Lit. Review

Shirky, Clay (2008). Here Comes Everybody: How change happens when people come together.

Shirky is perhaps the most well known of those occupying the tenuous realm of credible future predictors. He is credible because of his experience using technology to produce things and also because he is prolific in publishing considered writing that uses this experience to place a cogent framework around the apparent chaos that is the internet’s leviathan potential.

It’s the leviathan potential that has caused anxiety about the future of journalism as we know it today.

Shirky’s book often discusses the impact the internet has had on journalism. His uncle was a newspaperman for a small town newspaper, and he uses the story of how the rise of ‘entertainment news’ represented by the populist publication like USA Today effected the livelihood of his small town paper.

It took some market share from (paper’s such as his uncle’s) but the effect wasn’t catastrophic. What was catastrophic was a less visible but more significant change, already gathering steam when USA Today was launched. The principle threat, and indeed all newspapers large and small, was not competition from other newspapers but radical changes in the overall ecosystem of information.

(Ed. note: more to come)

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