Clay Shirky opens up his TED talk with a true story about Kenya, and some of its citizens. During 2007 there was a dispute with the presidential election and ethnic violence broke out in the country. Quickly following there was a media blackout, during which a lawyer in Nairobi was chronicling the events in a blog. As she was tracking the violence and keeping others informed the comments began to streamline and if they contained pertinent information, she would collate them and re-post them for others to easily see. She reached a point where she could no longer keep up and must have lamented in a post that she wished there was an easy way to categorize and aggregate all of this information automatically. Two volunteer programmers responded and launched Ushahidi.com, which is in open sourced website which does just that, and puts it all on a map. Since then platforms of Ushahidi have been used in countries and projects all around the world. Shirkey suggests that to be able to take a single idea and have it reach global deployment within the space of three years, you need both digital technology and human generosity. Now that we have the tools and the technology, we need the time, energy, and ideas and we need to put them out there. There is over 1 trillion hours a year of free time on this planet, and it is a curious notion to think of what all those hands and minds are doing during it. In the 20th century, our outlets of media and technology were not advanced enough to see what everyone else was doing, except for what was presented to us by a small host of producers. Shirkey suggests that we were “couch-potato consumers” because there were no other options for us. Now that we can, through the internet, peak into the musings and creations of others, we get a glimpse of what goes into some of those 1 trillion hours (though sometimes you wish you could delete a glimpse)
“Even the stupidest creative act is still a creative act,” Shirkey says,...
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