The following quote can be found on page 99 in Shirky's book:
"Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about. The conversation that forms around shared photos, videos, weblog posts, and the like is often about how to do it better next time---how to be a better photographer or a better writer or a better programmer. The goal of getting better at something is different from the goal of being good at it; there is a pleasure in improving your abilities even if that doesn't translate into absolute perfection."
That sounds like learning to me. I think that we, as teachers, would like to have our classrooms filled with eager students who shared information and had the goal of getting better at something...better at math, better at reading, better at verb conjugation or sketching, or playing a trombone. The students are doing this already in their social networks. They write original music, record their performances and post them on YouTube and link them to Facebook. Or they publish incredible photos of trips abroad or homecoming weekend or videos of recitals, concerts, and debates, and comments and conversations abound. They have a fascination with the world, a curiosity to learn. One was tutored in Finnish by Skyping and later visited her tutor and his family in Finland after high school graduation. Other groups of students write movie scripts and organize friends (probably by texting or through FB invitation) to gather and act out the scenes on the weekend. They publish, view, critique, correct, and give the appropriate tips, praise and sometimes laughter, but always appreciation for another's talents, courage, persistence, or perseverance. And they do this not for a grade, but rather for the experience and sheer joy of doing it, sharing it. I am fortunate to have had a brief peek every now and then into their world.
I cannot help but wonder how our students" activity outside of the classroom will change their engagemnent inside the classroom.