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TED Star Clay Shirky on the Future of the Social Web

By Hootsuite Video Team | 6 months ago | No Comments

If you want to understand the trends in online life and the future of the social web, there are few better people to ask than Clay Shirky. The author, speaker, theorist, and scholar of all things online has built a reputation for his big-picture perspective on what’s happening now and incisive insight into what might happen next.

Even if you haven’t read his books, you may know Shirky from one of his blockbuster TED Talks. 1,353,000 people have now viewed his 2009 talk in which he explains “how Facebook, Twitter, and TXTs help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors.” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might want to consider giving it a look.

Returning to his old stomping grounds (albeit on new actual ground), Shirky was in Vancouver for the 30th TED this week. For the first instalment of our new series, “Social World,” we caught up with him outside the conference.

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Matt Foulger
Matt Foulger

I think the key point here is that social interaction can never be reduced to one platform, but you still need interoperability between those platforms. As Shirky says, no single network can dominate all social interaction. People will always want to express themselves through different online personas or avatars (dana boyd has also spoken about this, with regards to teens especially). However, the next stage of the social web's development is about allowing people to manage those different networks and personas and even allow them to overlap in constructive ways.