Clay Shirky essay

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This book report evaluates the literature in the article “Does the Internet Make You Smarter” by Clay Shirky. According to the literature, the rising popularity of the digital media has caused considerable invasion of the communication system by unprofessional materials. This has greatly compromised the quality as well as professional culture that have formed the basis of the system’s success (Long P. & Wall T., 2009).

The digital media has almost entirely changed system of dissemination of information in the world. However, its resurging popularity has significantly watered down the quality of information disseminated presently. This is mainly due to the fact that non-professionals have invaded this field to the extent that cultural norms have become meaningless thereby leading to intellectual collapse. Although this was predictable from the stories of the Gutenberg press in Europe, nothing was done to prevent it leading to the unfortunate situation the world is in presently. Understandably, it was due to the printing freedom resulting from the emergence of Gutenberg press that various versions of the bible appeared, most of them vulgar (Nelson T., 1990). 

According to social scientists, ignoring the institutions of intellectual production could have both positive and negative impacts on the people. For instance, Wikipedia successfully utilized the scientific revolution of peer review to create the most comprehensive reference material within a very short time with the engagement of volunteers. However, digital media continues to undermine these gains with every passing day. For instance, Americans spend a similar number of hours that it took to create Wikipedia just watching the television in a single weekend. Ideally, this time could be gainfully spent expanding or creating similar reference materials for global use. This is exemplified by the Ushahidi forum by Kenyans that aggregates information from all over the world to keep the citizens informed (Long P. & Wall T., 2009).

In conclusion, the emergence of the digital media has enabled fast and easy communication. However, its negative effects on learning raise several questions about its suitability. As such, the global society must change their perceptions about the use of digital media if they wish to retain integrity and ethics in learning (Nelson T., 1990). 

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