Question: does the Internet move society forward?
Too deep? OK, let's get closer to home. Is this blog necessary? Not only "no" but "hell no." This ditty is just one of 90 million blogs.
But let's have a more knowledgeable guy discuss the Internet. Yesterday on PBS The News Hour, Jeffrey Brown interviewed Andrew Keen about Keen's new book, "The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing our Culture."
Here's some of their discussion:
JEFFREY BROWN: The subtitle is, "How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture," very provocative. What's the key argument you're trying to make?
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.
The value of Internet content
JEFFREY BROWN: And where do you want it to go? I mean, you said that you're not advocating getting rid of all of this; it would be impossible anyway. So you end with a chapter on solutions. What do you want people to -- how do you want to leave people, in terms of thinking about the future, thinking about their own use of the Internet?
ANDREW KEEN: A couple of things I would encourage people to think about. Firstly, if your listeners are using the Internet to express themselves, if they are one of the 70 million bloggers, the hundreds of thousands of people posting their videos on YouTube, the tens of thousands of people doing editing on Wikipedia, for them to ask themselves, "Is this really valuable? Do I need to tell the world what I'm eating for breakfast? Do I need to tell the world what I think of the latest TV show?" Much of the self-expression on the Internet is wasteful.
... 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.
Back to me. This is serious stuff and worth thinking about in more depth. You can read the entire interview here.
Old schoolers will probably like what he has to say. Truants (from the old school) will not.
What do you think?