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Sharing is Caring: Online sharing creates civic & communal value

  • Mar 14, 2010

First of all, Clay Shirky was wearing the three wolf moon T-shirt which in and of itself deserves a +5 rating, but his talk deserves much more. His talk was primarily about how our culture is now deviating from the social norms we were once accustomed to because we now have the tools (technology/social media) to change how we share information publicly. The panel 'Monkeys and Internet Access: Sharing, Human Nature, and Digital Data' was super timely, expoloring the values of civic sharing online and the impacts that this has on our modern society.  

Biggest Takeaway

Intrinsic interests vs. Extrinsic interests - Bringing information into the public sphere that we are used to keeping private.

  • Example) Napster: The company changed the motivation behind sharing information.

They used a medium like music which at the time were shared as goods & services and made it possible to share it digitally. People have positive feelings about sharing information with each other, especially when it is of no cost to themselves. Being spiteful is the antithesis of being willing to share information with others.
  • Example) Wikipedia (free) vs. Brittanica (pay for access - a reference work you can't refer to)

Co-creating/co-authoring with one another online is creating value that is both communal and civic. 
Changing culture by making the arguement that co-creation is doing public good rather than harm.

Their 'Openess philosophy' makes the claim that if people keep their medical information private we are losing a potential public good, but we all have to do it at the same time (why sharing is good).

Best / Worst Quotes

"It was like Bittorrent that didn't work very well." (explaining Napster to NYU students)

"It's like keeping the box that you recieve your Amazon products shipped in." (referencing his CD collection)

What wasn't said that should have been?



Three-wolf moon T-shirt

If this were my event....

People would have been really bored. I am humbled by Shirky's breadth of knowledge about the impacts of the Internet in a modern society.

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More Monkeys with Internet Access: ... reviews
review by . March 14, 2010
posted in SXSW on Lunch
Fantastic lecture by #clayshirky
Biggest Takeaway      SO enjoyed this!  Super compelling -- Clay asks that we consider how much value we can get out of civic sharing, taking into account the feelings and responses that our behavioral      You hear a lot of people reference how the Internet is "changing our world," but this was one of the most expert illustrations of that I've heard.  Compelling to tech industry insiders, but I'd love for mainstream Internet users …
review by . March 14, 2010
posted in SXSW on Lunch
Biggest Takeaway:  We now have the tools to get beyond intrinsic motivation for sharing as a private actor to make sharing public.  Public sharing goes beyond mere social sharing to the point of sharing for civic reasons.  Civic sharing is done to help move forward a greater good.  Whether or not everyone can succeed with their public sharing and their civic goals is undetermined, but at least now we can all try.   Best Quotes         "Abundance …
Quick Tip by . March 17, 2010
posted in SXSW on Lunch
Inspiring, informational, all the good stuff.
Quick Tip by . March 14, 2010
posted in SXSW on Lunch
Shirky wrapping up - what a brilliant man. Amazing talk re: the shift in motivations for social sharing. #clayshirky
Quick Tip by . March 14, 2010
posted in SXSW on Lunch
Out late & lost an hour last night, but still worth hustling to the convention ctr. for a must see presentation.
Quick Tip by . March 09, 2010
posted in SXSW on Lunch
i really enjoy Clay's books, and i've heard him speak before at Google's Zeitgeist. Looking forward to seeing him again!!
Quick Tip by . March 09, 2010
i really enjoy Clay's books, and i've heard him speak before at Google's Zeitgeist. Looking forward to seeing him again!!
About the reviewer
Aunny ()
Ranked #11
Hi, my name is Aunny D. I was born and raised in the city that Mixmaster Mike made famous in the song 'So Wat'cha Want.' I have an obsession with my Boston Terrier, Sancho. "Sancho" … more
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Event Description TBA

Clay Shirky (

Ballroom D
Sunday, March 14 at 11:00 AM
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Type: Panel
Location: Ballroom D
Date(s): Sunday March 14

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