New media expert Clay Shirky, who analyzes the social and economic effects of Internet technologies, will join New York University as a full-time faculty member, with appointments at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and the Tisch School of the Arts.
Shirky, who recently published Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age (Penguin Press HC, 2010), is currently an associate teacher at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the Tisch School.
“We are delighted that Clay Shirky will have a broader role within the NYU community,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts. “As an Associate Teacher for the past 10 years in ITP and a prominent figure in the field of Internet technologies even longer, he has been making the case that the Internet is an inherently participatory and social medium. By bridging the two departments, Shirky will be able to create on NYU’s campus a range of perspectives on the conversation about the Internet’s capacity to convene groups of people and effectively gather and disseminate information.”
“It’s a thrill to be able to return Clay Shirky’s embrace of journalism, as the field’s courtship with technology grows ever deeper,” said Brooke Kroeger, director of the Carter Journalism Institute. “For our students and faculty who engage directly with the future’s big questions, this tightening of bonds with Clay and ITP could not be more timely or more welcome.”
At the Carter Journalism Institute, Shirky will hold the title Distinguished Writer in Residence and will teach in both the Studio 20 graduate concentration and the Media Criticism course sequence for undergraduates; at the Tisch School of the Arts, he will be Assistant Arts Professor and his first new class at ITP will be Designing Conversation Spaces.
Earlier this year, Fortune named Shirky to its “Smartest People in Tech” list, which also included Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos.
“Clay Shirky may be the finest thinker we have on the internet revolution,” observed Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good for You. The Chronicle of Higher Education called him “a kind of spiritual guide to the wired set.” Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson labeled Shirky “a prominent thinker on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies.”
Shirky has written extensively about the Internet since 1996. Over the years, he has had regular columns in Business 2.0 and FEED, among other publications, and his writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, Wired, and Computerworld. Shirky has also authored Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (Penguin Press HC, 2008) and Voices from the Net (Ziff-Davis Press, 1995).
In addition to writing, Shirky has a consulting practice focused on the rise of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peer, web services, and wireless networks that provide alternatives to the wired client/server infrastructure that characterizes the Web. Current clients include Nokia, GBN, the Library of Congress, the Highlands Forum, the Markle Foundation, and the BBC.
Prior to his appointment at NYU, Shirky was a partner at the investment firm the Accelerator Group, an international investment company. Shirky was the original Professor of New Media in the Media Studies department at Hunter College, where he created the department’s first undergraduate and graduate offerings in new media and helped design the current MFA in Integrated Media Arts program.
Before his tenure at Hunter College, Shirky was the chief technology officer of the New York City-based Web media and design firm Site Specific, where he created the company’s media tracking database and server log analysis software. Site Specific was later acquired by CKS Group, where Shirky was promoted to vice president of technology for the eastern region.