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How Can Social Media Make History?

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Power Of Crowds.

About Clay Shirky's TEDTalk

The history of the modern world could read as a history of ways of arguing, social media guru Clay Shirky says. During the Arab Spring, for example, we saw protesters battle their governments' top-down control of news with Facebook, Twitter and text messaging.

As media evolve, Shirky asks, what sort of arguments will we have — and how will it change the governments of nations?

About Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky is an adjunct professor in New York Universityʼs graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program, where he teaches a course named Social Weather. He's the author of several books, including his most recent, Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators.

Shirky's work focuses on the rise of networks and the use of decentralized technologies for social creation and open-source development. "A group is its own worst enemy," he says; new technologies can enable cooperative structures as alternatives to centralized and institutional structures.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR/TED Staff