Matthew Scrip : Chapter 5, 7, Gladwell article

Matthew Scrip: Chapters 5,7 and Malcolm Gladwell’s article

-What concepts and ideas does Shirky introduce in Chapter 5 and chapter 7?

In Chapter 5: Shirkys refers to “Wikipedia” as an example of the most famous “distributed collaboration,” as well as one the most visited website in the world. Shirky goes explains how wikipedia proves to be successful by its abilities to be edited by “normal” people. Depicting Shirky’s main idea of how anyone can be an author/editor without a printing press. As well as how wikipedia is a perfect example of the shift from the standard higher-archey institutions. Wikipedia has no “professional” editors or employees. Its run simply of normal people who find editing their various pages to be a way of exercising un-used mental capacities or “Kilroy was here” the simple pleasure of changing something in the world. The motives people have to edit wikipedia and in turn keeping the site up to date ties closely with Mass-ameturization: “Refers to capabilities that new forms of media have given to nonprofessionals and the ways in which those non-professionals have applied those capabilities in order to create and distribute content and solve problems in ways that compete with larger, professional institutions.”

In Chapter 7: Shirky provides many examples of how fast groups can be formed and the power those groups have when formed. “Collective action is different from individual action, both harder to get going and both harder to stop.” Groups create a different force then individuals therefore allowing the groups purpose or goal to be accomplished easier. “Similar case in the story of Evan and the stolen sidekick.” Evan acquired all of those followers leading to the arrest and return of his friends phone.

-How do these chapters support his overall main idea?

In chapter 5 and 7 Shirky proposes how WIkipedia is so successful with no higher-archey management as well as how the “new age” editors apply mass-ameturization to keep wikipedia up to date. He compares how wikipedia is run to how a modern day car company would run. With wikipedias staff being amateur editors choosing when and where and what they like to work on. A modern day car company would collapse in weeks.
In Chapter 7 he gives many example on how fast groups can form and many tools they use to day in order to do so. When the large groups are formed they are much more effective then a single individual. He uses eastern germany in 1989 as an example of rebelling against the corrupt GDR When the protesting group grew as large as 600,000 even GDR’s army was not willing to fight them off, knowing deadly force would have been the only way to do so. GDR collapses as does the Berlin Wall.

-What is Gladwells overall argument? What Concepts and idea’s does he present? Name a specific story or example Gladwell uses to support his argument? Where do both authors agree or disagree?

Similar to Shirky. Gladwell introduces further example of the powers of large groups. The first example he uses in the four african-American students in the 1960′s who are denied coffee in a shop due to the lack of human rights in that time period. The group quickly grows massive sit-ins are being held all over the south in a large protest for equal rights. Another example Gladwell use’s is the story of Sameer Bhatia a young girl in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Similar to the stolen side kick they begin to publicize her story on various blog sites, her story spreads like wild fire. She gets her much needed transplant due to the large group and the effectiveness of them. Shirky and Gladwell share common opinions of wikipedia and its effectiveness without the standard higher-archey of management.


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