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The Cult of the Amateur: How today's internet is killing our culture

by Ivan Seeking
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Ivan Seeking
#1
Sep19-07, 01:46 AM
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...ANDREW KEEN: The key argument is that the so-called "democratization" of the Internet is actually undermining reliable information and high-quality entertainment. By replacing mainstream media content, high-quality radio, television, newspapers, publishing, music, with user-generated content, we're actually doing away with information, high-quality information, high-quality entertainment, and replacing it with user-generated content, which is unreliable, inane, and often rather corrupt.

JEFFREY BROWN: Democratization is this idea, though, that so many more people can participate. They can talk to each other. They can vote on things. They can debate subjects. Why is that not a social good?

...There's one other thing that I would encourage people to do. I think this is a real beginning. We don't want government intervention. I'm not trying to suggest that the government should become like the government in China or Iran, and pull the switch, and force everyone to conform to their view of the way things should be.

But I think the most corrosive thing of today's Internet is anonymity. That's what's creating such an uncivil world. It's a pre-social contract place. It's a state of nature. We're not behaving ourselves properly on it, very often because we don't reveal who we are. Much of the most uncivil conversation, much of the unpleasantness of the Internet is carried out by people who won't reveal who they are.

So one beginning, one place to start for all of us is to recognize that we don't need to be anonymous on the Internet. We can reveal who we are. And having revealed who we are, I think the conversation will be more mature, more responsible, and more fruitful for everybody.

JEFFREY BROWN: All right. The book is "The Cult of the Amateur," Andrew Keen...
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media...net_09-17.html

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J77
#2
Sep19-07, 02:49 AM
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The internet's full of "pub experts"
Quote Quote by one of the greatest theme tunes, ever...
He know's everything about nothing, and not too much about that. So if you know someone who knows what he knows then you must know Henry's Cat.
Isn't it obvious that one shouldn't go looking for proper experts on the internet; eg. purely through contact on, say, a message board?

Exceptions being those who give up their anonymity via their websites.
DaveC426913
#3
Sep19-07, 07:20 AM
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"...The key argument is that the so-called "democratization" of the Internet is actually undermining reliable information and high-quality entertainment. By replacing mainstream media content, high-quality radio, television, newspapers, publishing, music, with user-generated content..."

Loaded statement.

Who says we're replacing mainstream content? Who says it's a zero-sum game? The whole point of progress is that we have more options available.

Maybe Andrew Keen should log off the internets once in a while and look around. He might trip over a forgotten book or newspaper.

Burnsys
#4
Sep19-07, 08:07 AM
P: 655
The Cult of the Amateur: How today's internet is killing our culture

Anyway it's up to the user to decide what he wants to see, read or listen, hey even the mainstream channels/radios/etc, has their places in Internet.

And who says that mainstream media content, is better that others? I prefer Internet that fox news!

This guys has no arguments! Just a silly point of view.

Edit: His blog: http://andrewkeen.typepad.com/the_great_seduction/ is full of strawman arguments and stereotypes, and a tendency to maintain an elite that rules and educates the "Ignorant" masses.
Ivan Seeking
#5
Sep19-07, 02:54 PM
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I disagree with much of what he said, but I agree with some of it as well. For one, most older people would probably agree that people on the internet are often mean and disrespectful; on the average, more so that we have ever seen in past decades. There was once a basic niceness about people that seems to be rare on the internet. And I do like the idea that it is a world of pre-social contract. When I first started visiting message boards, I was shocked at the level of animal behavior that seemed to define this new world.

I also think he make as good point about sources - I have to wonder if the internet didn't get Bush elected, but I think that was mainly the fault of hate radio. And there is certainly a problem of information entropy - more and more useless and/or incorrect information. But the idea that other information sources provide quality information is absolutely laughable, and Fox News is a great example. There are quality information sources, but even in the mainstream media they are few and far between. And without the internet, we never would have had a macaca moment, and Allen would probably still be a Senator.

But he misses many very important points. For one, people from all over the world are talking, which has never happened before in all of human history. IMO, this is a fundamentally revolutionary event that will change humankind for the better, forever. And for all of the animosity that internet discussions can generate, I believe that talk is better than silence. It is much easier to hate a ghost - a simplistic mental construct that represents "them" - than it is to hate a real person with whom you've talked. For example, I can’t help but feel a basic fondness for most people here, even if their statements make me want to beat them silly with a Bush stick.

He also ignores the efforts and dedication of the many high quality people [like the people at PF] who are trying to make the world a better place, and the internet a force for good. Many of the problems that he mentions are the same ones that we try to solve or address here on a daily basis. And I have never seen so many give so much for so little. The amount of time donated here by professionals is amazing to me.

Remember that kids. No one here is getting paid to help you. They do it out of the goodness of their hearts and their commitment to education.
wildman
#6
Sep24-07, 09:48 PM
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Thank you Mentors for keeping PF high quality.
Ivan Seeking
#7
Oct8-07, 11:01 PM
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...Last night on the local news I watched a young reporter standing in front of our mall, obviously freezing his *** off. The essence of his report was: Malls Tend to Get Busier at Christmas! Then he reported the local implications of his investigation: (1) This Also True At Our Mall! (2) When Our Mall More Busy, More Cars Present (3) The More Cars, the Longer it Takes Shoppers to Park! and (shockingly): (4) Yet People Still Are Shopping, Due to, it is Christmas![continued]
http://www.kottke.org/07/09/the-braindead-megaphone
D H
#8
Oct8-07, 11:26 PM
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Thanks, Ivan, for the excellent example of the high-quality information that we poor, uninformed amateurs cannot even hope to replicate on the internet.
Ivan Seeking
#9
Oct18-07, 09:11 PM
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One example of a negative is something that we deal with here all the time. We have many people show up who have little to no scientific training, but who nonetheless will argue with Ph.D. physicists about physics; or biologists about biology; or engineers about engineering, right up until they get banned. We try to run a tight ship here, however, as you probably know, to a large extent the internet effectively democratizes science. Those who frequent unmoderated or badly moderated sites are often taught complete rubbish.
SF
#10
Oct20-07, 11:49 AM
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their fears are unfounded. The internet does not take anything away from culture, it only adds to it.

Those who are now looking for answers on "google" probably wouldn't even have looked for answers anywhere before.
Evo
#11
Oct20-07, 01:21 PM
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Quote Quote by SF View Post
their fears are unfounded. The internet does not take anything away from culture, it only adds to it.

Those who are now looking for answers on "google" probably wouldn't even have looked for answers anywhere before.
And wrong information can be much worse than no information. The internet deals out ignorance, fear and in some cases deadly misinformation to masses of people that would otherwise have been spared. It's frightening to think of the consequences as more and more clueless people are fed bad information. There is so much misinformation being repeated on the internet that myth and rumors are being universally accepted as the truth.

There are fewer and fewer people left trying to dispel the misinformation. The preponderance of garbage being spewed out on TV channels like the History Channel, The Learning Channel, etc... just makes it worse.
Andre
#12
Oct20-07, 02:31 PM
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But is it the quality or the quantity of the misinformation. Isn't that the core problem of humanity troughout the ages? People want to know what is going on and others more than happy to tell anything that is attractive to believe.

In the old days that happened on the market place, in the religious centres, etc. Today we have CNN and internet. Biasing and spinning information to fit the needs, or better, instincts of groupthink is of all times.
DaveC426913
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Oct20-07, 05:13 PM
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Andre's got a point, Evo. The same could be said for any advance in communications in history - "a little information is worse than none".

Yet if that were true, our civilisation and our quality of life would be ever deteriorating. And I'm pretty confident our quality of life, on average, gets better as generations pass.
Evo
#14
Oct20-07, 05:26 PM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
Andre's got a point, Evo. The same could be said for any advance in communications in history - "a little information is worse than none".

Yet if that were true, our civilisation and our quality of life would be ever deteriorating. And I'm pretty confident our quality of life, on average, gets better as generations pass.
Ah, but this is the FIRST time that any idiot can reach the entire world in the blink of an eye. The damage done in the past was limited. Have you seen how quickly misinformation is copied across the internet? I've seen news articles (that were later retracted) appear on thousands of websites within minutes. Unfortunately retractions don't seem to propagate as quickly, if ever, on those same sites.

We are, for the first time in history, dealing with a media that has virtually no limits and no controls.
Averagesupernova
#15
Oct20-07, 08:41 PM
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I would agree with Evo completely on this. It is my opinion that there are individuals that have become very wealthy because of the internet only because they are in some way involved with a message board or newsgroup and their opinion is highly regarded within these boards which usually have to do with hobbies and things of this nature. Little do the members of these boards realize that it isn't just advice they are getting. What is actually happening is the member who seems to be so helpful in handing out advice is cashing in on the back side by recommending some product or service or indirectly generating the sale of a certain product or service by manipulation. The advice handed out probably is worthless and quite likely hard to prove or disprove. Most of the members of the particular board are gullible enough to fall for this. The generously helpful member always seems to develop the sort of keyboard personality that the majority of the people within a group have in order to gain acceptance. I'd like to elaborate but I really don't think it is appropriate.
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Yes, there have been snake oil scams for years. But as Evo has said, there are no limits or controls and it all happens in an eyeblink.
Ivan Seeking
#16
Oct21-07, 08:43 PM
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I think it can be argued that PF is an example of a new kind of information filter.
MagikRevolver
#17
Oct21-07, 08:55 PM
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I think misuse of the internet can kill society. But like PF for instance brings society together. I think the internet made the world smaller, and thus is not killing our culture but rather makes our culture and society blossom.
jim mcnamara
#18
Oct25-07, 12:38 PM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
One example of a negative is something that we deal with here all the time. We have many people show up who have little to no scientific training, but who nonetheless will argue with Ph.D. physicists about physics; or biologists about biology; or engineers about engineering, right up until they get banned. We try to run a tight ship here, however, as you probably know, to a large extent the internet effectively democratizes science. Those who frequent unmoderated or badly moderated sites are often taught complete rubbish.
This is the main reason I back out of posting. Any quarrel with an idiot means I lose. And a lot of it in Biology is Religion motivated. Sometimes I post a statement, I always put the poster into my kill filter and let it go.

Evo/Monique then usually end up closing the thread.

I'd like to complain that Science should not have to fight Religious views, but I'd be wrong. I don't think there ever will be any reconciliation between Christian Fundamentalists and evolutionary Biologists, for example. So it's a no-win deal. But correct information has to go out there somewhere.

To the point: The internet gives oddball views more than their fair share of exposure. IMO.
The "inumerati" (innumerate ones) out there seem to outnumber the rest of us, if the internet represents any kind of reasonable sample space. Otherwise the inumerati try to outshout those of us who can count to ten.

I cannot tell which. I am hopin' for number two.


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