If you ever ask yourself – Why is social media, participation, group forming in different shades and colors changing the world around us? – then this book is a must read in my opinion.
As humans we want to participate in groups. We need other people, we need to reflect our own image, we need love and relationships – and we need to learn from older and wiser people in our group. We need peers to adjust our own behavior.
But just a moment ago (before the internet) it was quite difficult to form groups.
We invented organizations (corporations – political organizations – unions – NGOs) because in order to get something done – in order to bring people together – we needed structure, we needed hierarchy, we needed systems.
We also organized a lot around locality. Because forming a group with people in the other end of the country didn’t make much sense if there were no means of interacting with them group wise.
Not so anymore – all you need is a browser and a login to blogger, YouTube, facebook or whatever group-forming tool that makes you click – and you are on your way to group-forming-nirvana.
Need to find a group that already exists? Try Google – or Yahoo – or follow the group trace of millions of people on Facebook (Here in Denmark thousands of people have joined a group because a guy is organizing a garden party in one of the parks in Copenhagen!).
This easy group forming is the real revolution according to Clay Shirky. And this is why web 2.0 (or whatever name you like to give the new paradigm) will transform society more than we can even begin to imagine.
Clay Shirkys point is that just like it took us a hundred years to figure out what the society needed AFTER the printing press was invented (newspapers, school systems, libraries, bookshops, reading chairs 🙂 it will take a while before we get our heads around extremely easy group formation.
I really found the book enjoyable – and I will recommend it to anyone who needs to find out what is going on with all these social tools on the internet 🙂