I was fortunate to catch a little bit of Clay Shirky’s talk at the Harvard Berkman Center a few weeks back, but it took me a few more weeks to grab a copy of his book, Here Comes Everybody, and read it. I’m really glad that I did. It turns out that it’s PACKED with all kinds of interesting points about how organizations can use community tools like social media software to build stronger communities of practice, interest, and more.
Essentially, the book talks about how the tools of the web (and even something as simple as Walkie Talkies) enable people to organize without formality. If that sounds hot to you, don’t listen to me, pick up your own copy of the book. Because that idea, actually, relates to the point. You are empowered. You are enabled. This new web is about giving YOU the tools, so that you can decide what to do.
The book is refreshingly NOT all cumbaya and “this will all work out fine.” Shirky does a great job of pointing out what our newfound freedoms cost us. He talks candidly about failures in the idea, such as “cooperation as infrastructure.” But even this should prove useful to your thoughts and plans and schemes.
I recommend Shirky’s book, and if he’s speaking near you, check him out. I promise that it will be informative, and that he’s a friendly enough guy.
Check it out here: Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations