Notes on Shirky, Here Comes Everybody, Chs. 1 and 2


The Power of Organizing without Organizations
Clay Shirky
London: Penguin, 2008

The notes below are, in most cases, direct transcriptions, in many cases edited. Check the original source.

  • the power of group action, given the right tools (7)
  • the story of righting a wrong is a powerful one, generate the involvement of others (8)
  • Thanks to the Web, the power of publishing globally has collapsed (9)
  • Media, when they pick up a story, help to generate even more attention, which gains attention of more media (9)
  • one-person media outlets, members of the former audience (10)
  • new Web tools dramatically increase our social visibility (11)
  • now we are more scrutinized in public (12)
  • power accruing to the former audience (12)
  • ease & speed with which a group can be mobilized for the right cause (12)
  • anything that changes the way groups function will have profound ramifications for everything from commerce and government to media and religion (16)
  • new technology enables new kinds of group-forming (17)
  • When we change the way we communicate, we change society (17)
  • But mere tools aren’t enough (17)
  • forming groups has gotten a lot easier (18)
  • the cost of forming groups has fallen dramatically (18)
  • operate outside the framework of traditional institutions and organizations (21)
  • most of the barriers to group action have collapsed (22)
  • those institutions will continue to exist, but their purchase on modern life will weaken as novel alternatives for group action arise (22)
  • new tools allow for new kinds of group-forming (25)
  • sharing can anchor group formation (25)
  • NOTE: absent from Shirky’s consideration, how the “time to consume” is absent, yet students in the class found it was all too much to follow, information dispersal and multiplication
  • NOTE: he assumes a rebellious populace, just waiting for information to act
  • managing resources takes resources, management challenges grow faster than organizational size (41)
  • “post-managerial organization”
  • The cost of all kinds of group activity—sharing, cooperation, and collective action—have fallen so far, so fast that activities previously hidden beneath that floor are now coming to light….prior to the current era, the alternative to institutional action was usually no action (47)
  • We now have communications tools—and increasingly, social patterns that make use of those tools—that are a better fit for our native desires and talents for group effort….we can have groups that operate with a birthday party’s informality and a multinational’s scope (48)
  • Sharing, cooperation, and collective action
  • Sharing involves the fewest demands on participants (49)
  • Cooperation…involves changing your behavior to synchronize with people who are changing their behavior to synchronize with you (49-50)
  • cooperating creates group identity (50)
  • collaborative production…no one person can take credit for what gets created (50)
  • collective action…decisions binding on all members of group, group cohesion becomes critical (51)
  • Information sharing produces shared awareness (51)
  • collaborative production relies on shared creation (51)
  • collective action creates shared responsibility (51)

About Maximilian C. Forte

I am a professor of anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. My areas of research and teaching interest are centered in Political Anthropology, with a focus on imperialism, neoliberalism and globalization, nationalism, democracy, and the international political economy of knowledge production.
This entry was posted in concepts, Theories, Tools and Resources and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s