Journal 1 How Social media can make History- TED talk by Clay Shirky


On this TED talk, Clay Shirky claims that “our historical generation is living through the largest increase in expressive capability in human history” (Shirky, 2009) made possible by internet. That the “internet is the first medium in history that has native support for groups and conversation at the same time” (Shirky, 2009). Instead of just being a source of information, because of the interaction possible amongst the participants, it also becoming a site for coordination. “People are not just consumers but also producers.” (Shirky, 2009) hence this results in constant innovation. He tells the story of what happened with news broadcasting in China during the Sichuan earthquake and the story of how Obama campaigners used to support the idea of media transformation, its impact on history and the need to use this medium with maturity and discipline.


Wow, I am so out of touch. I must be one of the least internet savvy person…I still only ever use the web for looking up information.

It sounds like while Shirky is praising Obama’s wise use of the web; he seems to be implying with the China stories about the inevitability of controlling it.

I agree with Shirky, that the web is the best way to get one’s message across to everyone, that people who will use it needs to use it with discipline and maturity. I wonder if there is a universal guideline or social etiquette for these things…  I think of cyberbullying happening in schools… Our lives today are centered very much on the availability of internet connection.- cell phones, iPods, androids has features that will allow us to tweet, Face book even while we are on the go. The anonymity provided by the web also encourages people to put in their 2 cents worth on the subject matter. No wonder we are asked to research on copyright. With so many amateurs contributing, it will be hard to filter whose original idea it is. Each student will need to work harder at checking their sources filtering through the mountain of information available. It’s going to be hard to find the “right” answer. I am glad I chose this option. But there sure is a lot of material to go through.


I’m thinking about How Obama proved his integrity by not shutting down the site even when his supporters were against his idea. He maintained his stand because he understood their role.  This is what defines America-freedom of speech.

The Chinese government was doing what they deemed best for their country by turning off the entire service rather than risk chaos. Forget about freedom of speech…

People tend to look at things from their own coloured lenses. Although I agree that 2 or more heads are better than one, I do not know that I am completely comfortable with the way the web is going…the interactivity allows people to connect more, it can also allow the wrong idea to be blown out of proportion… Being a shy/ private person, I’ve had always an aversion to anything public. I also have perfectionist tendencies, so the idea of sharing my work in public and having peers comment really scares me. I hesitate joining any social networking sites and is not even a member of face book or twitter. Because of the nature of this new media, it has the capacity to be a change agent and used for good or evil so to speak.


I can see how I can make use of this media transformation at work. I have to learn to overcome my own attitudinal barriers because pursuing further education for me would also mean I need to engage in this medium more vigorously. I will need to let the ideas of social learning/cooperative learning and connectivism grow on me.

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