Friday, June 08, 2007

Douglas Adams bats for Web 2.0, posthumously

You need to turn to the late and great Douglas Adams to find ammo to quiet down the anti-Web 2.0 mob led by the likes of Andrew Keen who believe that this wave of masses using the internet to express themselves is nothing but amateurish bullshit.

Presaging the rise of user-generated content, in 1999, Douglas Adams wrote in How to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet,

Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to. So people complain that there’s a lot of rubbish online, or that it’s dominated by Americans, or that you can’t necessarily trust what you read on the web.

Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can’t ‘trust’ what people tell you on the web anymore than you can ‘trust’ what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do.

For some batty reason we turn off this natural scepticism when we see things in any medium which require a lot of work or resources to work in, or in which we can’t easily answer back – like newspapers, television or granite. Hence ‘carved in stone.’

What should concern us is not that we can’t take what we read on the internet on trust – of course you can’t, it’s just people talking – but that we ever got into the dangerous habit of believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on the TV – a mistake that no one who has met an actual journalist would ever make. One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no ‘them’ out there. It’s just an awful lot of ‘us’.”

At the end of it all, the internet is just something that people use to do what they have always done – talk, fight, talk back, write, indulge in the art…conversing to a bigger audience than the average barnyard.

Lesson for Keen and the argumentative ‘Expertologists’: There will always be Experts just like there will be the solitary blogger, untrained editor, photographer, amateur Auteur.

Let a million voices bloom.

We will have hits and we will have the long tail.

The best content on any given day will stand out.

The ‘Expertologists’ know that they have a better response with the mainstream media than online – unlike the reasoned and informed technology reading you get on the blogs on a daily basis, lazy reporters and editors in the papers and New TV stations are only happy to cover an half-assed anti-internet hokum.

Why fear the Amateur Wave other than,
1. To write a book and make money
2. Appear on TV and panels and stroke your fragile ego.

Douglas Adams excerpt found Via Bokardo via Kevin Marks

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At 2:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he thinks he can become famous by dissing Web 2.0, Andrew Keen is a lousy Linkbaiter.


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