I loved this book. It is a complete delight, and so powerfully aligned with my own developing thinking about the ways our connected world of the web can be such a powerful force for good in the world, and is more and more (and more) about creating and producing knowledge, and sharing and collaborating to do more and get more good things done. And to think, we used to spend so much time watching TV!
Rather than a review, I just want to share a few favorite quotes, but watch the video, read the book, and embrace the tremendous opportunity our era is presenting to share, to connect, to collaborate and cooperate, to create and produce.
I am partially adjusting and modifying a few of the quotes to elaborate the point each is making.
Today’s twentysomethings cannot begin to understand how profoundly the world has changed:. A much harder thing to explain to them is this: if you were a citizen of the world twenty or more years ago, and you had something to say in public, that you wanted to share publicly, that you wanted others to know you were thinking, you couldn’t. Period.
The spread of digital hobbies hardly seems significant, in part because we’ve learned to regard amateur interests as faintly ridiculous, if not actively suspect. While I was growing up, I learned, without being explicitly told, that grown men who built model trains or woman who created macrame, were, in some unstated way, pathetic. Meanwhile, it was perfectly acceptable to spend hours every day watching The Partridge Family and the Brady Bunch (a task I performed, as most of us did, as if it were my job).
More value can be gotten out of voluntary participation than anyone previously imagined, thanks to improvements in our ability to connect with one another and improvements in our imagination of what is possible from such participation.
The dramatically reduced cost of public address, and the dramatically increased size of the population wired together, means we can now turn massive aggregations of small contributions into things of lasting value.
Quoting Kahle, ‘If you want to have to solve hard problems, have hard problems.’ Defending yourself in advance against the possible ramifications of success has strong diminishing returns. As a general rule, it is more important to try something new, and work on the problems as they arise, than to figure out a way to do something new without having any problems.
The range of opportunities we can create for one another is so large, and so different from what life, until recently, was like, that no one person or group and no one set of rules or guides can possibly describe all the possible cases. The single greatest predictor of how much value we can get out of our cognitive surplus is how much we allow and encourage one another to experiment, because the only group that can try everything is everybody.
The opportunities before us, individually and collectively, is enormous; what we do with it will be determined largely by how well we are able to imagine and reward public creativity, participation, and sharing.
A four-year-old lept off the couch and ran around the back of the TV screen. My friend thought she wanted to see if the people in the movie were really back there. But that wasn’t what she was up to. She started rooting around in the cables behind the screen. Her dad asked ‘what are you doing?’ And she stuck her head out from behind the screen and said, “looking for the mouse.”
Four-year-olds know that a screen without a mouse is missing something [well, not a touch screen]. Here’s something else they know: Media that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for.
Now we will just assume that media includes the possibilities of consuming, producing, and sharing side by side, and that those possibilies are open to everyone. How else would you do it?