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Clay Shirky on the dark side of “Audience”

Over the weekend, On The Media had an interesting interview with Clay Shirky where he talked about the potential dark side of unmediated communication for his new book: Here Comes Everybody

He’s saying that our conception of the “audience” is moving away from a simple media consumer towards that of an actor with real power. He has a couple good examples, especially this quote by a subject of a flashmob’s anger who said “You and what army?” As it turned out, the “army” ended up being a worldwide audience, and the police were forced to step in on a case they would normally ignore; (It involved a stolen camera.)

This past weekend another good example came up. A Vespa interest group held a rally on a California highway the same day a Lexus interest group held theirs. Unfortunately one of the Vespas was run over and the rider was sent to the hospital:

The very next post was a request for the license plate, and eventually a photo of the driver was posted. They then found a link to the sponsoring Lexus IG forum and a back & forth between forums broke out.

Ideally this kind of thing would result in a collection being raised to help pay for medical bills. What I hadn’t considered before was the potential for an “audience” to get out of control. I’d be willing to bet that governments around the world are starting to think along those same lines as well.

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  1. [...] on the dark side of “Audience” Posted in March 3rd, 2008 by in free medical consent forms Labor Law Center Blog created an interesting post today (Clay Shirky on the dark side of â??Audienceâ??).Read [...]

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