Television weakens the will of active people.
I know that feeling. Professor Frey does without television completely, from what he said, as a route to optimising his own happiness function.
I asked Professor Frey if any similar research has been conducted in relation to the internet: as to whether the internet might do the opposite. He was not aware of any. It’s hard to tell from personal experience; I’m still in the process of evaluating whether or not extensive interaction on the internet is a time-sink or a route to more expansive individual productivity. No doubt there is an optimum balance, and discovering it may be more a matter of luck than judgement. The galloping growth of social media is frequently disdained by professionals in the mainstream media; the glib response, shared by a good number of ordinary friends and acquaintances, is that these social media types (to which I now increasingly actively belong) need to get a life.
But a couple of weeks ago I interviewed Matt Mason whose book The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Hackers, Punk Capitalists, Graffiti Millionaires and Other Youth Movements Are Remixing Our Culture and Changing Our World (Allen Lane/Penguin) I’ll be reviewing sometime this week, alongside some interview snippets. You can get hold of the US version here. Matt recommended a new book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (Allen Lane/Penguin) (US version available here) by Clay Shirky.
From the following video, it’s clear why Matt is recommending Clay’s work. Clay quantifies rather neatly in an historical context what is going on in terms of shifting patterns of behaviour, and why Wikipedia is so important to understand in a more positive light than many do. Above all, in a very amusing way, he highlights why the old-media perception of this phenomenon is so often wildly misconceived in terms of how attention is distributed these days. Of course, what Clay does not highlight is the malign possibilities of this cognitive surplus combining in the wrong way.
Thanks to Dave Morin for the pointer.Donate and help me buy back my Fender ('About' tells you why)