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Clay Shirky at Web 2.0: Gin and Cognitive Surplus

This was my favorite talk at the Web 2.0 Expo – probably one of my favorite talks period. I promptly went out and bought Clay’s new book, Here Comes Everybody, and am working through that right now. It’s good.

The big question he answers is, “Where do people find the time?”

Enjoy the 15 minute video:

Read the transcript here.


  1. Interesting
    Drinking Gin as a precursor mind numbing TV

    He might as well have added the time we waste from 8 to 5 going to the “office”

  2. @Fimbo – Exactly! Isn’t this why so many living the “cube life” drink themselves into a stupor? 🙂

  3. “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.”

    On point! My 2-yr old would rather sit on my lap as I attempt to work on school projects…with hopes that I’ll eventually land on one of those kiddie games’ sites that his 7-yr old sister has introduced him to.

  4. Here! Here! Now that I am knee deep in Web 2.0, I honestly don’t see myself leaving any time soon.

  5. Nice talk, rhetoric somehwo reminds me of David Weinberger.

    Uhm. Isnt the message something we already know? I.e.: watching tv = waste of time unless it is interactive. On the other hand, yeah – what a beautiful explanation of what Web 2.0 is about.

    I guess you’ll also only attach to this if you’re from the US with their tv world & surplus of channels/ the role they are playing.

  6. “I guess you’ll also only attach to this if you’re from the US with their tv world & surplus of channels/ the role they are playing.”

    Americans may watch more TV than other nationalities, but we also work more hours per week and take less vacations. Some people just want to relax at the end of the day; they’ve worked hard enough.

  7. You know what,
    There is a statement in the talk that may go unnoticed.
    It is that most web2.0 “user centric” initiatives fail after sometimes because i assume the 2 or 3 guys/hosts who do most of the contributing (while the others are watching tv) get burnt out

    But have no fear, that is where web3.0 will come in.

    Under the web3.0 government

    1. the computer itself will be smart enough to stand in for a human user.
    2. the tools will improve sufficiently for passive as opposed to active participation– think voice and touch screens replacing keyboards, mobiles, ebook readers replacing computers
    3. audio, video and pics replacing text

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