Published by Currency , Keen's first book is a critique of the enthusiasm surrounding user generated content , peer production , and other Web 2. The book was based in part on a controversial essay Keen wrote for The Weekly Standard , criticizing Web 2. Keen argues against the idea of a read-write culture in media, stating that "most of the content being shared— no matter how many times it has been linked, cross-linked, annotated, and copied— was composed or written by someone from the sweat of their creative brow and the disciplined use of their talent. He calls the latter "a parasite" since "it creates no content of its own" and "[i]n terms of value creation, there is nothing there apart from its links.
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The Cult of the Amateur - Wikipedia
There is a battle looming between the techno-utopians and the defenders of traditional forms of cognitive authority. The battle is being waged here and there, in print, on the web, in various forums around the world. This battle represents only the tip of a much larger iceberg: How will the world look and be organized […]. This battle represents only the tip of a much larger iceberg: How will the world look and be organized when much of the codified available information in the world is freely available to everyone at little or no cost, and anyone can create yet more information at will?
The Cult of the Amateur
Amateur hour has arrived, and the audience is running the show. Our most valued cultural institutions, Keen warns—our professional newspapers, magazines, music, and movies—are being overtaken by an avalanche of amateur, user-generated free content. Advertising revenue is being siphoned off by free classified ads on sites like Craigslist; television networks are under attack from free user-generated programming on YouTube and the like; file-sharing and digital piracy have devastated the multibillion-dollar music business and threaten to undermine our movie industry. When anonymous bloggers and videographers, unconstrained by professional standards or editorial filters, can alter the public debate and manipulate public opinion, truth becomes a commodity to be bought, sold, packaged, and reinvented. The very anonymity that the Web 2.
Bloggers are notoriously touchy so it's unlikely they'll respond with restraint to the comparison that opens Andrew Keen's polemic. Adapting the 'infinite monkey theorem', Keen, a British media commentator based in California, updates the typewriting primates to internet users. These 'monkeys' are not producing Shakespeare, they're deluging us with 'everything from uninformed political commentary, to unseemly home videos, to embarrassingly amateurish music, to unreadable poems, reviews, essays, and novels'.