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.