The Cult of the Amateur


Like me you might have enjoyed the benefits of the web 2.0 revolution, but also be wary of the harm it is doing.

I found a book by Andrew Keen, he's a silicon valley insider, who reveals the dark side of the current technology utopia.

He describes how egotism, meets bad taste, and leads to mob rule, and the result of things being interacted with by what is most 'popular', rather than what is most useful, helpful, accurate etc.

Keep that in mind next time you are 'googling' something, and the results are what is most 'popular'.

He talks about how we are losing the ability to think, as a generation is raised that think cutting and pasting some-else's material on a blog is an original and creative act.

There is a great example in the book, from the one of the creators of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, who found that letting anyone write about anything led to a realization that 'fully democratic open-source networks inevitably get corrupted by loonies' (page 186).

Sanger has gone on to implement 'Citizendium', that combines public participation with 'gentle expert guidance'. There are 'constables' who police the nutters, and rule breakers.

There is a serious tone in the book, that the industry that gives us everything free with it's click throughs from advertising, is costing us dearly in in terms of lost potential good content.

'By stealing away our eyeballs, the blogs and wikis are decimating the publishing, music and news-gathering industries that created the original content those Web sites ‘aggregate.’ Our culture is essentially cannibalizing its young, destroying the very sources of the content they crave.”'***

So web 2.0 does enable us all to have a voice, but is it time to edit some of those voices? And when it comes to church, how much are we doing that is 'popular', pandering to the new web 2.0 metaphors, instead of what is most helpful, and useful etc?

*** NT Time interview and review