‘I don’t think bloggers read’ says Andrew Keen

Andrew Keen says the internet is populated by second-rate amateurs – and that it is swiftly destroying our culture. Tim Dowling meets the man cyberspace loves to hateIf your experience confined you to the virtual plains of the blogosphere, you could be forgiven for thinking that Andrew Keen was one of the most unpopular people on the planet. One blogger – on Keen’s own website – recently described him as “a professional mental prostitute of the establishment”. New media guru and Guardian columnist Jeff Jarvis has called him “a mastodon growling against the warm wind of change”. Keen recently introduced himself on the Today programme as “the antichrist of Silicon Valley”. So what has he done?He’s written a book, The Cult of the Amateur, with the no-messing-about subtitle “How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy”.The Cult of the Amateur is a broadside attack on Web 2.0, a term we may hastily define here as that growing sector of the internet which serves mainly as a platform for user-generated content, including sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Typepad, Blogger and YouTube. The main thrust of his argument is that all this home-made content – blogs, podcasts, amateur videos and music – is an inadequate replacement for mainstream media. It may be a harmless, even occasionally enriching addition, but we can’t have both, because the former is swiftly killing off the latter. Thanks to Web 2.0, newspapers, record companies, movie studios and traditional publishers are on the verge of extinction, he says. Along the way he also finds time to bash Second Life, online gambling, copyright theft and porn.

In fact, the book, he insists, isn’t really about the internet. It’s more about personal responsibility: “It’s not against technology. It’s simply saying that we make technology and we need to control it. When we look at the internet we’re looking at ourselves.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2130644,00.htmlAlso see:
Full Text: Keen vs. Weinberger
This is the full text of a “Reply All” debate on Web 2.0 between authors Andrew Keen and David Weinberger.
Mr. Keen begins: So what, exactly, is Web 2.0? It is the radical democratization of media which is enabling anyone to publish anything on the Internet. Mainstream media’s traditional audience has become Web 2.0’s empowered author. Web 2.0 transforms all of us — from 90-year-old grandmothers to eight-year-old third graders — into digital writers, music artists, movie makers and journalists. Web 2.0 is YouTube, the blogosphere, Wikipedia, MySpace or Facebook. Web 2.0 is YOU! (Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2006).

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