Clay Shirky on Twitter and the media

clayshirky by joi on flicker

clayshirky by joi on flickr

Strange how some things really make ideas click in your head.  This is one of the “!” moments, but I’m not sure why, considering that I’ve been reading a lot of articles recently on the subject of the future of newspapers.  This talk by Clay Shirky really stands out for its simplicity.  The first half is about Twitter but the most interesting part is when he talks about media.  Here’s some of it:

We are increasingly in a landscape where media is global, social, ubiquitous and cheap.

… the audience can talk back… [and] the audience can talk directly to one another; because there are a lot more amateurs than professionals

As recently as last decade, most of the media that was available for public consumption was produced by professionals.  Those days are over, never to return.

The media landscape that we knew… [where] professionals broadcast messages to amateurs … is increasingly slipping away.

In a world where media is global, social, ubiquitous and cheap…. where the “former audience” are now full participants.  In that world, media is less and less often about crafting a single message to be consumed by individuals. It is more and more often a way of creating an environment for  convening and supporting groups.

Whether or not that is the media environment that we want to work in, that is the media environment we’ve got… [the issue is] how can we best make use of this medium, even if it means changing the way we’ve always done it.

The bottom line is that the printed newspaper cannot meet the requirements of the way that people are increasingly engaging in news stories.  Its form factor and delivery method cannot be adapted to meet these requirements.


  1. Pingback: The printed newspaper doesn’t work for the Net Generation « Spare Cycles
  2. Pingback: How Ray Kurzweil is killing the printed newspaper « Spare Cycles

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