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Cult of the Amateur

Posted by: Diane Brady on June 24, 2007

Andrew Keen, the founder of, is making waves with his latest book on The Cult of the Amateur. He stopped by to tape this Video View on how user-generated content and companies like Google and YouTube are destroying our culture.

“It’s creating an increasingly inane and trivialized culture,” he told me. “One imaginary dystopia is that in 25 or 50 years, there will be no mainstream media. There’s nothing inevitable about Hollywood. There’s nothing inevitable about the music industry. The replacement for mainstream media is Twitter, it’s YouTube, it’s Wikipedia … If you read it on the Internet, it likely isn’t true.”

And, Keen thinks, the days of Web 2.0 are numbered. And he’s no fan of Google. “The problem with Google is they want to be too intimate with us. Google is not our friend. It’s the next generation advertising superpower.” Check out the Video View for more.

Reader Comments

Christy Stadelmaier

June 25, 2007 10:16 AM

And the mainstream media is more reliable?
More true? Less superficial?

I find that it is just as important to turn a jaundiced eye to the mainstream media as it is to the internet - and that is why the mainstream media is "in trouble." Information in the mainstream media is no longer fact but spun through the writer's biased filters - that used to be called editorial and op-ed. Often what I find in mainsteam media (particularly the news pages of newspapers) might better be relabeled as "fiction."


June 25, 2007 10:47 AM

A good reporter always uses judgment in assessing what a reader needs to know but those who degenerate into becoming producers of "fiction" don't last too long. That's another benefit of the Internet. Everyone has a voice to help the truth get out.

Nicholas Quixote

June 25, 2007 1:18 PM

Hey Diane,

I think this book is very interesting and although I don't completely agree with Keen, I do think this is a great topic of discussion. I produce a show called Rabbit Bites (hosted by rabbits), and we (the rabbits)recently did an interview with both Keen and blogger Robert Scoble. They had very different things to say about the internet, and its future. I invite you to check it out and let us know what you think. Thanks.

Ian Bell

June 26, 2007 2:55 PM

To Christy Stadelmaier:

Yes, mainstream media is WAY more accurate than social networking sites, blogs, and user generated content.

Mainstream media has to adhere to journalism standards, and is held accountable for their actions. Professional journalists typically have what is called “training”, and abide by a code of ethics:

And last time I checked, most professional journalists that work for the “real” media go through what we like to call a “human resources” department that actually looks at a person’s resume, does a background check and validates that person before they start the job.

Do you think Wikipedia does that? How about Digg? What about most of the blogs out there?

I don’t understand how this is even a debate. Are all blogs bad? No, of course not. Is big media always right? Obviously not. But if you were going to bet between Engdaget and CNN about who has their story right, you better believe people are going to vote in CNN’s favor.

Tim Bourquin

June 28, 2007 11:38 AM

User-generated content isn't going to make traditional media irrelevant, but it will make "professional" media up their game and produce more compelling television, radio and print in order to compete.

As "prosumers" who have both the money and knowledge to produce content that is as good as anything you'll see on television, which is already happening, the line between "professional" and "independent" will blur to the point of being unrecognizable. The software and hardware is quickly making it easier for anyone with the will and creativity the ability to make it happen.

Tim Bourquin

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