Clay Shirky on the power of web collaboration, media

Experiments in communication take off when they create ‘social capital’ rather than take that “big bang” approach, says Clay Shirky. He discussed this and more in an NPR interview and call-in last week.

Of course Shirky has written extensively on this subject of social capital, especially in Here comes everybody –the the best book on social media, to-date, in my opinion. His analysis of new media is spot on. As in observing how technology needs to become ‘technologically boring‘ before it gains social traction. It has to first lose its geek stigma, then become ‘normal’, then ubiquitous, to finally become pervasive enough to start a revolution.

And for those grappling with how much PR and media presence is necessary I love this quote from the book:

“All business are media businesses, because whatever else they do, all businesses rely on the managing of information for two audiences – employees and the world.”

Which opens a rich debate on the blurring line between internal and external communiction, whether PR should be taught in business schools etc, but that’s grist for the mill for another post.

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