Contact 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.
Contents[ edit ] 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. Every visit to Wikipedia's free information hive means one less customer for a professionally researched and edited encyclopedia such as Britannica. He observes that as advertising dollars migrate from newspapers, magazines and television news to the Web, organizations with the expertise and resources to finance investigative and foreign reporting face more and more business challenges. And he suggests that as CD sales fall in the face of digital piracy and single-song downloads and the music business becomes increasingly embattled, new artists will discover that Internet fame does not translate into the sort of sales or worldwide recognition enjoyed by earlier generations of musicians. In this medium, contributions by intellectuals lose their power to create a focus. He views this expert-based filtering process as beneficial, improving the quality of popular discourse, and argues that it is being circumvented.
In it, the author expresses his concern for the profligacy of online amateurism, spawned by the digital revolution. This, he feels, has had a destructive impact on our culture, economy and values. Have a read and share your thoughts — is he being alarmist about the effects of the Web 2. Are we at the mercy of the amateur? What, in any case, can be done?