecting on the various changes that are taking place in the digital age through a series of inspiring everyday stories.
Here Comes Everybody Summary
Clay Shirky wrote this book all the way back in 2008 predicting many of the changes that have taken place with the rise of social media, self publishing and internet enabled collective action.
Drawing from anthropology, economics and his own observations, Shirky makes the case that new communication tools are now becoming so commonplace that once impossible behaviours are now emerging, with profound social implications.
Below are some of the key insights from the book.
- New tools make it easier than ever for determined individuals to self assemble, publish, act and achieve without gatekeepers or professional input.
- Traditional management structures (Coase) are breaking down as hierarchies give way to anarchic organisation such as “tagging” (Flickr), open source development (Linux) and wiki publishing (Wikipedia)
- With zero costs to publishing and distribution, everyone is now a amateur journalist, photographer and subject matter expert. The internet is disrupting all professional structures.
- User generated content and iterative journalism now operates on a publish then filter basis where electronic communication merges with online publishing.
- Everyone is famous for 15 minutes has become everyone is famous to 15 people.
- Online media is growing up alongside traditional media with crossover and upstream/downstream interchange across all levels.
- Websites like Wikipedia can only operate on goodwill and non-monetary motivation. It is impossible to monetise the voluntary hours committed to its development.
- Wikipedia contributors follow a power law distribution (80-20) where a small cadre of hardcore linchpins power the development of the website.
- Social media is a largely boring tool but it is now so commonplace that it has become an interesting development across all areas of society.
- The small world fallacy operates on loosely connected networks held together by linchpin individuals who crossover between different kinds of people.
- Everyone knows that the fax went mainstream before email but not many people know that radio went mainstream before telephone because it falls out of living memory.