Megan Garber writes a review of Clay Shirky's "Cognitive Surplus" on NeimanLab's website which prompts an exchange between fans and one, clearly recalcitrant, @balderdash. Here's the comment that hasn't been published for several days now:
@Patrick Phalen, Ok so Balderdash is pretty clear about his purpose in commenting, given his alias:) Although I have no use for his personal bashing of Shirky, I do think he is raising a fair point.
I get that there is more entertainment value to creating your own webpage for your family and friends than watching most of today's television programming.
But, wasn't making publishing and production tools accessible about the promise for the 98% of the very talented who don't fit the mold of mainstream publishers and production companies to bring their ideas to life?
Wasn't empowering everyone with freedom of speech the promise of the "masses" helping the creative product of these unknown highly talented people rise to the top?
In my opinion, Facebook is fine for folks who want to make their family photo album public (although I suspect there is some novelty to this that will be overwhelmed by the fear of those pictures of your kids getting into the wrong hands). But there needs to be places where people with talent can perfect their craft, discover new tools, learn to use new publishing and production technologies, protect their creations and cultivate a fanbase who will syndicate their work, and enjoy the camaraderie of this process.
Separately, time is not a commodity. Time is scarce. There are only so many hours in the day and how we choose to use it determines the success or failure of any media business. Timing affects scarcity. The more immediate, the more valuable. Technology keeps redefining what "now" means. And it is getting narrower and narrower.
I haven't read Shirky's book yet, but this one issue has me intrigued to buy and read it, based on your review.