Clay Shirky, social media theorist, is an adjunct professor in NYU’s graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program, where he teaches a course called “Social Weather.” He is also the author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.
Shirky’s view of the Internet is wholly positive. He proposes cognitive surplus, explaining it’semerging from the means, motive, opportunity (it’s communal), and culture (meaning the shared assumptions about operations). He, like many others, understands that young people are moving away from the consumption-only model of interactive media and undertaking a kind of “positive deviance,” when an individual’s behavior exceeds that of the norm, even when confronting structural challenges.
“Cognitive surplus” is the raw material of participation and continued connectedness through digital technologies.
“Increases in community size, decreases in cost of sharing, and increases in clarity all make knowledge more combinable, and in groups where these characteristics grow, combinability will grow” (142).