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Here Comes Everybody

The Power of Organizing without Organizations

By Clay Shirky
15-minute read
Audio available
Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations by Clay Shirky

Thanks to advancements in communication technologies and the widespread availability of the Internet, we can now contact one another and share information at unprecedented rates. Here Comes Everybody explains how these changes aren’t just affecting the way we communicate; they’re affecting the way we organize, too. As the obstacles and expenses of communication diminish and the reach of our communication expands, we’re now experiencing a significant shift in the ways we get together.

  • Anyone interested in sociology
  • Anyone interested in creating a website or app that’s a social tool
  • Anyone wanting to know how work-for-free websites like Wikipedia have become such huge successes

Clay Shirky teaches and consults on how the internet affects society. He is currently an Associate Professor at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and the Journalism Department. He has consulted for Lego, the US Navy, BBC and Procter and Gamble and his work has been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Wired magazine.

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Here Comes Everybody

The Power of Organizing without Organizations

By Clay Shirky
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations by Clay Shirky
Synopsis

Thanks to advancements in communication technologies and the widespread availability of the Internet, we can now contact one another and share information at unprecedented rates. Here Comes Everybody explains how these changes aren’t just affecting the way we communicate; they’re affecting the way we organize, too. As the obstacles and expenses of communication diminish and the reach of our communication expands, we’re now experiencing a significant shift in the ways we get together.

Key idea 1 of 9

The internet has completely changed how quickly and efficiently we form groups.

Have you ever paused to think about how much the internet has changed the way we coordinate with each other?

If you consider our social lives, the change is pretty clear. These days, rather than calling each of our friends individually, we can simply send a group message on Facebook and watch our Friday night plans fall into place. But when you stop to think about how the internet has influenced the way we rally together for a cause, it’s rather remarkable.

For example, take the case of a woman named Ivanna, who left her phone in a New York City cab one night in 2006.

The phone was found by a girl named Sasha but, even after Ivanna and her friend Evan contacted her through Ivanna’s phone, she refused to return it.

In response, Evan created a website with the hope of getting the police and the public interested in returning the phone. In only one day, the website went viral, even being featured on the front page of Digg.com, a popular news aggregator. By that evening, Evan was getting flooded with 10 emails a minute from people wanting to help.

Ivanna’s phone didn’t just gather a few people’s attention; it attracted a huge network, including professionals such as lawyers and police officers.

The website eventually drew in over one million viewers and even The New York Times and CNN reported about it, at which point lawyers, police officers and online detectives were also examining the story.

In the past, assembling such a network of professionals would have cost a considerable amount of money and red tape. Five years ago, it would have been unlikely and ten years ago it would have been impossible.

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