Free time: from sitcoms to building the web

A couple little stories from this video clip got lots of coverage, but the whole thing is a great summary of the societal transformation we’re currently experiencing. The short stories: this Wikipedia advocate, Clay Shirky, took umbrage when a TV reporter asked him “where do people find the time to edit Wikipedia?” And the other one, a story about his friend’s 4 year old daughter looking for the “mouse” so that she could make the TV show she was watching become more interesting.

The stories are cute, but the full video is epiphanic. It made me think about all this stuff in whole new ways. It’s a little long by web standards, but totally worth the time.


6 Responses to “Free time: from sitcoms to building the web”

  1. That is an awesome fact that should be on everybody’s fingertips for discussions about Wikipedia:

    All of Wikipedia (every article, every talk page, in all languages) represents 100 million hours of human thought.

    That is the same amount of hours spent every weekend in the United States watching only the ads from television shows.

    (at 5:15 min)

  2. You can read it here, if you’d rather – I haven’t watched, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same thing.

  3. I don’t have time to watch it. :P So if everyone who watched TV took just half an hour out of every weekend to edit Wikipedia, say, vandal fighting or correcting grammar, or…

  4. I just picked up Shirky’s book, “Here Comes Everybody,” and so far it’s a great read. In a nutshell, if you’re in line with 35 other people and someone proposes a wager of $50 that no two people in line share the same birthday… take the bet.

  5. Scott, what if you’re in a room with 35 people and there are NO WINDOWS? Oh wait, that’s another topic…but seriously, can I borrow that book when you’re done with it?

  6. I read the transcript of that speech (I can’t sit still and watch web video! I just can’t!) and I dug it. At the same time, I kept thinking of this: I spend a lot of time on the Tubes doing a lot of things, some of which are wonderful and enriching, many of which are probably no more enriching than, say, yelling at the television set. So perhaps he’s a little overly hopeful. But that’s not the worst thing in the world.

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