Thanks to Penguin, I am reading an uncorrected proof copy of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, which will be one of the most compelling and influential social media books of the year. The improbably named Clay Shirky has done a splendid job of bringing together a wide range of themes into a highly readable whole that effortlessly manages to be much more than a sum of its parts.
Shirky has a piercingly sharp eye for the spotting the illuminating case studies - some familiar, some new - and using them to energise wider themes. His basic thesis is simple: "Everywhere you look groups of people are coming together to share with one another, work together, take some kind of public action." The difference is that today, unlike even ten years ago, technological change means such groups can be form and act in new and powerful ways. Drawing on a wide range of examples Shirky teases out remarkable contrasts with what has been the expected logic, and shows quite how quickly the dynamics of reputation and relationships have changed.
The thesis is not new but the achievement of Here Comes Everybody is in bringing together the argument in a focused and accessible way. Put simply, it is an exciting read that demands serious attention.
Expect to hear much more...