Andrew Keen on User-generated media

Recently, I had an alcohol induced banter with a friend of mine about the proliferation of user generated content in the digital space. We were discussing
http://www.nowpublic.com (Citizen Jounralism site) which Time magaine ranked this site amongst it’s top 50 for 2007. Time article here.

“NowPublic now counts nearly 97,000 contributing reporters in more than 140 countries around the world”

My friend expressed some dire concerns which are quite valid…

Firstly, he raised the point of QUALITY, or lack there of…..he discussed the triviality of user generated online media and more importantly the potential of spreading ill informed messages to the uneducated…. he asked when is the group mind the informed mind? Shouldn’t we leave media creation to the subject matter specialists?

I did some hunting and found some similar sentiments. Andrew Keen has published a book about these ideas called “Cult of the Amateur”. There is an interview about his book on Business Week here.

He says user generated media is not adding much value, and that web 2.0 is leading to a fragmentation of the media manifesting in an inane and trivialised culture.

Democratized media is leading to a structural crisis in main-stream “professional” media. What is going to happen to professional media providers? Is the replacement Twitter and YouTube…. and these are NOT reliable sources of information.

Wide-spread media illiteracy where people consider the internet as truth?!

He thinks we are coming to the end of the web 2.0 cycle.

Google is not our friend! They want to know too much about us and are selling it to the advertisers. He says that it’s algorythm is getting too clever and he doesn’t want the algorythm as his psychotherapist or friend!

He is blatant in his criticisms but perhaps we need to consider some of his thinking.

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