This is an old article. (2002.12) It quoted him saying:
“The Internet was the first new tool to help convene group conversations since the invention of the table.”
This ability to hold groups together and make them work effectively across distance holds one of the keys to the power of the Internet in the coming years.
Alongside this profusion of practical social software innovations, there have been comparable advances in our theoretical understanding of social networks. We’re beginning to get a clearer sense of how networks work-particularly in contrast to hierarchies, which, despite much talk to the contrary, are still the overwhelmingly dominant organizational form within business. We have a better grasp of how sub-networks form within groups, and why some groups succeed, while others, organized in a slightly different way, fail. Shirky studies both sides, the tools and the theory, which often are complimentary. Social relations are now being made more explicit by using new tracking and mapping software that captures and represents the interactions of a group in real time. And understanding what a group really needs to succeed is informing new software development.