Some more about reading interesting books… Clay Shirky of NYU carries the… mmm… suspicious title ‘internet guru’. I’m not familiar with his previous acclaimed book Here Comes Everybody but know many people appreciated the text. Just finished his new one,  Cognitive Surplus, Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. The biggest takeaway for me was his scale of participation, and the value related it,  in/through digital media/networks, from personal to communal to public to civic.

Again, I see this as a possible way of organising ideas or even findings (maybe, maybe :-). It also speaks to me, as I’ve been thinking of modalities of participation; as in the level of the individual (which is what Shirky breaks down in his scale), the level of media institutions, and the level of media policy-making (see, e.g., my chapter in RIPE@2009).

So here’s his scale in a nutshell:

– Personal: participants and benefactors of participation are individuals, get personal benefit (e.g., that others comment their uploads).

– Communal: Collaboration creates communal value, but within that particular community, e.g.

– Public: like communal but very open to ‘outsiders’ and ‘newcomers’ , results also available to those who are not members

– Civic: Like public, but the explicit goal is to improve society. These are the kind of groups Aufderheide & Clark talk about, see the previous post.

What do you think — does this scale of participatory values work in real life?