Anyhoo... here's the review if you think you might be interested in Andrew Keen's alternative look at Web 2.0 - it'll give you a taste of what lies ahead!
Andrew Keen – The cult of the amateur - Book review by Tony Fish
Andrew Keen – The cult of the amateur – how today’s internet is killing our culture and assaulting our economy.
This is a great read as it is the counter balance to the O’Reilly message and excitement over social networking and user generated content, and if for that reason alone – read it.
I suffer with the assumptions, the logic and overall lack of deep coherent strategic thinking. Given the recognition of change – to address the change from one direction (traditional media) without the suggestion that other (tech, telecom, web and mobile) could be the benefactor of the change is naive. It is an ivory tower defence of his own industry and suggests that this should survive above all others.
There is a premise that an amateur is an amateur and will always be an amateur in every context. The book does not recognise a specialist or expert. An expert in one field should not cross the divide and try to move into media. I am not sure when an amateur becomes an expert, where does the ability come from to make a judgement of taste vs talent? Why is a director or editor so good - because he amateur consumers read it and like it – voting with cash. But they are only good or an expert why there is money to be made – this argument is never put forward.
Whilst there is an abundance of criticism of the ‘free business model’ and user generated content from an ‘amateur’ there is no suggestion of a better model. The question you are left with is so what. This is a defence of the existing job and own career and not positioned to punch through to the next level.
There is an underlying belief that all amateur content is rubbish and that the professionals are the only ones who can produce results - there is no difference between news and opinion. Keen never brings out a case where the amateur has caused, to the mainstream medias’ embarrassment, revelations that what they promoted as fact was a lie. WhiteWashGate
Keen ignores the fact that cost saved in one business area is either passed on as profit and increasing wealth to shareholders or diverted into some other budget. Whilst a travesty that adverting lost out on one model, Google gained on the other – there is a need for a balance, especially when my pension fund is at stake.
On page 69, Keen is right to point out that amateur claims are dangerous, but the belief that two governors, four congressmen, three former white house officials and two special counsels are more trust worthy or without bias. If they were (trustworthy) the news industry would be dead! The question is about motivation, not trust!
Perhaps the reason that most of the UGC is rubbish is that we have all read too much mainstream media, watched too much TV ? Where is the responsibility for the education level. Further the book assumes that the news reporters are of a higher moral standing than everyone else. Why then sensational headlines? What sells?
Another assumption is because it works (media) keep it. I am so glade we stuck at the steam train!
I am not sure that surveillance is the issue, capture, sharing and analysis are. People have always watched other people, it is just there is now a mechanism for perfect recall. Everyone Knows.