Reading Blog 20 – November 18, 2015

“Web 2.0: The Second Generation of the Internet Has Arrived and It’s Worse Than You Think” (p. 242-250) by Andrew Keen from “The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking.”

Throughout the duration of this course, we’ve talked about how social media has been such a tool in our generation because it levels the playing field and gives everyone the same opportunities. On the internet, everyone has the right to publish their own content – whether it be their thoughts, music, videos, or designs. In class, we’ve always seen this “democratization” as a good thing. Everyone has equal opportunity, which seems fair all across the board. However, in this week’s reading Andrew Keen talks about how this “democratization” may actually be detrimental to internet users. Keen explains that this idea of equal opportunity for all is part of the “Web 2.0” social movement. This movement promotes the idea that everyone can do anything they want to with the help of digital media. Similar to Marx’s idea of communism, the Web 2.0 movement allows users to be able to do what they want, when they want, and how they want to through the internet. Though this may seem like a good thing, Keen argues that in democratizing social media, we lose “elite artists” and the “elite media industry.” It’s the idea that if everyone is special and everyone is talented, then in reality, no one is really special or talented. By democratizing media, we lose sight of elite talent, which is what provides a goal or a basis for all of these self-made artists online. Therefore, the Web 2.0 movement is actually quite detrimental to things like the music and news industry, because we lose sight of who is truly talented in our society.

Links:

  1. “Are you taking advantage of Web 2.0?” – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/technology/personaltech/27pogue-email.html?_r=0
  2. “The Web 2.0 Bubble” – http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2007/04/the-web-20-bubble/305687/
  3. “Welcome to the social media revolution” – http://www.bbc.com/news/business-18013662

Discussion Question:

  1. Even though people do post their own content on social media, aren’t there different spheres of art and talent? Isn’t there a difference between internet famous and real famous?
  2. Why does Keen’s examples only apply to activities based on art, rather than things like science?
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