Clay Shirky, speaking to the Web 2.0 Expo last week, told this story to illustrate his point that the shift from passive consumption of media to participatory media is not a fad.
I was having dinner with a group of friends about a month ago and one of them was talking about sitting with his 4 year old daughter watching a DVD.
And in the middle of the movie, apropos nothing, she jumps up off the couch and runs around behind the screen. It seems like a cute moment. Maybe she’s going back there to see if Dora was really there.
But that wasn’t what she was doing. She started rooting around in the cables and her dad said “What you doing?”.
And she stuck her head out from behind the screen and said “Lookin’ for the mouse”.
Here’s what 4 year olds know. A screen that ships without a mouse, ships broken.
Media that targets you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for.
His whole talk is well worth 16 minutes of your time.
While I’ve only bounced through four chapters (it’s hard to read linearly anymore! :-), I also highly recommend Shirky’s book “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations”.