Earlier this year, I watched Clay Shirky speak at the LSE. Last month, he spoke at TED@State on the same subject – how social media mechanisms like Twitter and platforms like My Barack Obama are changing the way governments and politics operate. The TED talk has just been put up online, and I found it compelling enough to sit through again despite the fact that I’d already heard a lot of his points. Specifically, I think he lays the foundation for his talk in these very strong words which he admits need backing up (he proceeds to do so): “The moment we’re living through, the moment our historical generation is living through, is the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.”
Given that as I write this, #iranelection is still amongst the top trending topics on Twitter, I think he is onto something here. He may not have been the first person to assert the importance of social media in our current global landscape, but people who think tools like Twitter are crap (and there is actually someone who says exactly that in the comments to the video), need to seriously learn the facts – and about the stories of change.