I agree with Andrew Keen

Sorry for using his shock tactics to grab your attention, but as I rode home from listening to the troll, Andrew Keen, I realised there was something I could agree with him on:

He says Web2.0 is just a mirror for our culture and society.

I see a new-found confidence, optimism and freedom. I see happiness and laughter. I see a breathing out, a loosening of the belt, a relaxing, a kicking off of the shoes. I see humility and humanity. I see maturity.

He sees threats, groundless criticism, a loss of authority. He sees immaturity and people making outrageous statements in order to gain attention. He sees selfishness and self-centredness. He sees confusion, stealing and interference.

You look in the mirror and you see what you are.

More in the morning…

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6 thoughts on “I agree with Andrew Keen”

  1. Exactly. As Wilde said: ‘The artist creates beautiful things. Art aims to reveal art and conceal the artist. The critic translates impressions from the art into another medium. Criticism is a form of autobiography. People who look at something beautiful and find an ugly meaning are “corrupt without being charming.” Cultivated people look at beautiful things and find beautiful meanings. The elect are those who see only beauty in beautiful things. Books can’t be moral or immoral; they are only well or badly written.
    People of the nineteenth century who dislike realism are like Caliban who is enraged at seeing his own face in the mirror.
    People of the nineteenth century who dislike romanticism are like Caliban enraged at not seeing himself in the mirror.
    It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.’

  2. Presumably, to literalise the art theory, what Andrew Keen sees every morning is somebody who trusts Wikipedia articles without verifying them, thinks MySpace was forged by Satan rather than just Silicon Valley hipsters, makes up names, beats up straw men, takes his blogs way too seriously and blithely moralises about online gambling.

    Andrew Keen needs to take a media literacy course and figure out how to read. I mean, in “Cult of the Amateur”, he takes aim at blogging – for instance – on the basis of a story in “Insight” magazine online spreading a pretty malicious rumour about presidential candidate Barack Obama being raised in a radical Islamic madrassa. Quite how a right-wing Washington magazine spreading misinformation is supposed to say anything about blogging is beyond me. And, of course, any blogger worth his salt would have put an electronic strike-through across the relevant post and said “Actually, I was wrong”. Such modesty was beyond the Insight folks. Only Andrew Keen could take this story and turn it in to an argument against blogging. (Insight Magazine was making stuff up in 1997, about the time that blogging was being pioneered – presumably the mere creation of the first blog decimated the standards of this otherwise excellent publication!)

    Since Keen asks us to trust experts and we presume – based on the fact that a major publishing house has asked him to write a book on the Internet – that his expertise and those of the editors he works with, know by hotline from God that Mr. Brin, co-founder of Google, spells his first name “Sergei”, since that is what is printed in Andrew Keen’s book – and not “Sergey”, as it’s listed on Google.com, Wikipedia, Forbes, CNN, Business 2.0 Magazine, BBC News, Valleywag, Stanford University, ZDNet, the Washington Post, Business Week, the Guardian, the Times, the Boston Globe, the LA Times, the New Yorker and the Securities and Exchange Commission. That evil Mr. Brin must be lying about his first name, but our hero Andrew Keen will save the day!

    This is Keen after being “groomed” or whatever by his publisher to make him better. I can’t imagine what the first manuscript was like!

  3. Hmmm… I have thought a lot about this, maybe he’s just link baiting or playing a contrarian’s contrarian, but if you try to interpret his arguments in the best possible way, as Weinberger has done here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-weinberger/andrew-keens-best-case_b_60785.html , the sentiment I’m left with is an appeal to bring back the authority of the arbiters of taste, which gives me an icky feeling.

    It reminds me of an argument I made back when I was a very opinionated columnist at 18-21 – although I now I wish my column had been a blog, because it’s really just an idea I was playing around with – that, maybe, censorship is a question of class. If you look back at the history of publishing, is it not so that censorship, or ‘regulation’ if you like, is something that has been introduced just after a medium has been made available to the masses? Back then, it was put to me that pornography for instance, at first used for political satire, was only made illegal in 1812 or so, if my memory is corrrect, after the revolution of the printing press had really caught on and print had become available to most folks.

    But that is perhaps a sidetrack. Keen’s argument also comes across as an appeal to authority, a well known logical fallacy amongst students of philosophy, but, hey, let’s not complicate things too much…

  4. I’ve said it elsewhere but its worth saying again that I hold the mistakes of the last couple of thousand years squarely against the cult of the professional.

    Great post title. And yes he’s a troll. Making a few dollars out of it too.

  5. Glad to find myself reading your blog today – I wonder if the parents among us would be able to see the pattern of behaviour emerging out on the net and note the not too distant similarity in the way their children began to interact with them, their surroundings, early friends and right on into adulthood.

    Communicating on the net is a ‘new’ skill – it was not possible before – people have had to learn new things, understand their comments perpetuate ad-infinitum and as a result it IS possible to look at dialogue in forums as far back as the late 90s and see how those who participated have ‘grown-up’.

    The net and it’s inherent community are still young, but some of the members are reaching adulthood faster and in doing so are helping espouse some very important values: transparency, trust and integrity as well as the other attributes you refer to: humility and humanity. The net is helping global society mature, confront it’s skeletons and offer solutions – for the next billion who come online I sincerely hope they will look back on these moments to understand how they got to be part of a society that cares and comforts with collective wisdom, passion and love.

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