In our final week’s video we were to watch a TED talk given by Clay Shirky on Cognitive Surplus and how such time can be utilized to make profound changes in our world. Shirky discusses cognitive surplus as the free time that people have when not working or performing the necessary duties in one’s life. Many people use this time to watch television and basically “veg-out” which, in my opinion and Shirky’s, is a waste of time that could be spent doing more constructive and meaningful things.
In his talk he discusses how when violence broke out in Kenya, an internet blogger named Ory Okolloh started writing about the events transpiring in order to deliver a more clear picture of what was happening, as well as a more immediate, localized description of where incidents were taking place in the country. The site Ushahidi came about as a collective work because there was simply too much information and occurrences for Okolloh to write about alone. This type of collective effort has been labelled civic value, one that is created by a few, but enjoyed by society as a whole.
There are many other examples of collective effort that have civic value in the lives of internet users. Some such efforts that have really been developing in our country have been the ones dealing with the immigration problems that have been headlining our news as of late. There are organizations on both sides of the issue trying to get their message across to the masses, however, only one side seems to want to inform. Everyone can agree that some sort of reform is necessary in order to restore the chaos that has been happening, they just can’t agree on what that is. The right side wants to ship everyone home and put up an electric fence on the border, while those on the left take a more humanitarian approach and try to resolve the situation by accepting people into the country with certain terms and legalization. I am obviously on the more sensible side, the latter.
I think that this is an issue that affects everyone, so I would benefit by being more informed of the situation as well as learning how I could help out. This isn’t some sort of interactive map being created, but the collective effort of those who wish to do better in this world by allowing immigrants to come to this country. I mean most of the people in this country came from immigrants at one point or another.
As far as if I would contribute my talents towards this effort, absolutely, but not anytime soon. As we have been writing our final blogs of this semester, my wife gave birth to our first child, a baby boy! So now, all of the cognitive surplus I might have had available is now used to change diapers and assist in nursing. It has been a pleasure participating in this course and reading all of your wonderful blogs! I wish everyone the best in life and to keep posting pictures of your lolcats… and I’ll keep deleting them!