For the final week in our class, we were to read the normal assigned chapters and also watch a video that shows Clay Shirky speaking to an audience about his idea which is called cognitive surplus. He explains in the video what that is all about and how it works. Basically, it means that people are now starting to use their free time in more constructive and creative ways, versus using free time to sit around and be lazy. Another big part of the idea is that since we are in a digital age, collaboration over the internet has become enormous. Shirky uses the example of LOL cats which are simply pictures of cats with funny sayings on the picture. He explains that even though this is a somewhat childish way to use cognitive surplus, it still creates ideas among different people and allows them to collaborate on things that nobody has done before.
It actually took me awhile to figure out a good example that would fit for the idea of cognitive surplus but I think that I have a very good example: the Chive. The Chive is a website and also an app for phones that consists of pictures and videos ranging from sports to movies to almost anything you can possibly think of including just absolute randomness. The people that work there post pictures that are sent in from people around the world and everyone else that has the app can take a look at these pictures or videos. They are broken down into many different categories so they are easily accessible to the user. It has now been around for quite some time and I actually just got into the whole idea about six months ago. Now, I am looking at the Chive app on my phone nearly every day. I think it is a great way to spend some free time because you get to look at pictures and videos that can be amusing, pretty, interesting, or even inspiring. Many times, I find myself looking at the pictures and then sharing them with other friends and they usually will share something right back. It benefits me by showing me things that I have never seen before but they are almost always fun and interesting to look at. I think that it has so many different categories that it would be able to benefit everyone because anybody can go to the website or download the app and instantly become hooked on it. It literally has something for everybody.
I don’t know if I would try to contribute my talents to the effort, simply because it is a professional website that I probably would not be able to comprehend. I am only somewhat computer savvy and wouldn’t really consider getting a job in that kind of department. However, I would try to send in pictures or videos in the effort to try to get noticed by people around the world. It is obviously a longshot but it wouldn’t hurt to try and it is as simple as sending a picture or video to the people who work for the Chive.
To close out this post, I want to say what a fun and interesting semester it has been. Usually for me personally, summer classes can just be slow and boring considering the possibilities that are always around during the summer. However, I must say that this has been probably the most interesting summer class I have taken and it really opened my eyes to a lot of things in the digital world that I had no idea about before. I want to thank our teacher, Michael Cavanagh, and I also want to thank every classmate for putting forth such a great effort week in and week out. It has been fun and I look forward to using the knowledge that I have gained from this class in my future endeavors.