Does the internet make you smarter? How can social media help make history? These are just a couple of questions that Clay Shirky attempts to address with regards to technology, more specifically new technology. As a social media theorist, his work focuses primarily on how new technology, such as social media applications and programs, is changing the way society operates. He believes in the increasing value of these technologies in facilitating collaboration among society. For instance, in the “How Social Media Can Make History” TED talk, he describes how Twitter and Facebook are slowly emerging as outlets to report news as they happen. He specifically described a recent event in which China experienced an earthquake, prompting its citizens to text, tweet, and update their statuses about the earthquake as it was occurring. In fact, the Chinese news stations hadn’t even officially reported anything until they saw all the tweets about it on Twitter, demonstrating just how omnipresent social media is in this day and age.
As a college student, it would be hard to deny that social media isn’t significant in our lives. I know that I check my Facebook and Twitter several times a day. In fact, as I was typing this blog, I’m sure I’ve checked it at least ten times. Therefore, I feel as if Shirky would be a very dynamic speaker if he came to Bucknell because his theories are something with which we can relate, especially with regards to the “Bucknell Bubble.” As embarrassing as it is to admit, since I’ve been trapped in the “Bucknell Bubble,” now I find out about a lot of substantial world events through what is trending worldwide on Twitter, as opposed to watching the news. Shirky addresses this emerging phenomenon and more, including the unlimited potentials of social media. Since these “decentralized technologies” are probably not becoming obsolete anytime soon, it would be interesting to hear Shirky’s theories on the emergence of social media and its economic, social, and political implications.