The following post will refer to Clay Shirky’s piece titled: It takes a village to find a phone. See PDF here: Village_phone_Shirky

During January of 2011, protesters flooded the streets of Cairo, Egypt, in opposition of President Mubārak. Because of the protestors’ diligence, and global media influence, they forced Mubārak out of office, and pressured the country to make change. During this time, Egypt ranking 15th among countries regarding citizens using the internet (Kamel, 2014). This is important, because protestors took to social media outlets, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to gain global support regarding their uprising. Not only were Egyptians engaged in the conversations online, but also the world. News and media influences across the globe reported on the uprising and extended the protestors’ influence. Eventually the pressure from such a large global force persuaded the government to make radical change. In Clay Shirky’s book “Here Comes Everybody”, Shirky describes a situation in which social media was used to gain influence among the community, but more importantly the NYPD. Just as social media and other communication technologies are used to communicate with one another, they present themselves as platforms that can be utilized for political and global change. When such a large collective voice puts pressures on those in power, they are forced to respond.

Creating the Architecture of Communication

Clay Shirky, on page 17, talks about how online applications of communication have broadened their architecture to extend the tools to the general public. They way I see this is by looking at the recent change involving gatekeepers. Gatekeepers are the individuals that funnel news and certain information to the public. This can be the top dogs at TV stations, radio personnel, celebrities, newspaper companies etc. These were the people that decided what information the public needed to know. Now, the current state of gatekeepers is debated by many communication researchers, but the major consensus is that they are tremendously weaker than they were before; if not dead all together.  Now, everyone has the ability to find information that they want to know about. The general public now can find a news story and read about it from ten different angles. By giving the general public access to what previously only corporation or media professional had access to is revolutionary. It allows for a more informed public, and that can only benefit society.

I encourage you all to take a look at your own social networks and identify stories or posts that have gained traction and influence from the viral spreading of their message. Everyday we hear stories that, in other decades, may not have gained the traction or attention that they currently gathered. I encourage you to share them in the comments below your post.


  • Kamel, S. H. (2013). Egypts Ongoing Uprising and the Role of Social Media: Is there Development? Information Technology for Development, 20(1), 78-91. doi:10.1080/02681102.2013.840948
  • Shirky, C. (2010). Here comes everybody the power of organizing without organizations. Brantford, Ont.: W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library.
  • Feature photo taken from AP

Let’s Communicate!

Do you think the ability to influence the government and political powers is a good thing?

Are there and challenges or problems that arise with that kind of power at everyone’s fingertips?