Response to Shirky’s “It Takes a Village to Find a Phone”

Today’s post is on an excerpt from Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. This chapter, “Ch1:  It Takes a Village to Find a Phone,” touches on the power of a group effort and how new technologies are changing and/or expanding our social groups. Shirky describes Evan’s story of retrieving his friend’s cell phone by creating a website and gaining enough attention to get the NYPD involved.

Ivanna forgot her phone on a cab and it eventually found its way to Sasha. Ivanna asked her friend Evan to put out a flyer for her lost phone but ended just buying a new $300 cellphone. Ivanna was able to figure out Sasha had her cellphone because pictures and emails were saved on the phone company servers that were transferred to Ivanna’s new phone. When Evan and Ivanna asked Sasha to return the cell phone she said no. Jerk. But Evan was persistent and soon after he created a webpage to make this story public and he created an “army” to side with him. The story ends Spoiler Alert with Sasha getting arrested, Ivanna getting her phone back, and Evan getting freelance PR work.

Now we can discuss the rights and wrongs, fairness and unfairness but this chapter is more about how Evan was able to gain so much attention for this situation, and with a “former audience,” (people who react to, participate in, and even alter a story as it is unfolding.) he was able to get justice. This story definitely reflects this quote that Shirky included

“Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and I will move the world.” – Archimedes

Evan’s place was the webpage and his lever were his social connections and later a big audience that attracted the media.

Another interesting point Shirky makes is without our sociability new technology would just be new technology. This is why I felt the need to summarize the the cellphone story in this post. The story itself connects us. Many of have experienced losing a cellphone or other expensive item. Without a story this compelling Evan may not have gotten the same amount of attention using the same web tools. But also Evan would not have gotten the same attention for this story without the tools we have today. We are able to increase sharing and reach the people who are interested and want to get involved. What I mean is a newspaper only reaches so many people. Having a story on the internet can reach a very large audience. People on the internet are searching, tagging, reposting content that relates to them and the internet has made it easier for people to connect with those who have similar interests.

Response to Wesch’s “An anthropological introduction to YouTube”

While this is a long YouTube video (average video: 2-3 minutes) Wesch raises a number of interesting points about YouTube and the people who use it. He talks about how we can connect to each other on a deeper level and have a stronger voice or presence through YouTube.

This website has made it easy for us to upload videos to the internet and it encourages people to Broadcast You. Through YouTube people are broadcasting a part of themselves. They upload videos showing their ideas, talents, tips, emotions and so much more. Wesch mentions the “invisible audience,” which I found quite interesting. He shows us examples of various vlogs in which most of these people are alone talking to a camera. But it doesn’t stop at the camera, the video is uploaded to YouTube where it is made public and the vlogger can have an audience. As one girl puts it, “I’m talking to you but for the time being, I don’t know who you are.” Wesch further explains that because we don’t see the audience at the time or we are often in our private room or home we can show a real side to ourselves. And while we watch others we can, “stare and see for who they are,” and “watch without staring or making them uncomfortable.” and because of this we are able to connect deeply.

I think YouTube just allows a larger audience and easier sharing capabilities. We’ve had the invisible audience notion since the camera was made and it was able to capture sides of people that we don’t usually see.

I also liked how Wesch talked about collaborations across time and space. He first mentions it when he collaborated with someone from the Ivory Coast using his music for his video. He also shows another example with MadV’s “The Message.” This video incorporated people from all over and it was interesting to see that many of them had a similar theme of oneness.