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The Cult of the Amateur, first salvo September 5, 2007

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Uncategorized.

    Andrew Keen, in his first book, The Cult Of The Amateur, makes valid points about Web 2.0 turning traditional media outlets into a flat world where anyone with an Internet connection is worthy of an ear. In a way, I am one of the amateurs he deplores: an unpublished author who, for lack of a legitimate book deal from a real world publisher, created a blog so I could be published. This blog of mine is truly the basest of all vanity presses available. It only demands my time and whatever the cost of DSL.

Keen’s book is really worth the read if only to scare readers into treading cautiously and deliberately in the mine field that is Web 2.0. In comparison with the real world, Web 2.0 “Kool-Aid Drinkers” are like sports fans. They believe so fervently that it is scary to the average observer. The problem is this: Red Sox fans don’t change the world with their strongly held beliefs and adoration while Web 2.0 junkies are changing the ground under foot as we speak. And, if you think the likes of Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich are liberal, they look more like Ronald Reagan Republicans when compared to the Web 2.0 zealots. Yes, it’s that frightening.

By contrast, others are more free-market in their approach: buyer beware. To them the Internet is not the problem, the problem is the fallen nature of man. Crime, whether virtual or real, will not cease in a fallen world. For them it is easy to see where the criminal mind is predisposed to cause havoc without thought of consequence, notwithstanding existing laws that prohibit their chosen activity. They may grant that certain criminal or immoral activity has room for broader participation in a virtual world against the real physical world but, once again, this is not the fault of Web 2.0, but the fault of man’s fallen nature. In short, criminal or immoral activity will find an outlet with or without the Internet. Web 2.0 is created to make information more readily available and that is good. If certain people misapply the good for things like online gambling and preying on innocent victims for sex or money, it may be agreed there could be rules to prohibit such things, but they would argue in the next breath that speed limits don’t stop speeding anymore than warnings printed on the sides of cigarette packs have eliminated smoking.

Laws may not stop illegal activity but they set a boundary for acceptable activity for the society to function. I would submit that the Web 2.0 zealots are the worst kind of anarchists of this century.



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