Tag Archives: clay-shirky

Media Consumption and Current Events

As part of their series on ‘media diets’, The Atlantic Wire is asking a number of media luminaries how they manage the deluge of information we all encounter online.

Some names you’ll recognise include David Brooks, Ezra Klein, Tyler Cowen and the following from Clay Shirky discussing his distaste for ‘breaking news’:

In general, there’s no real breaking news that matters to me. I don’t have any alerts or notifications on any piece of software I use. My phone is on silent ring, nothing alerts me when I get a Tweet and my e-mail doesn’t tell me when messages arrive.

I also don’t read any of the big tech aggregators. Knowing that, for instance, Google just bought Blogger, isn’t that useful for me to hear today rather than tomorrow. Some of Michael Arrington’s stuff I think is an example of the worst kind of breaking news. The kind of Apple Insider stuff where they publish something every day to satisfy the news cycle. It’s gossip coverage like following movie stars and it distracts me from thinking longer form thoughts. […]

What are my guilty pleasures? Given the fact that media’s my job—I don’t feel much guilt. There’s no equivalent of eating Häagen-Dazs out of the box. […] That’s the thing about this job. If you think about it, I suppose the guilty pleasure is gardening or cooking. It’s about getting away from media consumption and making linguine instead.

Of all of the articles in the series, Shirky’s is the ‘diet’ my own is closest to.

via @cojadate

Motivation and the Cognitive Surplus

This short discussion between Clay Shirky and Daniel Pink on cognitive surplus and motivation is full of little insights and allusions to interesting pieces of research.

This, from Dan Pink, is a wonderful overview of the research into motivation, presented in typical Pink clarity:

We have a biological drive. We eat when we’re hungry, drink when we’re thirsty, have sex to satisfy our carnal urges. We also have a second drive—we respond to rewards and punishments in our environment. But what we’ve forgotten—and what the science shows—is that we also have a third drive. We do things because they’re interesting, because they’re engaging, because they’re the right things to do, because they contribute to the world. The problem is that, especially in our organizations, we stop at that second drive. We think the only reason people do productive things is to snag a carrot or avoid a stick. But that’s just not true. Our third drive—our intrinsic motivation—can be even more powerful. […]

Both of us cite research from University of Rochester psychologist Edward Deci showing that if you give people a contingent reward—as in “if you do this, then you’ll get that”—for something they find interesting, they can become less interested in the task. When Deci took people who enjoyed solving complicated puzzles for fun and began paying them if they did the puzzles, they no longer wanted to play with those puzzles during their free time. And the science is overwhelming that for creative, conceptual tasks, those if-then rewards rarely work and often do harm.

via Link Banana