The Good, The Bad, and Web 2.0

I should not be writing here – I should be writing one of my three papers, but I couldn’t resist. I got distracted by a “discussion” between Andrew Keen, writer of The Cult of the Amateur, and David Weinberger, author of Everything is Miscellaneous.

Keen says:

Yes, the people have finally spoken. And spoken. And spoken.

Now they won’t shut up. The problem is that YOU! have forgotten how to listen, how to read, how to watch… We’ve lost truth and interest in the objectivity of mainstream media because of our self-infatuation with the subjectivity of our own messages.

Weinberger responds:

Your wildly unflattering picture of life on the Web could also be painted of life before the Web. People chatter endlessly. They believe the most appalling things. They express prejudices that would peel the paint off a park bench"¦ So, Andrew, you join a long list of those who predict the decline of civilization and pin the blame on the latest popular medium, except this time it’s not comic books, TV, or shock jock radio. It’s the Web.

The thing that I love is that Weinberger is not blinding accepting the entire web as gospel. He has never said that. He makes a great point that I have tried to make in the past (in particular when talking about blogs):

Open up The Britannica at random and you’re far more likely to find reliable knowledge than if you were to open up the Web at random. That’s why we don’t open up the Web at random. Instead, we rely upon a wide range of trust mechanisms, appropriate to their domain, to guide us.

I have not finished reading the interview, but I wanted to share these bits from the beginning and bring your attention to the fact that it’s out there.

[PS. On a side note – the house is sold, the contract on the new house is almost final, settlements should be on August 13th and I’m 5 weeks into my last 10 week term – so I’ll be back in action sooner than you think!]

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