Here Comes Everybody

I think that Clay Skirky’s introduction to his book Here Comes Everybody: Organizing without Organizations fits well with his topic. The tagline to the book is Organizing Without Organizations and the epic story about Ivanna’s lost cell phone represents that well. The opening story grabs the readers attention because it recounts the tale of Ivanna, your typical white girl living in New York City, who left her expensive cell phone in the back seat of a quintessential regular taxi cab in New York City. Everything seems very normal because this situation has happened and will continue to happen to many people. The story is relatable and almost generates anticipation of what is going to happen next that will make this everyday story interesting. That is one reason I believe the author opened with this particular example.

However as Shirky continues we learn that this normal everyday occurrence is not so normal, and it turns into something rather extraordinary. Ivanna’s friend named Evan comes into the picture and creates a website recounting the tale of his friend’s stolen Sidekick. At this time we had learned that the phone was now in the possession of Sasha, a teenage Puerto Rican mother living on the other side of the city. A whole crazy saga unfolds and racist comments are exchanged, the NYPD gets involved, and so does over a million internet readers of Evan’s site. We quickly learn that this is not your everyday theft. Eventually Ivanna gets her phone back and Evan gets his satisfaction of beating a teenager; however, the most incredible aspect of this story is the huge amount of public interest and attention this everyday event received. Thousands upon thousands of people (without an organization or really being organized) came together for a common cause. Shirky states at one point that Sasha had the misfortune of getting a phone that had a million people on the other end and that they were all essentially calling for her demise. The title of the book says it all – here comes everybody.

I think this story was a great choice for the intro to the book because is clearly shows how powerful the internet has become. The author even states this in the text saying that there was no way that five years ago Evan could have achieved the same results because the tools did not exist. But technology, and the internet along with it, has flourished and given everybody the chance to share and to have their story heard.

Assignment 1 – Wake up & smell the social media

Mr. Timothy McSweeny is witty, I have to hand it to him.  His two essays ‘Internet-Age Writing Syllabus” and “College Writing Assignments with Real-World Applications” are comical and at some points I actually did LOL. “HFACTDEWARIUCSMNUWKIASLAMB” (“holy flipping animal crackers, that doesn’t even warrant a response; if you could see me now, you would know that I am shrugging like a mofu, biotch”) – that one got me. The sarcasm is very apparent in these two essays and I think that is his most powerful tool.  How do you get college students to actually listen to you? – humor. Throw in some sarcasm? – even better. The fact that McSweeny uses this shows that he understands his audience and through this his point is clearly made. Social media is a huge part of our lives especially in our generation and the ones that will follow. The education system and the way that courses are taught must adapt to this in order to be successful and efficient. Who wouldn’t want to become successful and efficient?  However the biggest point the author makes is  how important it is to monitor yourself on social media sites because they are so easily accessible and pretty much everywhere.

McSweeny talks about the generation gap in the syllabus in weeks 2 and 3. He references The Lorax and indirectly efficiency, “Thus, while older generations wax nostalgic about curling up by the fireplace with a good book or the Sunday paper, students will be encouraged to remember The Lorax (the animated anti-logging-industry television special, not the book).” E-readers are more cost efficient and better for the environment. The first part is all that companies really care about and the second is a win-win bonus for Mother Nature, but it’s the truth. McSweeny’s point on moderation is clearly shown throughout both pieces but I think the perfect example comes from the syllabus in week 7. “Lydia is lounging about in her underwear at 401 Park Street apartment #2, feeling guilty about telling her boss that her uncle died but enjoying the day off.”  Case and point.