Here Comes Everybody
The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
“A fascinating survey of the digital age . . . An eye-opening paean to possibility.” —The Boston Globe
“Mr. Shirky writes cleanly and convincingly about the intersection of technological innovation and social change.” —New York Observer
An extraordinary exploration of how technology can empower social and political organizers
For the first time in history, the tools for cooperating on a global scale are not solely in the hands of governments or institutions. The spread of the internet and mobile phones are changing how people come together and get things done—and sparking a revolution that, as Clay Shirky shows, is changing what we do, how we do it, and even who we are. Here, we encounter a whoman who loses her phone and recruits an army of volunteers to get it back from the person who stole it. A dissatisfied airline passenger who spawns a national movement by taking her case to the web. And a handful of kids in Belarus who create a political protest that the state is powerless to stop. Here Comes Everybody is a revelatory examination of how the wildfirelike spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exist within them. A revolution in social organization has commenced, and Clay Shirky is its brilliant chronicler.
Blogs, wikis and other Web 2.0 accoutrements are revolutionizing the social order, a development that's cause for more excitement than alarm, argues interactive telecommunications professor Shirky. He contextualizes the digital networking age with philosophical, sociological, economic and statistical theories and points to its major successes and failures. Grassroots activism stands among the winners Belarus's "flash mobs," for example, blog their way to unprecedented antiauthoritarian demonstrations. Likewise, user/contributor-managed Wikipedia raises the bar for production efficiency by throwing traditional corporate hierarchy out the window. Print journalism falters as publishing methods are transformed through the Web. Shirky is at his best deconstructing Web failures like "Wikitorial," the Los Angeles Times's attempt to facilitate group op-ed writing. Readers will appreciate the Gladwellesque lucidity of his assessments on what makes or breaks group efforts online: "Every story in this book relies on the successful fusion of a plausible promise, an effective tool, and an acceptable bargain with the users." The sum of Shirky's incisive exploration, like the Web itself, is greater than its parts.