Analyzing Clay Shirky’s View on the New Method of Organization

The beginning chapter of Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky describes how society and communication have changed dramatically by the rise of the internet. The chapter opens with the story of a lost cell phone. In today’s times the cellphone is the main source for storage, information, and communication. The majority of individuals feel it is the most valuable item they carry with them at all times. For most people losing a cell phone would be a very serious matter. Shirky uses the symbolism of the cell phone to express his main point about constant mass communication.

In order to recover the lost cell phone Evan a programmer began receiving information from the cell phone’s new owner Sasha. He asks Sasha to return the phone but she refuses, saying she is the rightful owner because she bought it from a cab driver. Evan is infuriated and composes a webpage exposing Sasha in a negative light, and writing about how people should return stolen property. This website receives millions of views from many people feeling the same way. Eventually law enforcement gets involved and Sasha is arrested. Originally this predicament would not be seen as true law breaking, but because of the opinions of many individuals through the power of the internet it was viewed in a serious manner.

Using this story as an example Shirky makes claims of how it is no longer just large companies that have the power to mass communicate, it is now any individual with an internet connection. The web has broken the narrow structure and allows anyone to create their own organization. Once profitable businesses such as music recording and publishing can now be done easily by the musician. New internet tools allow anyone to create a group of their own to finish a project or start a business. There are little to no management rules in place thus breaking the cycle of traditional organization. 

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