Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Keen's "The Cult of the Amateur": BRILLIANT! (Lessig Blog)

Tomorrow is the official on-sale date for Andrew Keen's 'The Cult of the Amateur,' but the book is already getting lots of attention. Keen, a writer, and failed Internet entrepreneur, spends 200 pages attacking the rise of the 'amateur' and the harm -- economic, social, cultural and political -- these amateurs will cause. Without 'standards,' without 'taste,' without 'institutions' to 'filter' good from bad, true from false, the Internet, Keen argues, is destined to destroy us.

There's much in the book that even we amateur-o-philes should think about. How can we build trust into the structures of knowledge the Internet is enabling (Wikipedia, blogs, etc.)? How can make sure the contribution adds to understanding rather than confuses it? These are hard questions. And as is true of Wikipedia at each moment of every day -- there is more work to be done.


See Related: The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture

6 comments:

Rich said...

Ami,

Andrew Keen only proves that people find exactly what they look for in the world. He looks for topics to prove his antidotal thinking, adding to the confusion he claims people might avoid. Where as some of us look for measurable results to prove the opposite.

All my best,
Rich

Amitai Givertz said...

Rich, thanks for stopping by and for your point of view.

Keen's arguments are compelling but fundamentally flawed I think. That is why I particularly liked Lessig's post.

All that said, my interest in this is from a generally uneasiness about how the proliferation of "social media" and the steady stream of [by default] "socially validated" junk is fundamentally changing societies' ability to promote and "protect" original thinking.

I guess that's along-winded way of saying; 'I'm confused and want answers so I'm asking as many pathological liars as I can to please give me the truth.'

Ya dig?

Rich said...

I dig it Amitai. (And love the new blog.)

It's not just social media though; "socially validated" junk has been around a long time in print and film. I think it's just more obvious now (or should be more obvious in some cases).

I don't think an abundance of pathological liars will give you the truth, but if you see enough of what they give you, you might find the truth.

Keep it up!

Best, Rich

Amitai said...

Rich, engaging as usual.

On socially-validated junk I agree but, to Keen's point I think, books and movies and newsprint are commercially produced and therefore there is no question as to a) who profits or b) who to take aim at if you want to cry "foul!" because the content sucks. I guess to counter that one could say before social media someone could cry "foul!" and no one would hear, let alone listen. Therein lies part of my wrestling with this issue.

To your last point in reply to my asking 'as many pathological liars as I can to please give me the truth.' I fear you may be confusing my love of Epimenides with a 'true' desire to use social media as a portal through which I might find freedom! [Insert winking smiley here].

Glad you like the blog, Rich. I hope you continue to visit. I like our conversations.

Rich said...

I love them too, Amitai. Beautiful links.

On his point books and movies and newsprint are commercially produced and therefore there is no question as to a) who profits or b) who to take aim at if you want to cry "foul!" because the content sucks...

Maybe I just know to much to take his points seriously as again evidenced by PRWeek/Manning Selvage & Lee: about 48 of 279 senior marketers say their organizations have bought advertising in return for a news story. (It's likely to be much higher than that.)

I'm thinking it just gets caught more often in social media because we can see who is really wearing the black hats as opposed to offline where we can see no hats at all. ;) Despite this, I'm in favor of the peaceful coexistence of the two.

Best, Rich

Amitai said...

Ah, 'peaceful coexistence' - what a concept!