Friday, April 06, 2007

The Cult of the Amateur

Interesting followup to my previous post regarding the shaky foundations of Digg:

Charles Cooper, over at, has written a book review, of sorts:

"Andrew Keen doesn't fit the profile of your garden-variety bomb thrower.

But make no mistake about this erudite British-born entrepreneur: He is out to rattle Silicon Valley and the geekerati by detonating many of the comfortable myths attending the Web 2.0 era.

In a deliciously subversive new book, The Cult of the Amateur, which debuts in June, Keen recounts the many ways in which technology is remaking our culture and society. Anyone familiar with Keen's previous work from his blog will recognize the terrain here. Keen is a gloomy elitist--in the best sense of that term--wistful about a politer, more thoughtful era, but one that's destined to get trampled underneath by the amoral onslaught of the Internet.

Keen may cost himself a few dinner party invitations. Then again, he's not interested in currying favor with bloggers or would-be new media moguls. In fact, I assume he would just as soon welcome their scorn for his book as a searing indictment, a latter day "J'accuse" lamenting the harm he believes they have inflicted upon society.

The subtitle of his book states his thesis bluntly: "How the democratization of the digital world is assaulting our economy, our culture, and our values."


"If we keep up this pace, there will be over five hundred million blogs by 2010, collectively corrupting and confusing popular opinion about everything from politics, to commerce, to arts and culture. Blogs have become so dizzyingly infinite, that they've undermined our sense of what is true and what is false, what is real and what is imaginary. These days, kids can't tell the difference between credible news by objective professional journalists and what they read on'"

Read the rest of the article here.

Certainly, there will be claims of "elitist" hurled at Andrew Keen and his book.

I'm reminded of Nietzsche's fear of the masses. And yes, many terrible things have been done in the name of that fear.

However, he may have a point...

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