Sunday, April 15, 2007

Too much of snarkism is not good for health

Having a contrarian view is essential for reaching balance in a hyperactive environment, such as that of the user-generated content and web 2.0 boom of today.

So, while on one hand you will find bloggers such as Michael Arrington writing about yet another supposedly innovative product/company launch, we thankfully have people like Nicholas Carr (famous for ‘End of IT’) who have written in detail about the big questions about user-generated content (For example, who is going to pay all those Diggers? How long will people continue to submit content for free? The stupidity of business models based on mashups) These are valid questions and add to the quality of debate.

This writer tends to be dark about some issues as well, but the idea is to add to level of debate, and to draw attention to new ideas on how we can improve things. For example when I have written against Digg, I have also written how we can improve the online social news experience.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, you will find hawks like Andrew Keen, who claims to be a ‘self-styled’ contrarian. Mr. Keen champions the side of traditional media and conventional thinking about the web 2.0 boom - it is all hooey.

Mr. Keen has come out with a book titled The Dark Side Of The "Citizen Media" Revolution, where he disses the citizen media revolution, calling it ‘amateurist ****shit”.

As an strategy to promote his book (and his columnist credentials), Mr. Keen chooses to pick on a big target to lambast – the Cluetrain Manifesto written in the 1990s, which many believe is the principle behind the citizen media boom.

I could go on and on picking on Mr. Keen’s thesis about citizen media and how he is wrong that only traditionally media is the epitome of quality.

However, Stowe Boyd has already written in detail about Andrew Keen’s assertions.

He writes,

Keen doesn't get what is happening in the blogosphere. He sees self-publishing where community is growing. He sees narcissism where people are sense-making collectively. He sees utopianism where people are engaged in changing the word one post at a time. He sees a dark side, a technological elite hornswoggling the average person, where there is emergent participatory culture changing society for the better. He sees a mob of semi-literate and self-absorbed slobs, where a dynamic participatory learning environment is being fostered.

…Power has moved from the organized media that Keen is implicitly supporting, the failing broadcast media empires.

Finally, Stowe asks an important question:
Why is it narcissism when people participate in media?
Read the Post by Andrew Keen (please read the comments)

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At 2:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a class system exists in the online world, where journalists love to hate bloggers.


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