Derek Neighbors

The more I learn, the less I know.

Community Shirky’s Sharing Model : Personal, Communal, Public and Civic

By Derek Neighbors, Published on November 25, 2012

Clay Shirky enlightens us in Cognitive Surplus that, “the organization of sharing has many forms” and that those forms have varying output values. He gives us a way “we can identify four essential points on the spectrum”. The four essential types of sharing/value are:

Personal Sharing/Value

“done among otherwise uncoordinated individuals”

examples: ICanHasCheezburger, most general uses of Facebook, etc

Communal Sharing/Value

“takes place inside a group of collaborators”

examples:, etc

Public Sharing/Value

“when a group of collaborators actively wants to create a public resource”

examples: open-source software such as Linux and Apache, WordPress, Wikipedia, etc

Civic Sharing/Value

“when a group is actively trying to transform society”

examples: Pink Chaddi, organized protests in Tunisia, Egypt etc

It is interesting to look at this when evaluating the world of accelerators, incubators, coworking spaces, maker spaces and movements.

Personal Sharing/Value

I have some space that I want to subsidized by others.

examples: executive/shared office space (Regus, etc), incubators

Communal Sharing/Value

I am interested in creating community and getting people involved beyond on the surface level

examples: Most coworking spaces, maker spaces, accelerators, evolved incubators

Public Sharing/Value

I want contribution from everyone at any level to build something meaningful for all

examples: Evolved coworking spaces (New Work City, IndyHall, etc), maker spaces

Civic Sharing/Value

It is about changing humanity for the future

examples: Coworking movement, Maker movement, Startup America, Gangplank

While sharing any form of cognitive surplus provides value. Shirky argues that personal sharing is not as beneficial to society:

“We should care more about public and civic value than about personal or communal value because society benefits more from them, but also because public and civic value are harder to create.”

What kind of value are you creating today?