Media guru Clay Shirky responds to criticisms in Evgeny Morozov’s December cover story on why dictators benefit from the web. Despite pitfalls, he says, the internet remains a positive force for democracyby Clay Shirky / December 11, 2009 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2009 issue of Prospect Magazine
Now online: listen to a joint Demos/Prospect podcast, with Prospect’s Tom Chatfield interviewing Evgeny Morozov about the relationship between the internet and politics, by clicking here.
Read Evgeny Morozov’s response to Clay Shirky’s essay here
In Prospect’s December cover story, “How dictators watch us on the web”, Evgeny Morozov criticises my views on the impact of social media on political unrest. Indeed, he even says I am “the man most responsible for the intellectual confusion over the political role of the internet.” In part, I would like to agree with some of his criticisms, while partially disputing some of his assertions too.
Let me start with a basic statement of belief: because civic life is not just created by the actions of individuals, but by the actions of groups, the spread of mobile phones and internet connectivity will reshape that civic life, changing the ways members of the public interact with one another.