Chapter 2 Clay Skirkey Reflection

How do the conditions that Shirkey describes in his first 2 chapters apply to a project like Wikipedia? 

In chapter 2 of “Here Comes Everybody”, Clay Shirkey says that “we haven’t been able to get organization without organizations; the former seems to imply the latter” (29). In other words, in order to organize people, information, or ideas, there must be an organization already in place.  This can apply to a project like Wikipedia because due to the massive amounts of information that can be stored on it, there must be a way to organize it all. The information on Wikipedia is categorized into topics and subtopics. This very organized structure allows for anyone to be able to find what they are looking for.

The first job of a group is self preservation. If a group does not have adequate funds for utilities, payroll, and advertising, the group will not be able to stay afloat and perform the function for which it was set up in the first place. The creation of Wikipedia made it possible to skip the preservation step. It is self sufficient because it runs on donations and is edited for free by volunteers. Since the cost of coordinating group action is lowered, Wikipedia can shift its focus onto developing and expanding its knowledge base.

In addition, Wikipedia works because it is open for anybody to contribute information. If it had to pay journalists to travel, take photographs, conduct research, and write articles, it would have been too costly and time consuming. With volunteers editing and adding information, the operating costs are greatly reduced.

Projects like Wikipedia make collaboration of organizations easier due to simple navigation, reduced management costs, and being open to contribution by anyone. The invention of Wikipedia has created a platform on which collective action can occur much more efficiently.


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