The Cult of the Amateur

Last night’s Newsnight had a feature about the problems of user generated content (watch again online today). It featured “The Cult of the Amateur” by Andrew Keen from the Newsnight Book Club and they were interviewing him along with Charles Leadbeater representing the opposing view.

Before the debate, they had a short video about the problems of Web 2.0, with Gavin Esler appearing to show a problem with some Wikipedia pages. Notice that it was three months ago and each time the page was vandalised it was fixed within minutes. They also created a fake Facebook profile for Alistair Darling – dubious reporting at best.

There are some valid points that a lot of content is pretty bad, and there are issues with regards to accountability and reliability of information (On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog) but these problems have always been the around with all media. The internet is a great leveller and massively reduces the barriers to entry for publishing, but that doesn’t mean everyone is treated equally. Everyone is free to build their own reputation based on their actions and words, and as Guido Fawkes proved before he was “outed” by the Guardian, you can even be anonymous.

2 thoughts on “The Cult of the Amateur

  1. I haven’t read the book but am suspicious of it’s message based on reviews. Being from the punk generation (pick up a guitar, learn one chord, start a band and go on stage) I applaud DIY stuff and don’t see the need to hold back on empowered communication. Obviously if I had open heart surgery I would prefer the surgeon not to be looking at Wikipedia for instructions in how to do it.

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