How Twitter can make history

Here’s a talk by Clay Shirky about how the changing media landscape is changing the world.

A few takeaways from this talk:

* technology starts making a difference in society when it’s not shiny anymore, when it’s mainstream

* before the Internet, communication media that were good at conversation were not good at creating groups, and media that were good at creating groups were not good at conversation

* the Internet is still changing as it becomes more social

* May 2008 China earthquake: reported on Twitter several minutes before U.S. Geological Survey had any information online; BBC got the news from Twitter. Previous major earthquake in China: took China 3 months to admit it even happened. This is no longer a choice.

* the major change is that media consumers are also media producers. Not only can they talk back to organizations (“a bit freaky, but organizations can get used to it”, but they can talk to each other, building huge, powerful networks)

* mature use of social media: to convene supporters/people, not to control them

* “professionals broadcast messages to amateurs” – this model is over; social media is an environment for convening and supporting groups. It might not be the media model we want, but it is the media model we’ve got.