The chapter I’d like to discuss is the essay written by Andrew Keen titled “Web 2.0.” The more I read of this essay, the more I wanted to find Mr. Keen and punch him in the face. His comparisons of Web 2.0 and communism made me want to puke, and it’s not because he didn’t make some valid links between the two. Sure, the digital age has created a narcissistic world in which everything is personalized to people’s opinions. Anybody can blog about anything (click here!) nowadays, and I agree that it may be taking away from “elite” media. But to call the digital world communist? I see the parallels between the two, but communism is such a taboo idea in Western society that to label something as such is a bold statement to make. People see that word and automatically cringe in fear of having their rights stripped from beneath them. Simply put, even if the internet evolves into a matrix filled only with blogs and opinionated, ignorant writers, communism is still too strong of a term. This evokes fears of economic repercussions, of which, the internet will have little to none (in the way of socialist distribution). And as for the fall of “elite media” or losing “our memory for things learned, read, experienced, or heard?” Shame on you, Andrew! There are thousands of websites that have mainstreamed elite media, including major news sites, where every story ever written is a simple click of the mouse away. The internet has made elite media more accessible, not less. Sure, there’s more distractions from these reputable sources, but they are in no way destroyed by our digital society. And you say it’s democratizing talent as though that’s a bad thing? There are so many incredibly talented people that have gone unnoticed in society and throughout history. The internet simply levels the playing field so that breaking through requires less of the “who you know” aspect and relies more heavily on how talented you actually are. Although I’m not a fan (and I repeat, NOT a fan), Justin Bieber is one of the top artists today, and he would be working a part time job and attending community college if his musical and vocal talent hadn’t been discovered via YouTube.
Personalized? Yes. Narcissistic? Sure. Communist? Not buying it. Web 2.0 has created a world with more opportunities and greater access to “elite media,” not less. So before you call to arms against the internet with a Digital Red Scare campaign, I think you, Andrew Keen, need to reevaluate exactly what the internet brings to the world. You should start by falling of your high horse and hitting your head — maybe that will knock some sense and reason into you.