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April 20, 2019

"A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy" — Clay Shirky


Published July 1, 2003 on Clay Shirky's "Networks, Economics and Culture" mailing list.

He wrote, "This is a lightly edited version of the keynote I gave on social software at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in Santa Clara on April 24, 2003."

I happened on this essay while reading the comments on a Hacker News submission from the New York Times entitled "Wikipedia isn't officially a social network, but the harassment can get ugly."

1) It is jaw-droppingly good, beautifully written and amazingly prescient about today's state of the social internet.

2) Not only does it anticipate the Sturm und Drang going on at Wikipedia and Twitter today, but it also predicts much of what has transpired with the rise of Facebook from its February 1, 2004 beginning — nearly a year after the piece appeared.

3) It is long, so put on your patience pants and skim it and you'll likely stop frequently at the boldface headline breaks to actually read what the man had to say.

April 20, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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