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Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age Hardcover – June 10, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
There are many books out there that either describe the social media phenomenon or profess to provide a `recipe' for success. Neither of these approaches can provide you with the insight needed to effectively experiment and deploy social media for the simple reason that social media is changing too fast.
The book is organized into seven chapters that outline a complete way of thinking about social media.
Chapter 1: Gin, Television and Cognitive Surplus sets the context of social change and evolution of free time. This chapter sets the context for the rest of the story giving you the perspective to think through the issues.
Chapter 2: Means discusses the transition of the means of production from one of scarcity controlled by professionals to abundance and the participation of amateurs.
Chapter 3: Motive captures the essence of the reasons why people contribute their time, talent and attention to collective action. Here Shirky talks about issues of autonomy, competence, generosity and sharing.
Chapter 4: Opportunity recognizes the importance of creating ways of taking advantage of group participation. This chapter contains discussions of behavioral economics and the situations which generates group participation.Read more ›
TV watching on a per capita basis has increased for 50 years in a row, and that staggering amount of time has come largely at the expense of human connectedness and innovation. Before TV we entertained ourselves by interacting, making and doing, whether it was paper airplanes, a game of Yahtzee, or family harmonica night.
But at least in places with electricity, we've largely retreated into our heads, with the flicker of TV as the endless soundtrack.
But all is not lost, if you just commit to turning away from Starsky & Hutch, and toward the opportunities for greater good.
In this meticulously researched book, Shirky suggests that the historical barriers to collaboration (principally time, expense, and the ability to easily find like-minded people) have been largely stripped away, enabling us to make better use of the unused brain cells (our cognitive surplus) made dormant by TV addiction.
The book includes several compelling examples of groups creating and maintaining impressive online collaborations, without a profit motive in sight. Harnessing the power of the collective (crowdsourcing for social change) is a thread woven throughout Cognitive Surplus, and its viability requires two of Shirky's assertions to be accurate.Read more ›
1. Can be summarized well in the quote "the wiring of humanity lets us treat free time as a shared global resource, and lets us design new kinds of participation and sharing that take advantage of that resource". Great points, but in fact pretty much what was between the lines in Here Comes Everybody.
2. a How-to-use-the-cognitive-surplus-of-the-planet-guide - some great points, but this format does not suit the standards Shirkeyisms. It is way too much of a list of ideas, some around game mechanics (intrinsic motivations of people - think Foursquare/Gowalla), some around group dynamics and external motivations (think Facebook), and some just repeats of how new media (if you must say it, say "social media") is different than old media, summarized well by the quote: "intimacy trumps skill. For similar reasons, I sing "Happy Birthday" to my children, even with my terrible singing voice, not because I can do a better job than Placido Domingo or Lyle Lovett, but because those talented gentlemen do not love my children as I do. There are times, in other words, when doing things badly, with and for one another, beats having them done well on our behalf by professionals".
I wish Shirkey would have developed the book as two separate books.
The author Clay Shirky looks at social media through the means, motives, and opportunity of users. Criminologists will recognize these are the three key elements of any investigation of a crime. It's a mildly imaginative methodology for Shirky's purpose which is to examine how the global surplus of cognition, made possible by our relative abundance of discretionary time, is being put to use through activities organized around social networks.
Frankly, I have a tough time defining the audience for this book. There is precious little uncovered here that would inform, or interest, even more intellectual users of the mobile net, or so I would imagine. I know from discussions with my 15-year-old son that there's not much here. I think I can cover it with him as I chauffeur him around tomorrow.
For instance, Shirky makes a point of informing the reader that the mobile net gives users control over expressing themselves, whether it's artistic, professional, or even bumming a ride to work over a carpool platform. This freedom is being used in a lot of silly pursuits, but also in exercises to organize democratic activities, shed light on global news events, or ease daily living. In a stab at profundity, Shirky uses the metaphor of social connective tissue to describe the social network, which in his estimation is primarily mobile.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting book, indeed but in the end this book is amounts to a somewhat overly sanguine look at and listing of the 'wonders of the internet' and overlooks any mentioning of the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Carl R. Hastings
I've read a dozen books in the digital-social-collaborative intelligence space, and this is worth more than all of them put together. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Biz Book Reader
no, not worth the buy- it is partial and not always accurate information.Published 16 months ago by Richard H. Cox
Shirky's concept is a very important one and I loved his use of examples, both contemporary and historical. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Phil Simon
An optimistic account on the human narrative and how it relates to the internet. Easily accessible and a self esteem boost for humanity as a wholePublished 19 months ago by Ben Muratovic
Good read - fairly conventional ideas though harped on at great length.Published 19 months ago by Ankur Kothari
If you want to get excited about the future, this is a great and quick read.Published 21 months ago by Richard Thomas
plenty of thought-provoking ideas, different ways at looking at what we're doing with our time. Read it, you'll be glad yo udid.Published 23 months ago by Cindy Tonkin