Clay Shirky on Mobile and Twitter

I’ve been a long time fan of Clay Shirky. For instance, I loved his seminal “Permanet, Nearlynet, and Wireless Data” essay back in 2003 – still a must-read if you haven’t.

He’s always great value as a writer and as a speaker, so if you haven’t seen his TED talk on mobile, twitter and a few other areas, watch the video I’ve embedded below.

Clay picks up on a lot of the themes we’ve been writing about for a long time at MobHappy, including the idea that mobiles will be one of the first technologies where reverse global tech transfer takes place. In other words, how people use mobile in developing countries will influence how we use them in the developed world. The example he gives is vote monitoring in Nigeria was transferred to monitoring the US elections, but we’ll see many more in areas like mobile payments, social media, recruitment and indeed, politics.

Another case study he gives concerns how politics is using social media. In Obama’s case, to establish meaningful dialogue (ie two way) and in China how the ruling party is losing control of the political agenda. I think that eventually, we’ll see Direct Democracy arrive to replace representative democracy, but that’s another story.

Have a look.

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