Another great talk by Clay Shirky available through Tedtalks. Watch it if you have 17 minutes break from work. Besides giving some examples of how social media are changing collaboration and cooperation in society, he makes a very important point: social media can have enormous impact because it can leverage existing social capital, existing networks between people. If you look at his example of the earthquake in China: social media made it possible that the first reports were online by citizens before the institutions could break the news. But it is through the social relationships with these citizens with other chinese people residing in other countries (and other nationalities too) that it could flow. So social media without the social capital is not really revolutionary... I think this is also a lesson for organisations- if you have never built a good constituency- don't think social media will build that for you. If you have already build it, social capital can make it more powerful..
What do you think? Or can social media also help to build networks from scratch?