“The Shock of Inclusion” by Clay Shirky – Response to Key Reading


The Shock of Inclusion – Clay Shirky


In Clay Shirky’s “The Shock of Inclusion” article, his main discussion is based around that of the creation of a larger community and audience through the increase of the Internet.

In his first, introductory paragraph, Shirky suggests the two main advantages and disadvantages of the Internet: the “dramatically improved access to information and very large scale collaborations”, and the “interrupt-driven thought and endless distractions”. However, both of these advantages have actually led to a major disadvantage that hasn’t been mentioned in the article: an increase of plagiarism.

With all of this newly shared information being “free” (there are many debates surrounding this statement which I will not go into now), and the digital natives taking hold of the advantageous access to information, plagiarism, as some may suggest, has become one of the major concerns surrounding the Internet.

This theory links to another statement made by Shirky within this article, which can also be used as contradictory evidence against this idea: “This shock of inclusion, where professional media gives way to participation by two billion amateurs means that average quality of public thought have collapsed.

Even though plagiarism may have increased within this digital era, the simplicity of finding information that is worth copying has increased in difficulty by presenting the user with an array of Internet hoaxes and mistrustful information.

But this shock of inclusion has also lead to another major problem regarding anyone within digital industries. With digital technology becoming easier to use, through the sharing of online tutorials for example, digital natives are posing a threat to anyone either with, or looking to gain, a job within industries such as media. Some may even say that the shock of inclusion theory and debates surrounding the threat of nonprofessionals live hand-in-hand.

The Internet has paved the way for amateurs to build up professional skills in an informal environment, and will continue to allow the competition for digital jobs to increase. The shock of inclusion will move away from being just a title of a theory and will become a real, emotional state felt by those threatened by the nonprofessionals.

Are you starting to feel shocked yet?