Clay Shirky

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Clay Shirky
File:Clay Shirky.jpg
Clay Shirky at the 2006 O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference
Born 1964 (age 49–50)
Columbia, Missouri
Occupation Adjunct Professor
Known for Writing

Clay Shirky (born 1964[1]) is an American writer, consultant and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. He teaches New Media as an adjunct professor at New York University's (NYU) graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). His courses address, among other things, the interrelated effects of the topology of social networks and technological networks, how our networks shape culture and vice-versa.[2]

He has written and been interviewed extensively about the Internet since 1996. His columns and writings have appeared in Business 2.0, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and Wired.

Shirky divides his time between consulting, teaching, and writing on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. His consulting practice is focused on the rise of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peer, web services, and wireless networks that provide alternatives to the wired client-server infrastructure that characterizes the World Wide Web. Current clients include Nokia, GBN, the U.S. Library of Congress, the Highlands Forum, the Markle Foundation and the BBC.


Early years and career

Portrait of Shirky by Joi Ito.

Shirky received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University.[3]

In the early 1990s, Shirky was vice-president of the New York chapter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and wrote technology guides for Ziff Davis. He appeared as an expert witness on Internet culture in Shea v. Reno, a case cited in the U. S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Communications Decency Act in 1996.


Shirky has long spoken in favor of crowdsourcing and collaborative efforts online, using the phrase "the Internet runs on love" to describe the nature of such collaborations.[4] He popularized the concept of cognitive surplus, the time freed from watching television which can be enormously productive when applied to other social endeavors.

In The Long Tail, Chris Anderson calls Shirky "a prominent thinker on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies."[5]

Shirky's also written about "algorithmic authority", which describes the process through which unverified information are vetted for their trustworthiness through multiple sources[6].



See also


External links

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