Reference: Shirky, Clay. (2008). Sharing Anchors Community. In: Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. New York: Penguin Books. Pp 25-54.
What I love the most about ‘the power of organising without organisations’ is how easy it is to relate to. Shirky’s idea of how arranging to “go out to a movie” is hard, as “the group’s preferences are less likely to overlap neatly” perfectly epitomises the majority of friendship groups. Using my own friendship group as an example, I realised how true this is. There are 11 of us. We have a Whatsapp group and the only way I can explain us when we are trying to arrange something is this; Shirky says that groups are ‘hard to form and hard to sustain’, which is true. He also thinks that, ‘it becomes impossible for everyone to interact directly with everyone else’ as groups grow, which is also true. Because how can a football player directly interact with every single teammate during a match? They can’t. The ball is passed from one player to the other through direct interaction.
“People take pictures, people share pictures, you see pictures.”
Reading this has made me realise how successful Instagram has become, due to taking pictures and sharing them, adding what Shirky describes as, “a social dimension to the simple act of viewing.” Through tags and hashtags, which you can use on Instagram, photos are “automatically linked”, which makes them easier to access at once, where the majority (if not all) of the photographs presented have similar content. With this, I believe Shirky’s theory of how communications networks “are a platform for group-forming”. Without the internet and mobile phones, myself and my friends would be unable to communicate within a group, since these devices are what we use in order to interact with each other.
“Groups of people are complex, in ways the make those groups hard to form and hard to sustain, much of the shape of traditional institutions is a response in those difficulties. New social tools relieve some of those burdens, allowing for new kinds of group-forming, like using simple sharing to anchor the creation of new groups.”