Monday, 12 May 2008

where is the mouse?

My friend Jud from Seattle sent me an email with a link to the filmclip below, thinking it might interest me. It did.

The clip is a talk given by Clay Shirky, a professor at NYU, at the Web 2.0 Conference on April 23, 2008. Shirky talks about the paradigm shift from being a receiving audience to being participatory.

Two examples: A TV producer asked him "Where do people find the time to edit Wikipedia?" Shirky calculates the total time spent watching TV in the US at 200 billion hours per year. Watching the TV ads alone over a weekend amounts to 100 million hours, and Shirky says "if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project—every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in—that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought." A weekend of TV-ads equates the Wikipedia... Now that's a cognitive surplus!

Second example: Four-year-old kid watching a DVD all of a sudden jumps up, runs behind the TV-set and starts looking for the mouse. Shirky: "Here's something four-year-olds know: A screen that ships without a mouse ships broken. Here's something four-year-olds know: Media that's targeted at you but doesn't include you may not be worth sitting still for."

I have noticed that since I've started blogging I stopped watching TV almost all together. Blogging, taking photos, uploading and (geo)tagging them on Flickr, reading and participating in other people's blogs, beautifying the pages my 85-year-old father writes on wikipedia; it now takes up so much time the TV falls by the wayside. I've thought of bringing back the digital decoder to UPC since it hasn't been turned on in four months.

As a webdeveloper I must agree with Shirky when he finishes his talk with these words: "We're looking for the mouse. We're going to look at every place that a reader or a listener or a viewer or a user has been locked out, has been served up passive or a fixed or a canned experience, and ask ourselves, 'If we carve out a little bit of the cognitive surplus and deploy it here, could we make a good thing happen?"' And I'm betting the answer is yes."

Here is the transcript of the talk if you prefer to read it instead of watching. You could then also participate and leave comments...


Gerrit said...

Brilliant piece, and it also mentions WoW and lolcats.

Nicole said...

I agree! We also have very little need for television. We watch about four hours a week, if that. I much prefer interacting with friends online and sharing my experiences and knowledge and learning from what others have posted. Television advertising is horrific and so are most of the shows.

Juf Jo said...

I was a tv addict, loved it, had the super decoder with lots of extra channels, the thing was one every day.
But then I got this new neo-traditionalist lifestyle and I got more and more annoyed by the disgusting tv shows, their stupidity, the language, the ads, etc, etc.
So one day I just kicked my tv out of the house, I went cold turkey.
That was almost half a year ago, havent missed it one second.
Of course I still have my computer to watch things, but without that flashing box in the corner of my room my life has only become better.