Want an overview of social networking and the amazing changes that have been wrought? Clay Shirky explains all in HERE COMES EVERYBODY.

A faculty member of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, Shirky is a consultant, writer and speaker about how and where social and technological networks overlap.

Shirky starts with a simple example of a lost cell phone, left in a NY taxi by a soon-to-be bride. The phone had all the contact information for her upcoming wedding. It ended up in the possession of some gangsta girl who, using racial epithets, refused to return it. Legions got involved online, turning the punks into social pariahs. Finally the NYPD recovered the phone and arrested the girl—an amazing story about a lost cell phone, not something a big city police department would pursue except for the accompanying public outcry.

Shirky closes with the devastating earthquake in China in May 2008, and how words and photos got out despite the Chinese Government’s efforts to squelch any outgoing communications; how it is changing China.

“If people can share their work in an environment where they can also converse with one another, they will begin talking about the things they have shared. The conversation that forms around shared photos, videos, weblog posts, and the like is often about how to do it better the next time.”

Although I’ve worked on computers since the 1980s (before PCs), it took a journalist friend to sort of bully me to get a Facebook page. This year I started a blog. I may try Twitter next. HERE COMES EVERYBODY explains the growth of and value in social networking. It makes it all make sense.

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