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The congnitive surplus

April 27, 2008

Some great thinking from Clay Shirky on the real threat to established media content, the idea that people start doing something useful with their cognitive surplus.

“And television
watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year.
Put another way, now that we have a unit, that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a
year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the
U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads….

And
this is the other thing about the size of the cognitive surplus we’re
talking about. It’s so large that even a small change could have
huge ramifications. Let’s say that everything stays 99 percent the
same, that people watch 99 percent as much television as they used
to, but 1 percent of that is carved out for producing and for
sharing. The Internet-connected population watches roughly a
trillion hours of TV a year. That’s about five times the size of the
annual U.S. consumption. One per cent of that  is 10,000 Wikipedia projects per year
worth of participation.

I think that’s going to be a big deal.
Don’t you?

It’s a great new way to think about the 2.0 world and consumer generated content, at last!

From a version of the talk Clay gave at Web 2.0 last week.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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