We’re All In This Together

 Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky brings up many valuable points about living in our new technology consumed world. The author talks about collectivism and how working with others to accomplish a common goal are affected and enhanced by this new technology. Shirky uses examples that are powerful and meant to inspire. In chapter seven he talks about the fall of the Berlin Wall and how people came together to accomplish an impossible task. The examples that the author chose are definitely inspiring, however they are also super important and amazing accomplishments that make our group project seem pretty miniscule. But if a group of people can force a corrupt government to dissolve we can create a really great Comm project, right? I’m sure that is the idea.

Shirky also mentions the concept of “knowing” in chapter seven. To explain, he uses the example of a fire. If two people both see a fire, recognize it’s an issue, and then work to resolve that issue, it’s better for all involved because then they’re working to create (or in the fire scenario fix) something great. This could be applied to our group project because if we all recognize the task at hand, are willing to commit and resolve it, it could turn out to be something really wonderful.

Other ideas we’ve discussed in class such as the TK Zine and the first chapter of Here Comes Everybody drive the author’s previous point home. TK Zine was created, edited, and produced in 48 hours and the story of Evan’s friend’s lost cell phone also took place over a short period of time. These two examples show us that great things can be accomplished in a small amount of time. We have a relatively short amount of time to compile and create our project, so it is nice to know that there are others who have this before and came out successful.

So, sifting through all this information and trying to bring these points together, the conclusion is that we have the tools and resources to readily available for us to create a spectacular project. It will require hard work and may be a little stressful, but as we can see in the examples success is within our reach.


How many times can I use the word “New(s)” in one post?

In the third chapter of his book Here Comes Everybody, author Clay Shirky brings up several thought-provoking points. The chapter discusses the evolution of the news and the new ways in which news is transmitted to the public. Shirky recounts the ‘olden days’ when journalists and editors controlled what events and topics were ‘newsworthy’ and worthy of the public’s attention (or the staff’s own agenda). Essentially the news was exclusive and only a select few of individuals had access to it. That all changed with the internet and the easy access that it gave to the entire world. Shirky starts the chapter with a tale about his family’s newspaper business. When the newspaper USA Today debuted everyone was in a tizzy and feared the influence of the paper in the industry. As we all know and Skirky explains, the newspaper industry had no idea what was about to hit it with incorporation of the internet news sources.

I personally think that online news sources are wonderful. The author used the example of the ding-bat politician (I can’t remember his name and nor do I care to) from Mississippi who said a racist comment at a major event and at super inappropriate time (is there ever an appropriate time for racist comments? Probs not. But this was a huge event in front lots of people!) The majority of traditional news sources attending the event did not even mention the comment. It was up to online sources and the general online community to call out the man’s error. The real advantage is that the internet gives more power to the people and gives more people access to information and the “privilege” of news. This wasn’t specifically mentioned in the article but another advantage is that online news sources and publications are better for the environment. I know some people roll their eyes at this, but it’s an important point y’all!  

A potential disadvantage of the “mass amateurization” of the news is that with so many people blogging and so much information being thrown at our heads every second it can be difficult to root through all sources to find the credible ones. “Amateurization” also brings up the point of who is considered a journalist. Shirky writes about this and uses the example of journalist immunity. With such easy access to information and the ability to create and share information, how will we establish and define a journalist? This is an important aspect that will need to be addressed and determined in the future.

As for the future of media and communications, it’s evitable that there will be some casualties. Traditional newspapers may even disappear entirely. Is this sad? Yes. Will there be nostalgia and fond memories about hopping down your grandparent’s porch steps to pick up the morning newspaper on the lawn? Yes. But as Shirky says about scribes, they were extremely important but when they disappeared it was bittersweet because it meant that society has a whole had greatly improved. The same will be said about printed sources; they were important and great but their end meant the start of something new and beneficial for our society as a whole.

When In Doubt, Cite It Out!

Run DMC might say that plagiarism is tricky. “It’s tricky, tricky, tricky.” I needed to cite that quote because it is more than three words taken from a source.  I would not want anyone to think that I had invented that lyrical gem. But it just goes to show that plagiarism is not a joke and it can be very complicated. There are so many rules and you basically need to live by the mantra, “When in doubt, cite it out.” I think I just made that up, but you can never really be sure. That is the exhausting thing about citing your work. You could have an idea pop into your head and then learn later on that someone else had thought of it before you, and therefore they get the credit. Which makes sense, right? But that still does not stop it all from being confusing and at times wearisome.

In the three cases of Zakaria, Lehrer, and Anderson, plagiarism is a huge issue. I do not believe that the three cases are all the same, and therefore shouldn’t be treated in the same way. Anderson’s case is difficult because it appears that he did not plagiarize on purpose. But at the same time, we don’t know if he was just trying to cover his butt with his statement. However if he plagiarized unintentionally, I think that his book should be continued.  Obviously this time with the proper citations, and Anderson and his editors should be fined. Lehrer and Zakaria are different though. Lehrer blatantly lied and misquoted one of America’s most admired musicians. That was just dumb. I believe that his book should be recalled and he should face the consequences of his actions. The same goes for Zakaria, he lied and said that something was his when it wasn’t and that has its consequences. I think in these two cases the credibility of these men will never be the same. They lost the public’s trust, and probably the public’s respect too. That sounds harsh but unfortunately I think it’s the case.

While citing can be tricky, confusing, and at times wearisome – it is still super important. People should be given proper credit for their hard work. I think this goes for any level but especially within universities. Everyone gets into those moods when they want to slack and don’t want to deal with citing, MLA, and bibliography. But as the three cases listed above demonstrate, plagiarism is not to be taken lightly. It is a serious matter. The principle that should guide us between collaboration, research, and original authorship is simple: if it’s not yours, cite it silly!

Here Comes Everybody – Chapter 2

In the first two chapters of Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky, I believe that the author stresses the point that the internet is a very impressive and valuable tool.  A tool that allows for infinite possibilities; essentially the internet is a game changer. In chapter one the author uses the example of Sasha’s stolen cell phone in NYC. Without the internet Evan would not have been able to get his friend’s phone back. The internet completely changed the story. Another example Shirky uses is the website Flickr and the Mermaid Parade. Before the internet, it was not possible to upload and share photos so easily. People would have had to go through a long, tedious process. They would have taken their disposable cameras to CVS and would have had to wait days before the pictures were developed. The internet drastically changed this. The point relates to Wikipedia because the website is something that never existed before and is a large platform that allows people to easily share information. Again, It changed things.

As the title of the book Here Comes Everybody suggests, the internet is also an incredibly advanced way of bringing people from all over the world together.  This can be seen again in the case of Sasha’s stolen cell phone in New York City. There were people from different backgrounds and people from all over the world that banned together, not only get the cell phone back, but also to embarrass the New York City Police Department. Which apparently is no easy task. Wikipedia does the same thing (not embarrass the NYPD, though it probably could) but rather bring people from all over the world together. Not only do these people come together on the website, but they also do something magical and that’s share large quantities of information. This is a really incredible thing and a very valuable tool. I think that Shirky aims to show this in the first two chapters. We should not take the internet for granted, we should instead use it to its highest potential and appreciate the amazing tool that it is.

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.