Shirky in the Gothamist

· The Power of Many

Clay Shirky is interviewed in the Gothamist, and he has (as usual) the definitive insight into what this whole nanopublishing “thing” is about:

[Q] Blogs: beloved little observations grouped sequentially. I’m almost afraid to ask the question but what’s your brief take on where all this blogging is headed?

[A] It’s headed everywhere, because the underlying pattern of cheap amateur publishing is what’s important, not the current manifestations. The word blog itself is going to fade into the middle distance, in the same way words like home page and portal did. Those words used to mean something relatively crisp and specific, but became so overloaded as to be meaningless.

Already blogs are used for groups of teenagers to bitch about their lives, as on many LiveJournal sites; to track gossip, politics, and tech trends, as with Gawker, Wonkette, and Gizmodo; as an adjunct to political campaigns; and as a kind of giant distributed OpEd page. Too much for one little word.

So forget about blogs and bloggers and blogging and focus on this — the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just got a whole lot lower. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is going to be vast.

The interviewer assumes that Shirky has “seen the future”, which seems a safe bet. In response, Shirky does mention the FCC and the Web, but notice that mobile phones come up twice. Shirky is, as usual, brilliant on almost everything; his intuition on fashion is impeccable, even if his execution of it isn’t. And because it’s New York, the comments even include a second opinion on Shirky.