Clay Shirky And Malcolm Gladwell Addressing Social Media

Chapter 5

Society is deviating away from ” rigid institutional structures” and this is possible because of social networking. Corporate hierarchy, and “financial motivation” no longer impasse communities. The study of these communities of social networking and how social media drives social change is documented by Clay Shirky and Malcolm Gladwell .

Both Clay Shirky and Malcolm Gladwell point out that social media is not a hierarchical organization. Social Media is run by mass amateurization rather than a chain of commands. Gladwell compares Social Media to Atavism, and brings up supporting examples of how Social media has accomplished similar results as highly organized atavist societies who sometimes have had to go to extreme and even radical measures to influence change.

While Shirky Compares Social media to hierarchical institutions; and, pointing out that although social media has the opposite structure from an traditional institution, it is driven by motivation of individuals, and is still very efficient and even more productive. Using Wikipedia as an example to show similarities between traditional institutions, and Social Media.

It is interesting to compare the opinions of both writers because they are looking at the progress of networking from two different angles; yet, still have very similar idea’s regarding the structure of social media and the capabilities.

The argument is to what extreme social media has either progressed the art of group organization or simply changed the way we communicate. Given that hierarchical institutions are going to remain organized, and in some forms Mass amateurization can also be organised.

Malcolm Gladwell points out in Small Change that society has been capable of group organization in past event’s. The invention of social media has only provided a different way of communicating. There seems to be a collective of opinions assuming that the social media has created this new form of heroism in regards to groups forming to omit change; whereas, Malcolm points out several instances in history where the social media was either not invented, or still in evolution that organized groups have changed history. It is recognised that whether it is a social media organization, or an organization of citizens, there is likely to be a hierarchy of some form in place. I say this because there are active members, and then there are the members who later join the organization or do not always participate in group activity. Clay Shirky makes this connection in chapter five of Here Comes Everybody; Malcolm Gladwell makes this connection in the article Small Change when he addresses the study of Doug Mcadam.

I am curious how the social media will evolve at this time, if the social media will become more organized, and what will inspire the future of social media. Because this is only the beginning of this new technology that seems to be the modern day printing press. I can see how the change in the way we communicate has changed the course of history with modern inventions like the radio, television, !Phone, and the internet but the question is still in debate can social media create social change?

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