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Clay’s Cognitive Big-Up

July 10, 2010

Bristol recently hosted a talk by new-media guru Clay Shirky – I’ve read his book Here Comes Everyone and I really enjoyed it.  It’s good a mapping broader movements in culture and explaining them via human-level examples.  The full video is just under one and a half hours, but worth the listen:

Festival of Ideas presents Clay Shirky – writer, theorist and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. Clay Shirky introduces and discusses ideas from his new book Our Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.

Clay also has done an interesting interview to the Guardian which included talking about the new paywall that has gone up over at The Times Online

Everyone’s waiting to see what will happen with the paywall – it’s the big question. But I think it will underperform. On a purely financial calculation, I don’t think the numbers add up. Here’s what worries me about the paywall. When we talk about newspapers, we talk about them being critical for informing the public; we never say they’re critical for informing their customers. We assume that the value of the news ramifies outwards from the readership to society as a whole. OK, I buy that. But what Murdoch is signing up to do is to prevent that value from escaping. He wants to only inform his customers, he doesn’t want his stories to be shared and circulated widely. In fact, his ability to charge for the paywall is going to come down to his ability to lock the public out of the conversation convened by the Times.

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