The experience design blog Putting People First has posted news about one of my favorite social technologists, Clay Shirky, who was one of the earliest people to seriously study ubiquitous information, and who is out with a new book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations.
A Guardian blogger has this to say about the Shirky.
And a quick look around turned up a video of him speaking to the New American Foundation. In the clip, Shirky uses three real life examples to go inside the dynamics of groupless group activity. I particularly like his suggestion that "the Internet is not an improvement to society, but a challenge to it."
You'll need to go elsewhere for easy and comforting rhetoric. Shirky is no cyber-utopian.
In an earlier treatment of the issues involved, Robert Frenay has called this state of affairs "feedback culture." And what makes it so interesting is that far from simply a study of technology, useful concepts have and will continue to be borrowed from the arts, anthropology, economics, biology, and physics.
When everything that can be known, is known, a description of what that means must come from everyone.