wasting bandwidth since 1999

Web 2.0 Is Anti-American

I didn’t realize it, but I’m a hippie, Marxist, communist. At least according to one writer, who sees direct connections between the concepts behind Web 2.0 and the writings of Karl Marx.

So what, exactly, is the Web 2.0 movement? As an ideology, it is based upon a series of ethical assumptions about media, culture, and technology. It worships the creative amateur: the self-taught filmmaker, the dorm-room musician, the unpublished writer. It suggests that everyone – even the most poorly educated and inarticulate amongst us – can and should use digital media to express and realize themselves. Web 2.0 “empowers” our creativity, it “democratizes” media, it “levels the playing field” between experts and amateurs. The enemy of Web 2.0 is “elitist” traditional media.

Sounds familiar? It’s eerily similar to Marx’s seductive promise about individual self-realization in his “German Ideology”.

Wow! And that’s only the beginning of his rant. How do you argue with crap like that?

So, what is wrong with just about anyone having access to the tools of creativity and communication that only a few years ago were only available to a few, wealthy folks?

It seems to boil down to his opinion that all of this “amateur” content is going to supplant the “professional” media, costing us “our memory for things learnt, read, experienced, or heard”.

Web 2.0 isn’t the “enemy” and will probably result in an expanding of our collective memory rather than shrinking it. Very little of what I’ve read about Web 2.0 (or whatever you want to call it) suggests that the traditional content producers are going away any time soon.

However, all of this is certainly pressuring big media to re-evaluate what their role is, and will very likely lead to major alterations in the way they do business. But changes like that have happened to industries throughout history.

The difference here is that these changes are unpredictable, difficult to control and, more importantly, corporations haven’t figured out how to make huge profits from them.

And, being a “a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur and digital media critic”, that is probably this writer’s biggest beef here.

web 2.0, marx, traditional media

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4 Comments

  1. Mark Scardiglia

    If you were to take a look at this guy’s blog and read some of the mindless drivel that he passes off as analysis there, you wouldn’t trouble yourself over him. What I find disturbing is thast CBS News has chosen to give him bandwidth.

  2. Tim

    You’re right that the writing on his blog is not worth a response. Unfortunately, by posting this under their banner, CBS offers his opinion a degree of credibility it doesn’t deserve.

  3. Col

    I guess when the guy says that Web 2.0 is anti-American, what he actually means is that it’s anti-Capitalist. And who knows, maybe it does take the means of production out of the hands of the priveliged few and spread it around – but so did Web 1.0.

    And I don’t see anyone who espouses 2.0, creative commons and so forth actually objecting to people making money from their creations either, they just want it done in a fair and ethical manner.

    (Or maybe that’s what the true objection is?)

  4. brahahaha!

    My favourite part is the ‘elite mainstream media’ part. Is he referring to the sitcom version of that, the fox news part or the Meg Ryan part i wonder. The elitism of the mainstream. I’m going to be giggling about that all day!

    Thanks for the heads up Tim. cheers.

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