He has blogged an edited transcription of his infectious discourse, Gin, Television, and Social Surplus. And now I am wowing.
Shirky explains that at each major shift in society – from the ages of agrarian to industrial, to information, to Web – it’s too much to handle, so we self-anesthetize (with gin, sitcoms, what have you) for awhile before we’re able to figure out what to do.
He goes on to explain that our kiddos are growing up expecting all media to include the ability to not just consume, but to produce and share. What a beautiful definition of that phrase I hate, “Web 2.0.”
I was having dinner with a group of friends about a month ago, and one of them was talking about sitting with his four-year-old daughter watching a DVD. And in the middle of the movie, apropos nothing, she jumps up off the couch and runs around behind the screen. That seems like a cute moment. Maybe she’s going back there to see if Dora is really back there or whatever. But that wasn’t what she was doing. She started rooting around in the cables. And her dad said, “What you doing?” And she stuck her head out from behind the screen and said, “Looking for the mouse.”
Here’s something four-year-olds know: A screen that ships without a mouse ships broken. Here’s something four-year-olds know: Media that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for. Those are things that make me believe that this is a one-way change. Because four year olds, the people who are soaking most deeply in the current environment, who won’t have to go through the trauma that I have to go through of trying to unlearn a childhood spent watching Gilligan’s Island, they just assume that media includes consuming, producing and sharing.
Has anyone read his book? Did you enjoy it?
Incidentally, I’ve been reading Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age, in which he describes a future media world that includes (inte)ractives and (inte)ractors. Payors buy the ractive they want to participate in, and ractors play some of the parts in the story. This book was published in 1995.