Clay Shirky: Broadcast Institutions, Community Values

Clay Shirky has a new essay: “Broadcast Institutions, Community Values“. It’s interesting to read, particularly so if you are the King of AOL. Under the late Bob Pittman’s regime, AOL destroyed communities, not built them.

The order of things in broadcast is “filter, then publish.” The order in communities is “publish, then filter.”

If you go to a dinner party, you don’t submit your potential comments to the hosts, so that they can tell you which ones are good enough to air before the group, but this is how broadcast works every day. Writers submit their stories in advance, to be edited or rejected before the public ever sees them. Participants in a community, by contrast, say what they have to say, and the good is sorted from the mediocre after the fact.

As individual “points of light”, weblogs are the new communities.

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