My theory gets me so excited

infinity.jpgWhy do so many books on new media and society have such hyperbolic titles? In the last year we’ve had David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder, Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, and Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand. Everything, everybody, endless, unlimited! But there is nothing new about having an impression of a trend and then extrapolating from it a book title suggesting a total transformation of human organisation. Nine years ago we saw James Gleick’s Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything. Whether just about everything has accelerated has been the subject of many sociological studies since. However, asking if the claims of Weinberger, Shirky and Anderson will be verified by studies in a decade is perhaps missing the point. Books like these are missionary. The authors want to make everything miscellaneous, help everybody organize without organizations, or deliver endless choice.