Michael Larrabee

Clay Shirky reminds us that for every generation of people there will be a specific aspect of our culture that will drive us and play a major role in the way we live our lives. What he focuses on is what we do with our lives to get through the dull moments of our lives. While there is a huge difference between the way the citizens of London made it through a day with gin to make their lives seem less dull and how we find ways to kill time with our new surplus of free time, something will grab the attention of the majority of us and contribute to the way we express our cognitive surplus. Until recently many people including Clay occupied the majority of their time simply by consuming media from the television with shows such as Gilligan’s Island to make the time go by faster, but today we don’t simply consume media.

With the large presence that the internet holds in our society today and the ease with which we can contribute information to almost any website and form of information found, the collective group of people on the internet can produce more media than anyone would ever be able to consume. All of us consume information, but I would bet that everyone you know has produce and contributed to the shared information found on the internet. Any thoughts shared on a forum or blog can be searched by others. Contributions made to a wiki or articles written and posted online for school, work, or other activities can be found by others as well. When Clay figures out that even a small portion of our free time spent creating content on the internet, while still watching TV would result a huge boost in content, its impressive to see how quickly the amount of information available increases.

The fact that any of us can contribute to the knowledge of the world presents unique consequences that are both beneficial and negative. It’s very hard to sift through all of the misleading content found in a Google search, but if you can make it through that initial part, then there is so much useful information to be found. We can all edit things like Wikipedia, information that is seen by others and we can contribute to popular websites where things you say may eventually find its way out into the general public. It’s always weird when I see something that I’ve been contributing to or consuming for months, suddenly pop up on the news as the new internet fad, such as lolcats as the author mentions. The things I see on the internet that I view to be wholly immature, though sometimes hilarious, become common place. I myself have contributed a lot to different websites and if you know what to Google, you will find things I’ve said. The same could be said for many other people I know.

Response John S. Rampersaud
As time passes and as we advance more and more, people will have more ways of including themselves in the history of the world and the way receive and extrude information. Just look at Epic Beard Man, he was a instant hit on the media passing information across our being making us laugh or look at white on black violence. Either way it was a great video.


Mark Homayouni:
Our generation today is lucky to have new tools to make better use of our cognitive surplus. Throughout time humans have invented new ways to keep themselves entertained.
Watching re-runs of the same old TV show can have a negative impact on our brains. New technology is allowing us to be more involved by blogging, email, texting. This is a big step forward from our previous generation( their cognitive surplus was wasted by watching Gilligan's Island re-runs). What it comes down to today is people are more involved in discussions
and issues on things because the technology allows us to do so in so many new ways. We should be be thankful to live in this time, we can have more of an impact with our views and thoughts, and recieve good feedback. Clay Shirky's thoughts about the Gin crisis were on point because drinking Gin is the only thing those people had to entertain themselves with, after the people got tired of drinking Gin then advances in technology happened. When then people get bored new things get invented. As the future progresses more and more advances in technology will be made and it will enable more people to be involved and have better use of their cognitive surplus.

Alex Morrow

I found this article very interesting in the sense that it is so true - I see my parents sit and watch TV every night. I don't know whether it's a stress reliever, a mind-number, or whether or not they feel it's moving them forward in the world - maybe it's to be able to have conversations about it with co-workers. I know for a fact that's the reason a lot of people watch sports.

Anyways, it's a new day and age just as the author noted. To me, television is the most unproductive - almost waste of time - ever, a waste of cognitive surplus. Strangely I still enjoy zoning out in front of it from time to time. But regardless - most of the time I feel like there's definately something else I could or should be doing. Sadly, most of the time it's homework, but other times it's updating facebook, creating digital media, surfing the web, etc. Even just the absorption of information is more meaningful than watching a TV show. I look at the situation as - what will I get more out of? I try to define the most useful way to spend my cognitive surplus. And if society as a whole could do the same thing, imagine what kind of content could be created. God knows it would be more useful than SA haha!