Here Comes Everybody | Clay Shirky

Summary of: Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
By: Clay Shirky


Dive into the fascinating world of modern communication as we unravel the insights within Clay Shirky’s groundbreaking book ‘Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations’. This book explores the transformative impact of the internet and digital platforms on the way we coordinate and connect with each other in our personal and professional lives. From facilitating seamless group activities to the democratization of information and knowledge sharing at an unprecedented level, the internet has unlocked new possibilities in the way we communicate, collaborate, and create communities. Strap in for an enriching journey that navigates the terrain of social media, digital organization, cooperation, and the shift in boundaries between the professional and amateur domain.

The Internet’s Influence on Mobilization

The internet has transformed the way we coordinate with each other. As the world entered the digital era, it brought modern technology that has changed how we communicate and connect. Technology has improved the speed and ease of communication, and this has made it possible for people to come together for different causes. The example of Ivanna’s phone in New York City in 2006, where Evan created a website that went viral in just a day, shows how technology can help a cause spread quickly and attract a massive network without much cost and red tape. The internet has revolutionized how we mobilize networks and professionals, that in the past, would have been impossible to connect with and assemble efficiently.

The Power of Sharing and Cooperation in the Digital Age

In the digital age, sharing and cooperation have become easier through the use of online platforms. Sharing enables us to disseminate information to a vast audience rapidly, with low cost and little effort. For instance, Flickr allows its 87 million members and the global audience to view photos uploaded on the site. Cooperation, on the other hand, requires adjusting our behavior to align with others. Verbal exchanges are the simplest form of cooperation, enabling us to communicate information easily. Digital platforms have made it easier by enabling group messaging and carbon copy email functions. In comparison, two decades ago, communicating the same message efficiently would have required making hard copies of the message and mailing them individually to each group member. The internet has, therefore, created new opportunities for sharing and cooperation, allowing people to collaborate more effectively.

Wikipedia’s Success Story

The power of community in a decentralized organization is credited as the driving force behind Wikipedia’s success. Despite being a vast digital platform, Wikipedia uses a spontaneous division of labor without needing a sophisticated management system. The platform’s contributors maintain a strong sense of community and take pride in contributing to something that matters to them. Monitoring by numerous users enables quick error corrections and ensures that inaccurate information is quickly identified and resolved. The author credits Wikipedia’s decentralized organization for its ongoing success in providing collaborative knowledge sharing to the world.

Modern Digital Platforms and Organizational Obstacles

Traditional organizational obstacles such as maintaining a hierarchy of employees and office equipment have been reduced by modern digital platforms. Large organizations like Microsoft, with over 100,000 employees, have to budget for employee payroll, communication, and equipment. However, the cost of retaining employees and equipment has been significantly reduced by new methods of communication, including email, texting, and social media platforms. Online coordination has broken down previous barriers to forming groups quickly, as seen in the example of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade in New York where Flickr users willingly upload and tag their photos. Modern digital platforms allow for large-scale operations to be coordinated at a lower cost.

The Future of Communication and Socialization

In the age of technology, communication and travel are not mutually exclusive. While new technologies support coordination, they do not replace our desire for in-person socializing. Even with the rise of the internet and online communities, meeting in person remains our number one social goal. This is evident with the success of MeetUp, where users form groups based on shared interests and then coordinate to meet in person. While new technologies have changed the way we organize, human interaction and socialization are still a crucial part of our lives.

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