Tag Archives: groups

Collaborative promises, tools and bargains

In the final chapter of Here Comes Everybody, Shirky writes that there are three things that must exist before collaboration can happen: promise, tools, and bargain.

  1. Promise: reason people get involved in collaborations
  2. Tool: facilitators of such collaborative work
  3. Bargain: the rules and expectations of the collaborative group

It is when all three of the requirements are properly met and executed that a group succeeds in collaboration. In my section, I will be focusing on the bargain aspect and also touch on the complexities of collaboration.

A bargain defines the expectations of a group so that everyone can agree and follow accordingly. A successful bargain is one that is “a good fit for both he promise and the tool used” (261). Sometimes the bargain is simple, as in the case of Ivanna’s phone Shirky discusses in Chapter 1. Social networks come with more intricacy. In Flickr groups, there are intricate rules about posting that users must observe. For instance, you are not allowed to post pictures if you do not comment on the two previous images, and you must wait before making multiple postings. This is to combat Tragedy of the Commons, the temptation for user to post their work for potential viewers, but not bothering to pay attention to anyone else’s photos. Alan Page Friske refers to this phenomenon as “equality matching,” where the most talented members of the group don’t get much more attention than the least talented” (276).

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No reciepe for success

Facebook Network selection requirement

This week’s reading was Clay Shirky’s last chapter in Here Comes Everybody, chapter 11: Promise, Tool, Bargain. Shirky explains that en though “there is no recipe for the successful use of social tools…every working system is a mix of social and technological factors.” (260) Despite the inability to find an exact formula for success he claims that every successful example in his book has used the following three elements:

1.) Promise – This is the “why” someone should join or contribute to a specific group. It is vitally important because it is the the promise that converts the potential user into an actual user. Shirky explains that the key to a good promise is balancing between being too broad or too extreme. The key is that “the implicit promise of any given group matters more than any explicit one” (262). This idea of creating meaning and convincing  the potential user is unique because it is not simple “selling” the idea of social media, but convincing users to actually participate and take action.

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Failure is Free

This week’s readings, “Failure is Free” by Clay Shirky and “Code is Speech” by Gabriella Coleman, discuss the importance and the success of the open source system in current society. First I will review the logic behind an open source system and why/how it has become such an integral part of how we manage and structure our organizations. I will then go over the issues that surround this rising system.

In chapter 10 of Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky discusses the logic of publish-then-filter than has emerged from the evolution of the open source system. This new method has been enabled by the idea of “failure for free”. Shirky explains this using the success of Stay At Home Moms (in chapter 8 of his book). Like any group formed on the Web, every Meetup group faces the problem of balancing specificity and size. In other words, each group wants to create a sense of local community and shared interest without being too general or too specific. An ideal group would exist right in between the generic and the specific—something achieved by the Stay At Home Moms (which can be demonstrated by the success of the group). How was this achieved? Did Meetup know that this would be such a big hit? The process of such group formation is actually quite ironic. Meetup uses an untraditional methodology in which they “do best not by trying to do things on behalf of its users, but by providing a platform for them to do things for one another (Shirky, 235). This seems to be reversed customer service—doing the least possible to serve the users, and instead leaving it up to the users/consumers to communicated and serve themselves. This leaves much room for failure as one may predict. Most groups fail due to a lack of interest by users (too generic, too specific, too boring). The user’s judgement is highly valued because the rise of groups is not a business decision, but a by-product of user behavior. As Shirky writes, “Meetup is succeeding not in spite of the failed groups, but because of the failed groups” (236). This is simply because failure is free. Through trial-and-error systems such as Meetup, successful groups such as Stay At Home Mom are born.
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Social Networking Technology: New Public Sphere

                Danah Boyd examines the phenomenon of mediated public life, what kind of characteristics it has and how it is different from traditional public life. Today’s youth engaging in public life through social networks sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Bebo. In his article Boyd examines “social dynamics of mediated public life” in order to understand the role of technology in shaping public life. Continue reading

Technologies Changing Society

    In the continuation of Here Comes Everybody, Shirky expands on the effects of society no longer being constrained by transaction costs.  In chapter 3 he focuses on how society has come to a period of mass amateurization and its implications; chapter 6 is on new the forms of collective action, chapter 7 is on how powerful collective action can be versus individual action, and his TED talk reiterates these points emphasizing effective use of society’s new tools.

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The Mass Amateurization of Social Communication

In Clay Shirky’s book, Here Comes Everybody, he examines the dynamics of group organization in social, cultural, and political fields, as described in the previous post “Cooperative Frameworks.” Shirky goes beyond this notion in the proceeding chapters and explores the capabilities that new media have given to the user and the ways in which individuals have appropriated new media tools and applied it to collective action.  “Cooperative Frameworks” provides a contextual platform on which Shirky builds his next points regarding self-publishing and collective action via the Web.

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The Shift to Social Communication

In Here Comes Everybody and the lecture “How Social Media Can Make History,” Clay Shirky elaborates on the impact of social technologies and the shift that occurred in the media environment.  Ever since the popularization of the Internet, media has become more social.  Shirky declares on the cover of his book, “revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technologies—it happens when society adopts new behaviors” (160).  In his book and lecture, Shirky reveals how new technologies—such as the Internet and its features like e-mail and websites—allow for society to adopt new behaviors.  These technologies did not cause the changes in society’s behaviors; these technologies empowered society to adopt the changes.

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