In the first chapter, Andrew Keen discusses his original experience with the internet in the 1990’s – how he checked out of the “internet gold rush” just as quickly as he became on board with it.  When the internet became a hit he created one of the original online music websites called Audiocafe.com.  It was his hope that this site could bring music to many people everywhere.  After spending two days camping with two hundred other leaders in the internet boom he came to realize that this internet sensation was becoming more about the audience and their opinions rather than a place for professionals to publish their work and truthful information.  He found it to be a place where everyone was focused on themselves and not on listening to what others had to share.  The information found and works published by professionals are being undermined by “amateurs” who can now blog, review, and upload anything they want in a split second.  Anyone can upload a video to youtube, post a song or write a movie review.  There is no credibility behind it, it is all their own opinion, their own truth rather than what is actually true.  Bloggers can write about whatever they want, and while most of it is opinion, we as readers and followers often take what they have written as true.  This causes the truth to be altered and many people to be misinformed.  

Beyond this, Keen talks about how we don’t really ever know who is behind the silly youtube video or song, who wrote the blog, or the movie/book review, or the wikipedia page.  When so many people have access to the internet and the ability to post whatever they want whenever they want, we lost control of knowing what information we see is true and where it is coming from.  Since all of this information (credible or not) is right at our fingertips with the click of a button it is very easy for anyone to steal anyone else’s information.  With two or three clicks you can copy paste someone else’s information and claim it as your own.  How are we supposed to know who owns information when it may have been copied multiple times from many different sources and authors without documentation?  Since the line between the professionals and the average joe has become very blurred, the line between what is fact and what is fiction has also become blurred.  Keen concludes the chapter by discussing how these amateur posts and uploads are a financial burden to the professional world.  Since we are able to download music and movies fairly easily without paying for them, and put ads online instead of paying to put them in a newspaper, producers, publishers, and artists are all losing money.  Also, the free online sites that are taking these over, are not making much money to replace the money that the original non-online companies were making before.  

Citation:

Keen, A. (2007). The cult of the amateur: How today’s internet is killing our culture. (pp. 1-34). New York: Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group.

 

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