While learning about Clay Shirky’s idea of cognitive surplus, I immediately related it to work experiences. When thinking about cognitive surplus and joint effort generating collaboration, I thought about tools such as Dropbox and SharePoint. At my work, we use SharePoint to share documents with our department and project team. Using SharePoint allows a team to collaborate and work on one document at the same time. This tool allows for multiple editors. This is a great way to collaborate as a team. Dropbox is a similar tool that I used at a previous job for collaboration efforts.
However, this does not support Shirky’s idea of people collaborating over the internet during their leisure time to benefit humanity. Work is not leisure time. While trying to come up with an idea or project that was similar to Ushahidi, I found myself struggling. It was easier to find less complex examples like the cat memes that were discussed. However, it was something that is heavily involved with this course that got me thinking, blogging! I believe blogging is a collective effort using the internet to generate cognitive surplus.
For example, many people blog during their leisure time. Blogging, at times, is a joint effort amongst the writer and their commenters. Blogging creates value in the world by providing answers, personal experiences, and information to many of readers. Like early in the course, user generated content can be viewed from almost everywhere in the world. In this case, I believe this type of user generated content is a form of cognitive surplus.
How would I benefit from blogging? For me personally, I read a few blogs daily. One of my favorite blogs is Paleo Mom. Her blog is very educational. I love stealing her recipes, gaining nutritional knowledge, and learning from her own experiences. I depend on blogs to gain recipes, workouts, and health knowledge. Readers’ comments are also very helpful. Sometimes, a recipe will not be exact and a readers will comment saying make sure you add a little more of this or take it out of the oven five minutes before. It’s a joint effort creating collaboration amongst the internet.
I would definitely contribute my talents and efforts to this project. I definitely comment on blogs that I am reading and providing insight when I have it. In the future, when I have enough personal experiences of my own, and have a steady healthy lifestyle, I could see myself creating a similar blog and helping other people.
However, I do not think all cognitive surplus is beneficial and worth wasting my leisure time contributing to. For example, wall cats. I would never contribute to this type of collaboration efforts because I see it as a waste of my time and it is not something I am interested in. I would focus more on projects and activities that are closely rooted with my individual hobbies and interests.
Technological determinism and our global village allow us to have such collaboration efforts over the internet. Since our world is much of a global village, cognitive surplus is seen much over collaboration tools used solely for internet purposes. I think younger generations are more apt to participate in this type of collaboration because as mentioned last week, younger generations are marketed more to picking up on trends that are displayed through the internet. Since the internet is such a large place for collaboration, it makes me think if collaboration will be hindered with or without net neutrality. The internet is such an effective way to collaborate with teams whether it is at work, school, volunteer organizations, etc. It would be a shame if people had to pay to use this type of cognitive surplus.
Overall, I learned much during this course. I did not know what to expect when learning about communication in technology. However, I am glad the topics we have discussed were chosen because I learned a lot about issues and technology that I did not know much about.
I hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer, and good luck with fall semester!