I think bloggers don’t read….Cult of the Amateur

From the Guardian Unlimited comes a write-up by Tim Dowling about Andrew Keen, the man who says the internet is populated by second-rate amateurs – and that it is swiftly destroying our culture.

Denizens of the cyberswamp? A million monkeys at a million typewriters? Misplaced faith in the integrity of the amateur – the citizen journalist, the self-published author, the mash-up musician?

To my mind Wikipedia is not wise,” says Keen. “It’s dumb. Not necessarily because all its contributors are dumb, but because if you don’t have an editor in charge, and you don’t have singular voices, then the intellectual quality of what the crowd produces is very low.

Dowling says that Keen’s argument strikes a chord with certain professions, particularly librarians, editors and educators  (oh, that’s my group!). Keen’s critics, on the other hand, see him as defending a largely abandoned redoubt: old media, with its outmoded “gatekeepers” and structural hierarchies.

Read the article and catch up with the criticism.

The Book: The Cult of the Amateur, with the no-messing-about subtitle “How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy”.

5 thoughts on “I think bloggers don’t read….Cult of the Amateur

  1. I am on your team Dean. My year 4 students and I are on the very beginning of our journey into the world of Web2.0.

    After announcing to my class that their descriptive poem of an imaginary animal was going to be recorded with a backing music track and sound effects, which will be made into a podcast, one student asked, “Is it all right if I take my poem home and work on it?”
    That one question affirmed that the power of Web2.0 is an enormous benefit to creating more literate students that will spill over to them becoming more critical literature users in their life.

    Web2.0, Lets go!!!!!!

  2. Sounds like the alarm bells are ringing. My 9-12 kids love blogging and wiki pages. Sure its might be low in the eyes of the incumbent professional writer – but like the music/film/tv industry is finding out … evolve or move out the way.

    The Ramones made great music, might be a bit rough around the edges, but they said something that a generation wanted to hear.

    My 9-12 are doing it because they are learning to write, learning to express and learning that they CAN. It has nothing to do with being Professional, it’s all about digital literacy for THEIR future from my viewpoint.

    I don’t see it as something that needs evaluating right now, just experiencing – though the title of the book and review will appeal to the ‘target market’. Lets not forget that the publishing industry aint in it for the love.


  3. I’ve lately, wondered what the role of ‘the expert’ (scholar, professor, paid sage, etc.) would be considering the role of the internet. Although it’s nice to have access to all this information… isn’t it nice to also have guides who tell you what’s right/wrong or up/down?

  4. What a great point Doug!! My oversight, as being a bookworm I assume people will read books when their interest is aroused, and then make sense of criticism. My way to the book was via the article – and my determination to ‘see for myself’ what Keen is saying! I still have to get my copy – but rest assured, I believe the need for depth and rigour in writing is vital and the cornerstone of a good global society – and yes, I think we are going through an interesting era where blogging can empower as well as destroy. Thoughts from this bloggin’ monkey 🙂

  5. Hi Judy,

    I am about half way through Keen’s book and finding it fascinating.

    It’s interesting that you as a blogger recommend reading the review but not the book itself. The loss of people reading and potentially having access to professionally edited writing is one of the biggest charges Keen makes against Web 2.0. Hmmmm

    I’d say “read the book” and make up your own mind.

    Just another blogggin’ monkey,


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