A Changing World: Cognitive Surplus

Last week we discussed the overwhelming nature of information overload in today’s world – in selecting items for purchase, in selecting what we watch and read, and where we choose to spend on time. Today I challenge you to invite even more of that same chaos into your lives. Sounds crazy – but is it?

…the moment our historical generation is living through – is the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.
– Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky is an American writer, consultant, teacher, and social media theorist. He is one of the most world’s most prominent thinkers on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. His columns and writings have appeared in Business 2.0, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and Wired Magazine. He is the author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations and Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.

Shirky holds a joint appointment at NYU, as an Associate Arts Professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and as an Associate Professor in the Journalism Department. He has consulted with a variety of groups working on network design, including Nokia, the BBC, Newscorp, Microsoft, BP, Global Business Network, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Navy, the Libyan government, and Lego. Clay Shirky TED Bio

Thoughts & Questions for Discussion
• A massive portion of the internet today runs on “the social part of the bargain”.
• With every click and non-click, we are teaching the internet (US).
• Do we have a duty to participate? Why or why not?
• A simplified example at ILR – Browse Courses
• More complex: The case of Monica Lewinsky & The Fall Out
• What voices are missing?
• The Good News: Social Media Trends Over Time
• How can we share better and generate more (good) conversation? Example A
• Thinking about the future: Can social media and online participation help shape policy and politics before the polls even open?

The question we all face now is, “How can we make best use of this media? Even though it means changing the way we’ve always done it.” – Clay Shirky

More On This Subject
• Dr. Michael Wesch at KSU: The Machine Is US
• Clay Shirky at TED: How Social Media Can Make History
• Pew Research: Older Adults Internet Use
• Pew Research: Who’s not online & why

7 Comments on “A Changing World: Cognitive Surplus

  1. More types of participatory media:

    We’re seeing more and more games that you can play on your phone, tablet, and computer that provide a way to help others. The newest of these is called Reverse The Odds. Participants help gather data and fight cancer by looking at slides and answering three simple questions about what they see. (Computers are bad at recognizing patterns in photos, so we need human eyes to do this.) Read more at: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2014/10/03/citizen-science-you-dont-need-to-be-qualified-to-do-this/#

    Kickstarter – https://www.kickstarter.com/ Is a crowdfunding platform for raising funds for creative projects and new ideas. No one is charged for their pledge towards a project unless it reaches its funding goal. (Ask a millennial, and they will tell you that platforms like this will be how we ‘do’ government in the future.)

    GoFundMe – http://www.gofundme.com/ is a slightly different crowdfunding site that allows anyone to raise funds for anything. You keep each and every donation you receive. Reaching your goal is not required.

  2. Lastly, a case in point, just for fun. I absolutely loved this piece on brilliant idioms: http://blog.ted.com/40-idioms-that-cant-be-translated-literally/

    (My favorites are two of the Sweedish ones: “There’s no cow on the ice.” and “It fell between chairs.”)

    Sadly, I was bitterly disappointed that the top comments are crass, and you have to force yourself to keep scrolling down to find the intelligent ones.

  3. When inputs are monitored by intelligence and dedication like Wikipedia, it works well. It does not work as well when intelligence and dedication are missing. When we had the Freedom Car, that was a ploy of Slave Oil corporations to kill the electric car alternative, I and others were able to put the facts into Wikipedia like: http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-hydrogen-hoax. See “costs” in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_economy for example.

    We the people need some people to develop some online Non profit News Wikipedia. It could have the same monitoring by dedicated and intelligent people. They would be competing with dying newspapers. Those papers could be the leaders, instead of withering away by trying to be profitable capitalist.

  4. I sent the following to several of my friends and now will share with our class:
    This trick can quickly fix many mysterious hardware failures

    You can’t do much if your hardware is truly broken, but often PC component issues come down to a software problem you can fix in a few clicks.

    Read the complete story here:
    We hope you will find this story interesting and informative.

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