Clay Shirky's Writings About the Internet
Economics and Culture, Media and Community, Open Source

Clay Shirky thinks about the Internet. He has been doing this in one form or another for many years.

He is currently a Partner for Technology and Product Strategy at the acceleratorgroup, and on leave as Professor of New Media at Hunter College, where he teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs.

In addition to teaching, Professor Shirky's writings are currently focussed on:

  • The Internet's effect in shifting power from producer to consumer in the media landscape.
  • The Internet economy, and especially its effect on national culture.
  • Open Source Software and the post-PC network ecology.
He has worked as a writer, programmer, and consultant, writing for Business 2.0, FEED, Silicon Alley Reporter,, Urban Desires, and net_worker magazine, and working as an online media and measurement consultant with Barnes and Noble, iVillage, Ziff-Davis University, Eisnor Interactive and others, where he practices "Web Archeology", a way of measuring a company's business assumptions against the actual behavior of its online users.

Before leaving to teach, Prof. Shirky was VP Technology, Eastern Region for CKS Group, a global marketing and communications company, having been promoted from the position of Chief Technology Officer of SiteSpecific after its acquistion by CKS. During his tenure at both CKS and SiteSpecific, he oversaw Internet strategy for online advertising and marketing efforts, extending from user tracking and back-end databases to multi-media ads and optimal user paths, and built SiteSpecific's Media Performance Tracking database.

He writes extensively about the Internet, including articles in Urban Desires,, and a quarterly column in the ACM's net_worker magazine. Clay testified against the Communications Decency Act as an expert witness on the culture of the Internet, in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court. Working with the Society for Electronic Access, he has filed commentary with the Federal Government concerning the Clipper chip "key escrow" scheme, Digital Signature Standards, and computer crime sentencing guidelines.

Before there was a Web, he wrote and edited books for Ziff-Davis Press, authoring a book on e-mail and another on network culture, and editing the first book written on HTML. Before that he was a director and lighting designer of avant-garde theater in New York City, working with the Wooster Group and directing his own company, Hard Place theater, which produced and performed "non-fiction theater", pieces created in rehearsal from collages of found sources. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Art from Yale University. Clay Shirky's Writings About the Internet
Economics and Culture, Media and Community, Open Source