Clay Shirky gave a great presentation today on his book Here Comes Everybody. I was sitting in the second row of the RSA Great Room, so shot some video. The RSA will be putting the pro version up on its site sometime in the future ... but I know a number of people who were keen to hear Clay couldn't make it, so here's a taste.
Clay spent the first part of his talk giving three examples filling out what he says in the book:
Everywhere you look, groups of people are coming together to share with one another, work together, or take some kind of public action. For the first time in history, we have tools that truly allow for this.
In the same way the printing press amplified the individual mind and the telephone amplified two-way conversation, now a host of new tools, from instant messages and mobile phones to weblogs and wikis, amplify group communication. And because we are natively good at working in groups, this amplification of group effort will change more than business models: it will change society.
The examples were of students organising through Facebook against the bank HSBC when it withdrew a free overdraft offer; young people in Belarus organising an ice-cream social in a square where gatherings were banned; Sicilian businesses organising online against the Mafia.
After the examples Clay provided some analysis, which is what I've captured in the video. He started by assuring us he wasn't going to promise a post-hierarchical paradise in which organiastions wither away; that story had been around for 10 years ... with a constant promise that it would happen sometime. Rather we are at the beginning of experimenting with the way that power shifts because of the ability of goups to communicate, and then to come together to take action. There's a 40 minute video here from a talk Clay gave at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Update: Kevin Anderson has blogged an excellent paraphrase of Clay's presentation and the Q and A.
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