Since humans are predisposed to working together, new communication technologies serve as a powerful amplifier of this trait. This book in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series explores how networked technologies have given rise to a novel form of social collaboration. This new collaborative society can be described as a collection of companies and services that make peer-to-peer interactions and exchanges possible through technology. Others consider collaborative groups built on sharing as a cover for social injustice and user exploitation, while some think the new collaboration’s economic features have the ability to make society more egalitarian.
The book discusses the “sharing economy” and how corporations have appropriated the term; various peer production models; reasons why people participate in them; collaborative media production and consumption; the definitions of “amateur” and “professional”; and the influence of memes; activism and social movements, such as Anonymous and the anti-ACTA protest; collaborative knowledge creation, such as citizen science; collaborative self-tracking; and internet-mediated social relationships. The book also discusses how these collaborative inclinations will develop in the future and how fake news, bots, and other problems may disturb things.