TED Talk: How Twitter Can Make History

Excellent TED talk by Clay Shirky called “How Twitter Can Make History.”  Given earlier this month at the State Department, it succinctly summarizes the dramatic evolution of the media from one-to-one (telephone) or one-to-many communication (print, radio, television) to today’s many-to-many communication via the Internet. 

I wouldn’t say it introduces any new concepts, at least not to folks who are already familiar with the technology and its uses, but it’s a really well-presented survey.

Some memorable quotes:

“What matters isn’t technical capital, it’s social capital.”

“These tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technically boring.”

“The Internet is the first medium in history that has native support for groups and conversation at the same time.”

“It’s as if when you bought a book, they threw in a printing press for free.”

“We are increasingly in a landscape where media is global, social, ubiquitous and cheap.”

“ … media is less and less often about crafting a single message to be consumed by individual and more and more often about creating an environment to convene and support groups.”

He has some really compelling examples, and in fact, over the last few days protesters in Tehran using social media to send updates and photos to the rest of the world are another great example.

Clay Shirky has a related book called Here Comes Everybody.

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