Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cognitive Surplus - TLC Book Tour

Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky

Publisher: The Penguin Press
Publication date: June 10, 2010
ISBN: 9781594202537
Pages: 256
Price: $25.95
Clay Shirky's Internet Writings

Ever since I took a social software class as part of my MLIS at Rutgers, I've enjoyed books that look at social media and how it impacts our lives. I liked this book because it not only does that, but it also looks at how social media currently influences us compared to the passive media of the past, and gives us a glimpse as to the directions we might choose take it in the future.

In decades past, we've been purely consumers of media fed to us via radio and television. But the internet allows us all to be contributors--whether we are bloggers, put photos in Flickr, play World of Warcraft, click Like in Facebook, or a myriad of other activities. As a result, we have made excellent resources for ourselves like Wikipedia and a lot of lame stuff too (he references lolcats). Shirky looks at how this impacts us socially, economically, and even emotionally. But then he also discusses how we can move forward with what has been created and what could be created to improve the human condition. His vision is inspiring and gives a lot of food for thought.

When I read these types of books, I love the real-life examples. This book is no exception and I've enjoyed telling my family about the amazing resources that are out there that I didn't even know about. I also enjoyed this book because I could relate with the successes and challenges of social networks he illustrates with the Book Blogs Ning. When I created the network, I had different expectations for it than what it has become. It's not a bad thing at all, but I did have to adapt my ideas to the role the users wanted the network to fulfill. Shirky writes that this is in fact what has happened to all the social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.

This is a great book for anyone who wants to consider how social media is affecting history on a grand scale, or who wants to figure out how they too can get involved as a positive contributor online, even in a small way. There were a few dry spots for me, but the book is well-researched, well-written and one I can certainly recommend.

Other tour stops:

Tuesday, June 22nd: Being Peter Kim
Thursday, June 24th: Graywolf’s SEO Blog
Tuesday, June 29th: Convince and Convert
Thursday, July 8th: Social Media Explorer
Wednesday, July 14th: Debbie Weil
Thursday, July 15th: Beth’s Blog
Monday, July 19th: A Whole Lotta Nothing
Wednesday, July 21st: Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang
Thursday, July 22nd: Six Pixels of Separation
Monday, July 26th: Community Guy
Wednesday, July 28th: Citizen Marketer 2.1
Thursday, July 29th: Nine By Blue
Tuesday, August 3rd: Socialbrite
Date TBD: Chris Brogan
Date TBD: Leigh’s Blitherings

Book 56 of 100 for 100+ Reading Challenge, Book 35 of 50 for the New Author Challenge, Book 43 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge (2010)

Source: I received this book from the publisher as part of the TLC Book Tour.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear that this was an enjoyable read in spite of the dry spots. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

alisonwonderland said...

This looks interesting. I'm going to have to check it out!

Veens said...

I am not sure, I would like to read this one :)

Hope all is well with you :)