David Carr on Making – and Breaking – Bread with Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky's bread (David Carr/New York Times)

It seems that two of my heroes — NY Times columnist, David Carr, and media expert and professor, Clay Shirky — had dinner with a group of plugged in journalists and mediaistas recently at Shirky’s apartment. Carr wrote about the experience yesterday on the Media Decoder blog.

Carr’s reflections on the evening, however, don’t really center on how Twitter spurred the Arab Spring, or about the Facebook IPO. Instead, he writes about Shirky’s prowess at baking bread, which Carr only learned because Shirky had him over for dinner. (I, myself, am a bread-baker, so this story is even closer to my heart!) In fact, Carr was so enticed that he got Shirky’s recipe and has tried baking some bread for himself.

Carr’s column is, ultimately, a parable. For all the hand-wringing about what our online world does to us — how it depersonalizes everything, how everyone is glued to their mini-phone-screen all day — it turns out that social media has great power to bring people together, and to turn “friends” into friends.

At the end of the column-cum-parable, Carr quotes Shirky in what might be a good adage for our age:

“When people talk to one another long enough, they want to meet, and when they’ve been in one another’s presence, they want to keep in touch.”

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  • As another fellow bread-baker I really resonate with this post. It definitely goes to show that social media is certainly a viable way of making “real” connections with others and can even provide opportunity for breaking (or baking) bread together.

    Tony, I had no idea you were a baker too!

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  • I’m a fan of both Carr and Shirky too, Tony! Thanks for sharing this great little parable. I love it. And I love eating bread too, so that’s just a bonus.