Brooklyn Heights civic group taking crash course on 21st century

Brooklyn Heights civic group taking crash course on 21st century
Photo by Joi Ito

A century-old Brooklyn Heights civic group is getting up to speed on the internet at its upcoming annual meeting.

Author Clay Shirky will give the Brooklyn Heights Association an earful about how the information superhighway is reshaping culture on Feb. 27 at the Brooklyn Historical Society. The group’s head said the web guru will keep neighborhood gadflies on the edge of their seats.

“We always try to find some one who is interesting,” said Judy Stanton, the organization’s executive director.

Past speakers for the yearly gathering have included Hillary Clinton and Norman Mailer, the latter of whom lived in Brooklyn Heights for the last 45 years of his life.

“We’ve had some very famous speakers, and some not so famous, but they’re always interesting,” said Stanton.

Shirky’s expertise on the world wide web comes from having studied and taught it as a professor and from writing several books on the subject. His research deals with how social networks influence interactions and shape the world and he has delivered loads of Ted Talks about it.

Stanton said she is not sure what to expect, but hopes that he tailors his speech to the local audience.

“He doesn’t have to give another Ted Talk,” she said.

The brainiac started the Integrated Media Arts program at Hunter College and is currently a professor at New York University.

The Brooklyn Heights Association has been an active neighborhood watchdog since 1910. The annual meeting will also include an update on the organization’s work in the past and coming years and the presentation of community service awards.Clay Shirky at the Brooklyn Historical Society [128 Pierrepont St. between Clinton and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 858–9193, www.thebha.org]. Feb. 27 at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.