Tag Archives: clay shirky

The Social Revolution

This week I gave a couple a couple talks at Rutgers University.  I was invited by Dr. Kurt Shock, who is an associate professor of sociology and global affairs at Rutgers and is one of ICNC’s academic advisors.  I first spoke in his colloquium course, where I gave a presentation titled, The Social Revolution: Digital Media, Cyber-Pragmatism, and Nonviolent Movements, which I will outline in greater detail later in this post.  The second presentation I gave was to his undergraduate class on social movements, where we looked at the role of the internet and social media in social movements more broadly.  In both presentations I used the uprising in Egypt as a case study in exploring these themes.

Continue reading

Key Insights from Clay Shirky’s Book, “Cognitive Surplus”

Imagine treating the free time of the world’s educated citizenry as an aggregate, a kind of cognitive surplus…One thing that makes the current age remarkable is that we can now treat free time as a general social asset that can be harnessed for large, communally created projects, rather than as a set of individual minutes to be whiled away one person at a time.

…young populations with access to fast, interactive media are shifting their behavior away from media that presupposes pure consumption.

The social uses of our new media tools have been a big surprise, in part because the possibility of these uses wasn’t implicit in the tools themselves…the use of social technology is much less determined by the tool itself; when we use a network, the most important asset we get is access to one another.  We want to be connected to one another, a desire that the social surrogate of television deflects, but one that our use of social media actually engages.

Access to cheap, flexible tools removes many of the barriers to trying new things.  You don’t need fancy computers to harness cognitive surplus; simple phones are enough.

Continue reading

The Digital Duel: Resistance and Repression in an Online World (Webinar)

This past Thursday I presented my very first webinar, The Digital Duel: Resistance and Repression in an Online World, which looked at the emerging role of digital tools, new media, and the Internet in waging nonviolent struggle across the world.  It also looked at how repressive regimes are also using these same tools to censor and clamp down on dissent and civic mobilization.

Continue reading