Nature says as humans we have a tendency toward our own self-interests considering that we are rational beings. This is according to political philosopher Thomas Hobbes as described by Rheingold in Chapter 2: Technologies of Cooperation. When it comes to the Internet and social networks, users are looking out for themselves, unless there is a higher authority or some benefit to the user themselves for what they are doing.
Keeping what Rheingold describes in mind, Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody Chapter 1: It Takes a Village to Find a Phone seems highly unusual. After gaining an immense amount of followers on Evan’s website, Internet users start to take action against Sasha. This could be an example of collective action as Rheingold explains, yet many times in regards to collective action, people are willing to take but not give. This is the opposite of what happened in Shirky’s Chapter 1; followers worked together to take down Sasha and get back Ivanna’s phone, but there did not seem to be anything in it for them.
Perhaps the thought of social justice being prevailed or a sense of community was enough for the large amount of followers to cooperate. Maybe followers saw Evan as a figure of authority fighting for social justice and felt compelled to help him like the chapter suggests. Either way, the unusually large number of followers that helped Ivanna get her phone back, and the extreme measures went through just for a cell phone is odd when comparing it to Rheingold’s reading.
Looking at these readings as examples, it might be interesting to look at how much self-interest plays a factor when working toward a greater goal such as social justice, and especially when collective action is as easy and fast as writing something on the Internet.