Clay Shirky talks about cognitive surplus in this Ted talk.
Now it’s tempting to want to get the Ushahidis without the LOLcats, right, to get the serious stuff without the throwaway stuff. But media abundance never works that way. Freedom to experiment means freedom to experiment with anything. Even with the sacred printing press, we got erotic novels 150 years before we got scientific journals.
I love this quote for several reasons. First, it amuses me that he points out that the printing press and writing word are not the hollowed institutions we librarians often like to think they are. Secondly, it’s about risk and innovation.
Many of the things we take for granted in relations to the printing press didn’t come to be until 150 years after initial attempts at invention. Imagine if someone had decided it was a waste of time, or effort or made no difference or discouraged its use.
Read the book, Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. I’ve bought it, but haven’t started it.