Money, The Blogging World & Amateurs: What is the inconvienent truth?

This weekend Andrew Keen was on Coast to Coast (the paranormal, wet works, military industry complex, UFO show) promoting his book on how the Web 2.0 was being ruined. The Cult of the Amateur, Mr. Keen’s book , I suppose (since I haven’t read the whole thing) lashes back at the evolution of the Internet and the cacophony that exists on Myspace, Youtube and Wikipedia.

Blogs are in this mess too. Making money off blogs and otherwise subsidizing your income (until you’re considered a professional) to him is very bad. I don’t disagree, but then again, the creme can rise to the top and should. He complains about this noise that is taking away from preexisting enterprises such as TV & print media, the music industry and Hollywood. (Presuming that what they hash out, say in the last 25 years, has been worthy of note…it hasn’t.)

He complains about this phenomena stifling creativity or being used as a political tool as he introduced with the propaganda film made by Neocons about Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’. Once again, I don’t totally disagree that a democratized media realm is hurting THE TRUTH because spindoctors can put their medicinal thoughts on the view and presto!, the alteration is complete and the truth is now voided.

But how is this different from the mainstream media that pushed the 45-90 second sound bites? Or presented their views via a massive corporate conglomerate backing (GE) of (NBC) views on any story? It isn’t really different, only the amount of money(billions versus thousands), the amount of experience (of the broadcasters and editors) and the amount of reputation (of conflicting value) is at odds.

In an example about Ken Lay, of Enron infamy, he uses the example of the end-all, be-all of knowledge: Wikipedia. I was new to Wiki as anything up until 2005. (If you’ve read me for a while, you know why.) Anyways, Mr. Keen uses the quick evolution of the post on how Mr. Kenneth Lay died as an example of what is wrong. And then Anna Nicole Smith weird circumstances…

What Mr. Keen forgets about is all the history records, print media and TV media have done EXACTLY the same things. Dewey Wins! for a momumental example of running the story before it is TRUE. William L. Shirer who wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich explained in his autobiography how in the 1920’s in Paris, alongside James Thurber, they would write whole stories based on snippets received of a teletype for the Chicago Tribune. They were really creative with the truth.

Nothing in that realm (on reporting) has changed.

But what has changed is the control of who is doing this – instead of ‘experts’ we got 15-year olds with mad skills on Wii, Playstation 3 and their cellphones/iphones.

In its near infancy, the Internet was a great place for all information passage. My first contact with it was in 1992-93 at Purdue. I spent hours in 1994-95 downloading whatever I could from a manageable list of favorite places to go. No fucking presence by big corporate thunderheads out to filter and push content. No ads. No threat of viruses. No spamming that I remember. I even dated a girl I met via the Internet for several months. And she was real and the conversations made sense.

I don’t disagree the internet now is infused by bad-intentioned people. Many that take authorship of ideas and opinions and splicing them together with their own. And plenty of uneducated ones posing as experts on God knows what.

As a result, the good old government and big business are purposing laws to restrict the access, invoke ‘standards’ and harnessing the average citizen with limits. The problem is most of our congressmen/ladies are not particular swift yet with the medium. Some are – the younger representatives that recently graduated from college – but anyone over 60, I would guess is lost by the construct of it all.

Moreover, they are utilizing Google and other internet companies to spy on us, the one point I don’t disagree at all with Mr. Keen’s thoughts. His Big Brother viewpoint has merit because we give up freedom too easily today and become the slaves of whatever ominous wind is blowing in the minds of our leaders. That is extremely dangerous to US ALL.

He references new age authorship/plagiarizing as being Alice in Wonderland down-the-rabbit-hole logic which will have deleterious effects on our society. I don’t disagree here either, but this is not a new problem. People stealing ideas is as old as time. What is apparent is that we (society) will succumb to a hodge-podge of disjointed thoughts and become ever more ignorant in the process.

What is problematic for me is to support now a once-insider to this phenomena – Mr. Andrew Keen. It took him this long to figure out what is wrong about the internet, after making plenty of cash off the problem he assisted greatly in creating. It’s not all his fault. But he came pretty late to the game. (Writing a book now – to do what? – generate more cash or prestige?)

I stop visiting chat rooms in 1999. It had become a pool of drivel from the chins of parasites, predators and piranhas(or piranas). Since then, I stopped talking on professional sports message boards in late 2004. I got tired of the inanity of those folks too. In neither case, did I lose some privilege of speaking, but I got tired of trying for reason and getting nowhere fast.

Whatever this Internet Monster becomes as an ultra-smart version (3.0) of Frankenstein’s vision, we will as a people soon either bend to its flawed, unerring will or we will define the monster’s purpose, vision, heart and soul to be more human than humanity has been. I’d like to believe in that latter hope, but the download is incomplete and the disk is nearly full of it….

Later folks!

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  • Jonathan Bailey  On July 11, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    I think my problem with Keen is that he accuses the entire Web of being a biased, unfair, inaccurate kludge by creating a biased, unfair, inaccurate kludge of a book.

    His points and ideas may have merit, and many of them do, but he destroys his own argument with his tone, misinformation and one-sidedness.

    The debate needs to happen, but Keen is just contributing to the noise.

    Hopefully someone else, with a little more balance, can step up to the plate on this one and soon.

  • Susan S.  On July 12, 2007 at 10:38 am

    I’m new to your blog and have to say I am impressed with the level of thoughtfulness and coverage you display in your writings. Thank you for finding me…because now I’ve stumbled on a wonderful site.


  • Bipolar Wellness Writer  On July 12, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Very interesting piece. I’m not familiar with Keen and will have to look him up and read his book. But you pose interesting questions that I want to think more about!

    Yet, I feel that if the government exerts more control over the Internet, it will be impossible to hear any different points of view since the “traditional” media is doing such a terrible job of covering news events.

    And how can we find our soulmates if we can’t blog? The challenge seems to be finding the right venue to reach those people with whom we truly want to communicate.


  • JayPeeFreely  On July 12, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    I only read the first part of Keen’s book – posted on his site.
    But I found it one-sided for an insider on the subject.

    Susan: You are right in saying, “how can we find our soulmates if we can’t blog” and ” right venue to reach those people with whom we truly want to communicate.” Communication is the key…as always.

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