If you love analogies and examples upon examples then this is the book for you. Clay Shirky explains the technology phenomenon through Gin in London, beef markets in South Korea, world-wide charity collaborations and so much more.

I have only read the first four chapters of his book thus far, but it has talked about the addiction to television and passing through that on to the internet (Chapter 1), the means that people have to use the Internet (Chapter 2), the motive and why people want to use the Internet (Chapter 3), and the opportunities that are available for everyone to use the Internet (Chapter 4).

The text is very, very analogy heavy so it wasn’t my favorite, but it was a good book nonetheless. My favorite and the most interesting part of Shirky’s theory to me is in the third chapter when he talks about the two different types of motivations that people have: intrinsic and extrinsic. “Intrinsic motivations are those in which the activity itself is the reward….Extrinsic motivations are those in which the reward for doing something is external to the activity, not the activity itself” (Shirky, 72). It reminded me of what my class read in chapter eight of Groundswell when the authors talked about “psychic income” motivating people to participate in online forums. People participate for good feelings, validation, a sense of belonging, recognition, or so many other reasons (Li & Bernoff, 160).

I am fascinated with the question that both of these books raised: why do people contribute online? What do they gain from it? Usually, money is not the answer. Extrinsic things are not available. In my opinion, they gain competence and validation, as well as the ego that comes with it.

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