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The Cult of the Amateur: How blogs, MySpace,…

The Cult of the Amateur: How blogs, MySpace, YouTube, and the rest of… (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Andrew Keen

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6904422,612 (2.7)5
Silicon Valley insider and pundit Andrew Keen claims that today's new participatory Web 2.0 threatens our values, economy, and ultimately the very innovation and creativity that forms the fabric of American achievement. In today's self-broadcasting culture, where amateurism is celebrated and anyone with an opinion, however ill-informed, can publish a blog, post a video on YouTube, or change an entry on Wikipedia, the distinction between trained expert and uninformed amateur becomes blurred. When bloggers and videographers, unconstrained by professional standards or editorial filters, can manipulate public opinion, truth becomes a commodity to be bought, sold, packaged, and reinvented. The anonymity that Web 2.0 offers calls into question the reliability of the information we receive and creates an environment in which sexual predators and identity thieves can roam free. Keen urges us to consider the consequences of supporting a culture that endorses plagiarism and piracy and weakens traditional media and creative institutions.--From publisher description.… (more)
Title:The Cult of the Amateur: How blogs, MySpace, YouTube, and the rest of today's user-generated media are destroying our economy, our culture, and our values
Authors:Andrew Keen
Info:Broadway Business (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:technology, web, web20, internet, business, culture, society, blog, wiki

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The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture by Andrew Keen (2007)



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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
An interesting book. He has some interesting points to makebut it is also a bit of a rant. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
simply shit ( )
  lucaconti | Jan 24, 2019 |
Parts of this are dead-on and Keen found a sympathetic reader in me when he attacks the blogosphere and the contemporary assumption, "My life is interesting! It is, it is, it is!" He has nailed the overall obsession with the self, with the idea that one opinion is as good as any other, that what one already knows is all one needs to know. He also seems to think Facebook is a cesspool--point to him. What's a bit off about Keen's polemic is his pining for the days in which the clerks at local record or book shops could assist customers by making recommendations. (I can find my own music and books, and there isn't even enough time to listen to or read a quarter of what I want.) He also has a soft spot for print journalism and lends credibility to tired and ideologically-bent papers like the old grey lady. But he's right about the crucial thing: all of the people online who think they are authors, musicians, or filmmakers just because they've posted something are contributing to an ethos in which some seventh-grader is seen as just as good a writer as Melville. That goes for reviewers, too--including this one. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
Keen's book, published in 2007, is a ranting polemic against Web 2.0 and the sad fact that there is no journalistic integrity anymore in an arena where anyone can say anything virtually without consequence. Keen comes off as a self-righteous elitist throughout the book, pretty much casting everyone as stupid, but he made a few pretty good points with respect to the monstrous amount of non-vetted materials released every day.

His argument against Wikipedia has some merit, particularly in light of problems actual people have with correcting entries about their own works or personal profiles. Sure, Google has its problems - dated hypothesis...perhaps in 2006 the search engine algorithms returned pages based more on popularity than authority, but if there is any monetary interest to the result returns, Google will show you those first now.

I thought he was really off base in his diatribe against all the "losses" sustained by the RIAA and MPAA due to piracy. Maybe the recording industry is losing some money, but the success of the digital cash cows of iTunes and similar belies their complaints. And Hollywood is still making barrows full of revenue.

Irrespective of the content, Keen got demerits from me when he said that The Great Gatsby was a masterpiece (disagree), and called Peter Jackson a "movie maestro" (and not a treasure destroying hack), but that's my amateurish opinion that I'm sharing on this world wide web.

cult makes a point or two, but it's really just a petulant rant and shouldn't be taken any more seriously than any of the other amateur content Keen hates. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Poor Keen. Smart, but a long way from being wise, or even sensible. He cherry picks examples while praising the skills of balanced neutral research and reporting which can only, one surmises, be obtained by following exactly the same academic and career path that Keen puts so much store by. He is, purely and simply, an intellectual snob - and not a particularly bright or insightful one. Just one example of his shallow trawling of his own mind makes the point... he deplores user generated video on the internet, suggesting it has done no more for humanity than swamp us in kitten videos, but forgets to mention the effect of internet posted videos of police and military brutality that have lifted entire nations out of their torpor. The message for Keen is: there is trash in the world - get used to it. And stop adding to it. I'm glad I paid twenty cents for this book, although that was about 19 cents too much. ( )
  nandadevi | May 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
This book, which grew out of a controversial essay published last year by The Weekly Standard, is a shrewdly argued jeremiad against the digerati effort to dethrone cultural and political gatekeepers and replace experts with the “wisdom of the crowd.”
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First a confession. Back in the nineties, I was a pioneer in the first Internet gold rush.
It's ignorance meets egoism meets bad taste meets mob rule. On steroids. [p. 1]
[T]he moral fabric of our society is being unravelled by Web 2.0. It seduces us into acting on our most deviant instincts and allows us to succumb to our most destructive vices. [p. 163]
Every defunct record label and round of newspaper downsizing are a consequence of "free" user-generated Internet content - from Craigslist's free advertising, to free music videos, to free encyclopedias, to free weblogs. [p. 27]
In a twisted kind of Alice in Wonderland, down-the-rabbit-hole logic, Silicon Valley visionaries such as Stanford law professor and Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig and cyberpunk William Gibson laud the appropriation of intellectual property. [p. 24]
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