Sunday, July 8, 2007

Hot air vs. hot off the press

Interesting comment from Bill Thompson (below) on the continuing power of books and more traditional forms of media. He puts together a thought-provoking argument and his comments about the Andrew Keen book are astute.  For me, he's put his finger on what is wrong with Keen's work. Keen is criticising the nature of Web 2.0 - which is fair enough, it's good to be cynical sometimes - but does so by constructing a Web 2.0 style anecdotal diatribe... mistakenly putting it into print so people can 'out' it as an example of bad literature. Maybe his work functions best when it's in the sound-bite format of the internet? It certainly doesn't work when you physically engage with it, paragraph by paragraph, page by page. Can books still trump the digital with all its bells and whistles? Give it the right context and it certainly can...

BBC NEWS | Technology | Cultural past of the digital age
I had a concrete experience of the value of the book recently when I was asked to appear on BBC World television to discuss the usefulness of the internet with author Andrew Keen.

Keen's book, The Cult of the Amateur, is stirring up a storm online as he criticises bloggers, remix artists, social network sites, file sharing and almost every other aspect of today's online world.

I don't think it's a good book, and he needs to learn that throwing lots of anecdotes about the bad side of the web into a book doesn't actually make an argument.

I know this because I read the printed book, and didn't just scan it on a screen. I bought a copy from my local bookstore and then read through it in a way that works extremely well for a printed book, using page headings and the physical feedback that comes from knowing how many pages are ahead to guide me.

You can't do the same online, or rather you can't do it as efficiently.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for this link. intereseting reading.
    and yes, I do think the book will stay with us for a long time. I won't take this laptop with me for the sunny afternoon in the park


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...