Towards a Social Science of Web 2.0 (VI): Andrew Keen: The Cult of the Amateur

Keynote Speech: Andrew Keen
The Cult of the Amateur

The Internet is not new, the Web 2.0 is not activating new forces. It just brings light to ancient trends but in another way.

Web 2.0 = hippies = no kind of authority. Most of the new wave of the Internet had the hippy experience.

The market is always right, even if Google is destroying newspapers, YouTube destroying the television, etc.

There’s the idea that media has been slavering people, cutting down creativity, and the Web 2.0 is here to save us, the ideal technology is going to bring us freedom.

Internet, and especially YouTube, is a perfect place for spin doctors, to trivialize the political debate, to bring worse democracy.

Mass media is good for quality and at great price. The Web 2.0 is undermining the quality of content. And only the rich will have access to quality content.

The only freedom the Web 2.0 will bring is the libertarian hippy freedom, rejecting all forms of authority.

Concerning digital literacy, the ultimate consequence of Web 2.0 is that kids are going to grow under a Wikipedia, YouTube culture, which is not media culture. People believe what they read, but don’t understand what quality is.

Second Life (and all this virtual worlds) is opium, is for people that are scared of real life.


  • Wow…
  • Wow…
  • Well… an opinion… about a probable vision. But without backing data. Technophiles, technooptimists, utopians might be equally wrong, but are doing the effort of gathering data, maybe with the aim of finding what they wished they find, but trying to anyway. Not Keen. Legitimate fears, illegitimate discourse until is backed up with evidence. I mean, labeling some concept as just “hippy” does not really bring much anything to the debate, even if it was universally acknowledged that “hippy = evil”. So, I guess Andrew Keen should work harder on building stronger arguments on his opinions, which are as good as anyone’s, but just that, opinions. IMHO, of course.


Towards a Social Science of Web 2.0 related posts (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “Towards a Social Science of Web 2.0 (VI): Andrew Keen: The Cult of the Amateur” In ICTlogy, #48, September 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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1 Comment to “Towards a Social Science of Web 2.0 (VI): Andrew Keen: The Cult of the Amateur” »

  1. I’d offer a game to Mr. Keen. Britannica is ‘old school’. Wikipedia is web 2.0. Let’s take every entry in Britannica. If Britannica’s version is better (we’ll select a committee), I give him one cent. If Wikipedia’s is better, he gives me one.

    And we’ll play daily for as long as he wants :-).

    If he wants to go further, he can take me on ‘every entry on wikipedia’… ;-)

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