The main idea of chapter one in Shirky’s novel is that because of the technological advancements of the digital age that we are currently in, it is now possible for almost anyone to form organizations without the limitations of politics, logistics, government, and finances; in short thanks to the internet anybody has the accessibility to organize a body of people. This opportunity is one that should not be underestimated. The internet allows global communication; social networking sites are changing the way all of us communicate. Recently the world saw how powerful social networking sites can be. The corrupt Egyptian government was recently overthrown by its people. The revolution in Egypt was successful because of the mass amount of civilians that joined together to protest against the government. The main tool of communication that the protesters used to organize and communicate throughout the protest was the social networking site Twitter. Because of Twitter, hundreds of Egyptian civilians across the nation were able to actively communicate through updates on their phone and this lead to a very efficient and effective protest. I may be alone in believing this, but I think that if it wasn’t for Twitter and social networking than the Egyptian protest would either have been not successful or still going on today because the progress would have been much slower.
I think it’s really exciting that we are discussing these issues in class because they are affecting society today. Social networking helped Egypt overthrow a corrupt government; I think everybody can agree that is a good thing. So what’s next, will the internet eventually allow us to create a global democracy, or will people abuse the power of being able to create organizations? In chapter one Shirky discusses a story where a 16 year old teenage mom had a stolen phone and the owner of the phone made contact with her to try and get it back. The girl refused and so the phone owner’s friend (Evan) created a website about the issue. The website became a hit and Evan eventually had a lot of followers. People were not just arguing in Evans favor, but they began insulting the girl. Eventually the NYPD was forced to get involved because Evans website was so powerful and they were able to get the phone back. I personally thought this was a unique story; it was nice to see someone get justice that deserved it, because we all know that doesn’t always happen. Thanks to the internet Evan created a movement that was effective in getting justice served, but this website also did something else, it personally humiliated a teenage girl. This is a great example of the point I am making; is it safe to give anyone the power to create an organization?
Time is the only thing that can answer this question. Right now this power to organize seems like a great thing because of the Egyptian revolution and I hope this will lead to more overthrows of corrupt governments; nations like North Korea might not be able to keep their people shielded from the news of the outside world anymore. But what if somebody with negative intentions forms an organization to do something dramatic; that is something I am fearful of. It is my hope that humanity is civilized enough to use the power of the internet in was that positively contribute to society. I believe there will be people that will try to use the internet for wrong doing, but I like to think that there are more good people than bad people and the powers of the internet will ultimately lead to good causes and a better society.