Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age

Jan. 10, 2011 – Fantastic book by Clay Shirky who also wrote Here Comes Everybody. “Cognitive surplus” refers to the number of hours of leisure time we have collectively as a society. Post WWII, we spent our time watching television – passive consumers of media someone else created. Young people are now growing up in an environment that is highly connected and engaged and they both consume and create the media. Early on Shirky posits “Media is the connective tissue of society.” Then he lays out examples and research that support his viewpoint. One that stuck with me was understanding that people in different generations labeled “Boomer,” “X” & “Y” are not fundamentally different types of human beings. People essentially are driven by similar things, what makes the difference is means and motivation. We grew up in different environments and our experiences drive our viewpoints on many things – including social media, technology and privacy. I highly recommend this book. Shirky does a good job at shifting paradigms to show us a new way of looking at the role of social media – all media – in where we are and where we’re going.

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