Clay Shirky’s Keynote On The Media Revolution

In Online, Videos on June 3, 2008 at 6:11 am

A little while back I posted a note on Clay Shirky’s keynote address at the Web 2.0 Expo held in late April this year. It’s a lengthy speech to read on text, so here’s the 15-minute address presented in two seperate YouTube clips.

and Part 2:

It’s an amazing look into the future about how the internet has (not will) changed the way media is consumed and shared, and why Old Media control freaks are helplessly lost in trying to understand new trends in media consumption.

What struck me most about his keynote address was how social and participatory media is here to stay, and not some phase that will wear itself out. Like Linda Stone, a former VP at Microsoft, I used to believe that the explosion of social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace will cause people to burn out and give up because they can’t find the time to devote their attention to maintaining their social profiles, blogs, AND twitter accounts. That’s obviously not the case now.

So how do they find the time? Simple: it’s because the new generation of media consumers control their media to suit their time tables.

The media revolution caused by the internet has caused a fundamental shift in the way we consume media. Where once broadcasters could force us into channels, making us rush home at 8.30pm sharp for another episode of McGyver, it is we who now control how and when we want to watch our TV.

The younger generation who grow up with Google and Wikipedia implicitly understand the nature of self-organising their online life; they torrent their TV shows, watching it to their convenience, allowing them to blog/facebook/twitter without the distraction of knowing that they have to drop whatever it is they’re doing at 8.30pm to watch telly.

The older generation, those who think in Old Media ways, can’t get their heads around this. They assume that they are in control of the consumer’s media schedule. This wrong assumption manifests itself in Clay Shirky’s annoyance when the TV executive asks him “Where do they find the time?” to be obsessed with maintaining wikipedia entries.

Moreover, it has to be seen that blogging/facebooking is in itself entertainment to the new generation, just like TV is–only much more interactive and socially involving. I love this post Jeff Jarvis did on his daughter’s blogging habit:

Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about how the connections and collaboration the internet enables change — improve, I say — the nature of friendship in profound ways that will, in turn, change society in unseen ways. Yesterday, I wrote about ambient intimacy, that is, our ability to stay in touch with the little details of friends’ lives. I’ve argued that the permanence of connections enabled by Facebook links and Google search alters our relationships; this is on my mind because I’m about to write that chapter in my book and because I’m going to see an old friend thanks to Google later this week.

Now add one more dimension: creation as an act of friendship, collaboration as a means of staying in touch, media as a social act. That is what is happening in the American Girl blog: Julia and Sylvie can share by creating. Play is social. Media is play. Social media is fun…

Sylvie and Julia are just doing what comes naturally — they’re having fun together. And so I’m sure both of them with will roll their eyes at their crazy dads for blathering on about it here and there and not understanding the point, for making it sound boring, for taking the fun out of it.


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