What do you do with your free time?
According to Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody, an astounding amount of free time (“cognitive surplus”) is invested in generating open content.
He has a Web site associated with the book which is essentially a blog. This MOSSSIG entry relates to a posting there.
According to calculations he did related to Wikipedia.
So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project–every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in–that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it’s the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.
Some people use their “social surplus” time to watch television. Some knit, some do woodworking, gardening, and so forth. Recently, I have been contributing to this MOSSSIG thing and a few other open content projects. I am retired, my children are grown, and my woodworking is mediocre, so I have an excuse for wanting something productive to do.
After you read Shirky’s post, comment here to answer the question, “What do you do with your free time?”