wasting bandwidth since 1999

All of You Are Ruining Everything

Future Tense, a daily five-minute public radio podcast, devoted three two of their segments this week to an interview with the author of a new book, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy.

Some samples from the first two parts interview.

Former Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Keen says web 2.0, which is shorthand for user-generated content like blogs, internet video, wikis and podcasts, is a mass of poorly produced, uninformed materials that’s eroding the pillars of society by replacing professional media.

In his new book Andrew Keen compares internet users who make blogs, wikis, and internet video to monkeys banging away on a keyboard.

“The problems that the music business is having, the problems that the newspaper business is having is intimately, profoundly connected with the rise of user generated content media.”

“One of the problems is that the internet allows people to steal things.”

“I would be thrilled if people were reading mainstream, reliable newspapers and then wandering around the blogosphere to supplement their reading. What concerns me is when blogs become the primary source of information. The problem with that is it’s so unreliable. They’re so vulnerable to corruption. They’re often written anonymously. They often have interests, economically, politically or ideologically behind them that we’re not able to acknowledge.


I’m a corrupt monkey who’s eroding society. I didn’t realize I had that kind of power, although I’m really just a very small part of the mob.

I haven’t read the book but oddly enough, the author is writing a blog to promote it. I guess the fact that he’s a “professional” makes that ok.

blogging, andrew keen, future tense


  1. Carolyn Foote

    I picked up a galley copy of this book at our state library conference and have been reading a little of it.

    I question the basic premise. He feels that the amateur content online is basically “threatening” professional content.

    I would contend that what is threatening is lack of change–the providers of content that don’t survive, won’t survive because they aren’t adapting to this new environment.

    Will things be changing–certainly they will.

    But can’t the media, advertisers, music producers, etc. change as well?
    It reminds me of the argument that theaters will die because of video recorders, or flat screens, or….and yet they haven’t died and films are flourishing.

    I’ll be interested to see what the rest of the book has to say–I’m only into the first couple of chapters.

  2. Kelly Christopherson

    I must say that I’m not surprised that someone who makes his living being an expert is threatened when the monkeys, of which I am one, begin to ask questions. Like who know monkeys could talk? Really, there are those who are suppose to lead and the rest of us are suppose to follow – the mainstream media tells us that and now the monkeys are realizing that maybe, just maybe, we can question what we have been told and express a counter point of view. I always thought of myself as a professional with some intelligence. I mean, 3 degrees, 10 years of university, countless hours spent in conferences and workshops plus an untold amount of time reading magazines, newspapers, books and, yes, now blogs and wikis. I really did think I was somewhat able to think. Alas, once again, I have become a monkey, destined to spend my days hammering on my keyboard. Unless, of course, I can convince others, by writing a book or something, that I too am one of the “knowing” echelon and escape my monkey status. Now wonder we have so many people scared stiff of the new technology, they see their place in line being eroded and are now fighting back the only way they know how – by comparing us to monkeys. Well, to all you other monkeys banging away, keep at it! I, for one, am thrilled about what is happening. Power to the Monkeys!

  3. Betty

    That is too funny. I have always liked monkeys. It’s about time they had their day!

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