Clay Shirky may be the finest thinker today on the Revolution. His book Here Comes Everybody is more than just about technology; it's an absorbing guide to the future of society. Anyone interested in the vitality and impact of groups of human beings -from knitting circles, to political movements, to multinational corporations-needs to read and more importantly UNDERSTAND this book.
With accelerating velocity, our age's emerging technologies of networking are evolving into new groups doing new things in new ways, and old and new groups alike doing the old things better and more easily. Times they are a changin'. Hierarchical structures that exist to manage the work of groups are seeing their raisons d'être swiftly eroded by the rising technological tide. Business models are being destroyed, transformed, born at dizzying speeds, and the larger social impact is profound.
One of the culture's wisest observers of the transformational power of the new forms of tech-enabled social interaction is Clay Shirky, and Here Comes Everybody is his marvelous reckoning with the ramifications of all this on what we do and who we are. Like Lawrence Lessig on the effect of new technology on regimes of cultural creation, Shirky's assessment of the impact of new technology on the nature and use of groups is marvelously broad minded, lucid, and penetrating; it integrates the views of a number of other thinkers across a broad range of disciplines with his own pioneering work to provide a holistic framework for understanding the opportunities and the threats to the existing order that these new, spontaneous networks of social interaction represent. Wikinomics, yes, but also wikigovernment, wikiculture, wikievery imaginable interest group, including the far from savory. A revolution in social organization has commenced, and Clay Shirky is its brilliant chronicler.