Technology appropriation by the people

Clay Shirky: How Twitter can make history | Video on

Clay Shirky talks about the new social media landscape in this TED conference of May 2009. He develops a powerful concept which is very useful when analyzing innovation. He says “tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring“, so that it is only when everybody takes the new shining tools for granted that their use starts blossoming. He was using a couple of exmaples from elections in the US and in Nigeria, where cellphones (texting or video) were used by electors to collaborate in ensuring a just electoral process. In Shirky’s example, the cellphone technology is already gone transparent, and is taken for granted: what is perceived (and acted upon) is the technological affordance of the cellphone. Same thing is happening with the new media from the Web, specifically Twitter, which is growing as an extraordinary tool, but also, is growing beyond being a tool. This is what happens when a tool is appropriated by the people.

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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