clear thinking about social media

Given the petabytes (exabytes?) of words that have been expended on social media, user generated content, participatory media, etc. etc. etc., it is miraculous to read a book that lays out clearly and simply the why and how of the phenomenon. That book is Here Comes Everybody, by Clay Shirky. I like reading a lot of the clever and snarky commentary about the blogosphere, and geek out on the details of one start-up’s idea or another. But the clearing away of superfluous material and the deceptively simple and straightforward presentation of ideas is a masterpiece of editing. Making social media tools and products has the potential to make our connectedness to each other and our culture better and more human. But the huge amount of half-assed opinion there is among all the people trying to figure this stuff out could swamp that project in bullshit. Shirky has done the world a favor.

See also a video of Shirky’s lecture-presentation on the book, and his blog around the book’s themes.