Clay Shirkey’s “It takes a village to find a phone” is a very interesting tale about how a simple lost phone in a taxi cab became a much bigger phenomenon than what it first seems. Ivanna, a normal woman riding any old New York taxi cab, had left her phone in the backseat of that very cab one late may afternoon. That phone contained lots of information that she needed to retrieve, and she soon asked her good friend Evan to help her offer a reward for its return to her.
Well what ensued was quite amazing. Eventually they found out who had taken the old phone, and back-and-forth emails went on for quite some time. Their were some nasty conversations from the person with the old phone, threatening violence and basically telling Ivanna and Evan to go screw themselves. Evan then created a simple website named StolenSidekick, and from then on the entire endeavor changed as it soon spread through the internet.
Evan was getting tons of response emails and had to set up a board where everyone who had an opinion could voice themselves. Some members of the NYPD got involved and soon after Sasha, the woman who possessed the old phone, was arrested. “I never in my life thought a phone was gonna cause me so many problems”, said Sasha’s mother as they took her away. The internet changed the entire outcome of the simple lost phone, into some sort of crazy justice that Ivanna and Evan had been seeking.
Here are some things that struck me the most:
1. The fact that Sasha and her family thought they would be far away and immune from such crazy events doesn’t really surprise me. The reason they were making such bold statements is because they thought they were safe, but they were extremely wrong. I can’t believe the website could have sprung such a dire consequence, but there was just too many people talking about it for it not to overflow.
2. The costs for voicing yourself globally is now next to nothing, and the fact that so many people did respond and ACT on the events that had transpired is quite incredible. You would think people would try and stay anonymous or just watch the events unfold, but many people actually got involved and affected the outcome (especially NYPD contributors).
3. The scary part is that once something like this has been unleashed, it could be almost impossible to control when this many people are involved. It might be justice, but do we really want something like this to have been so widespread and possibly cause shame and public disgust for either party involved?
4. In the end, neither side can either be placed as good or bad, because in my opinion both parties had no idea what would happen and how it would affect others. Their are many complex thoughts and emotions that could be related to everything that happened, and the decisions made have lots of room for interpretation. Did they go too far?
5. The internet as a tool makes it incredibly easy for us to gather and converse without any real structure or limits, and that is an amazing and scary thing.