Christian Long

Clay Shirky: How Cellphones, Twitter, Facebook Can Make History

In TED Talks on April 25, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Reflection by MICHAEL P.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Clay Shirky:  How Cellphones, Twitter, Facebook Can Make History

Up until just a few years ago, the only media out there was filtered, professional media.

But now, anyone can create media. Anyone can make a video, a website, a blog, anything to tell the world your beliefs. Anyone can be a reporter. It isn’t just the mainstream media controlling what your see and hear. Anyone can say and show pretty much anything they want using the Internet.

Before when the only media there was were things like radio, newspapers, the government could censor everything. Censorship of the Internet is nearly impossible now due to the massive amount of information and sources out there. The Chinese government completely shut down YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook because of the citizen reporting going on on all of those sites about the big earthquake in 2008, especially after amateur reporters found out about the corruption that allowed for schools to be built not to code, which caused many deaths. The government took away the ability for their citizens to express their opinions in an open forum, known as the great firewall of China.

The days of media being produced by only professionals is over.

Even if all the governments of the world tried to censor amateur media, people would still find a way to get their opinions out there for others to see. There is already far more consumer created content on the Internet for anyone to see than there is professionally created media. I think in the near future, there will be very little professional media out there compared to the amount of stuff created by you and me. Anyone and everyone can be a producer of media, whether it be videos, a blog, or whatever other outlet you use you voice your opinion. Anyone can make history. Everyone can be a producer as well as a consumer of media. Media is, and will become even more so in the near future, as Clay Shirky said, “global, social, ubiquitous, and cheap.” Anyone, anywhere, can now produce media for little to no cost.

The Internet and social media is great at bringing people together and creating conversations, but it has not always been like that.

Before we had access to all this social media, you could either have a conversation with one person, or have a group, but not both. Now, everything is connected. You can have a one on one conversation, bring people together, or both. Bill Cheswick’s map of the Internet really shows how every part of the Internet is connected. Media isn’t just the news or some article anymore. It’s a way to connect with others, and have conversations about it. You can have a one to one, one to many, or a many to many conversation. The Internet and social media combines conversations and groups. Until now, we have not had any other way to connect with people this well. During the last election, social media really allowed for group conversations to happened, but they were not censored at all. They were allowed to let their voice be heard.

I think social media will become even more important to society in years to come.


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