Unusually passionate post on the YPN Blog about Andrew Keen’s book, “The Cult of the Amateur,” which represents the latest backlash against the internet and social media in particular.
Today’s internet is certainly changing our culture. But killing it? Hardly. In fact, I’d argue that the Gutenberg press, which ushered in a new era of print media in the 15th century, was far more disruptive. Then, more efficient printing led to a more rapid dissemination of information that in turn spawned revolutions (social, religious, scientific) that we’re still feeling the effects of half a millennium later.
Killing it from the perspective of someone who is stuck with a fixed definition of culture. To me, culture is dynamic and evolving, not something you can hold up and compare as if you had some kind of cultural slide rule against which to compare everything.
Lawrene Lessig skewers Keen’s arguments with an excellent post which holds up Keen as, “our generation’s greatest self-parodist.”
the real argument of Keen’s book is that traditional media and publishing is just as bad as the worst of the Internet. Here’s a book — Keen’s — that has passed through all the rigor of modern American publishing, yet which is perhaps as reliable as your average blog post: No doubt interesting, sometimes well written, lots of times ridiculously over the top — but also riddled with errors. Keen’s obvious point is to show those with a blind faith in the traditional system that it can be just as bad as the worst of the Internet. Indeed, one might say even worse, since the Internet doesn’t primp itself with the pretense that its words are promised to be true.
I have to confess, I missed Keen when he spoke most recently at Yahoo. He also spoke to a room of skeptical engineers at Google. I further confess that I have not read his book so I am only looking at the ongoing debate as a bemused spectator.
What do you think – is the internet killing our culture or is Keen just stirring the pot to get some airtime?