How Opinions from Clay Shirky Apply to Wikipedia

People have the ability to share their thoughts and ideas more widely than ever before. Before the internet age the only way for individuals to share their ideas was to form a group. These groups where small companies or large organizations. Information was far more limited simply because companies would only pursue concepts and thoughts that where profitable. With the rise of the internet there is access to user generated content that is amateur and professional. Clay Shirky uses the website Flickr as an example of sharing among individuals. On Flickr people can share photos the images can be amateur or professional. Shirky explains how no one would know about Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade if it weren’t for user generated photos.  Organized media companies would not cover such an event because they would feel it was to obscure for business.

Shirky makes a point that smaller disorganized groups can be more productive than a large organization. This is because millions of different people can partake in their interest freely and generate content. These users are uncontrolled and aren’t necessarily part of an organization they simply communicate freely with one another. Wikipedia is the largest collection of information about anything that ever existed. It is purely user generated and a free service to anyone wanting to look up a subject. Wikipedia exists because millions of individuals with an internet connection can write about anything that they have knowledge of and offer it to anyone. The people that write about these subjects can be anyone from students to professionals. These groups are not necessarily organizations but they have been able to accomplish more in a shorter period than any corporation could in the past.


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