In this interview I talk with Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in A Connected Age.
Shirky has been talking about the Internet on the Internet for over fifteen years and in the last five years he has written two books. His first book, Here Comes Everybody, was a historical narrative of sorts that traced the evolutions of the Internet from a thoughtful sociological point view, something missing from practically all social media books written in the last few years. Cognitive Surplus takes the reader one step forward and starts to prognosticate what might be possible and, as Shirky always does, provides a balanced yet positive view for what is to come:
Just because the norms involved in social production have antecedents in market culture doesn't mean that the two modes can be easily hybridized, though. In fact, switching from paying professionals to create something to having communities do it for the love of the thing may be technically trivial but socially wrenching. Contested ways of organizing an activity potentially produce friction. There is a constant debate around the donation of blood, plasma, and organs as to whether they should be treated as a communal good or a market commodity. Both methods have been tried in various places, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. But the heat of the debate isn't about marginal difference between Red Cross blood drives (which rely on communal logic) and people selling their blood for plasma (organized in a market). The conflict instead it about the morality of the market as a way to get people to offer their blood or organs.