Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Metablogging: Why this blog won't ruin the Internet

A while ago, Andrew Keen created quite a fuss when he claimed that the Internet is ruining everything: "Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking, and the Digital World are Assaulting our Economy, Culture and Values". I haven't had a change to read The Cult of the Amateur yet, but I've come across snippets of his arguments around the place, and they're awfully familiar. Much of the concern seems to come down to a feeling that without proper filtering mechanisms, our culture (and economy, and values) will be overrun by tasteless and ill-informed amateurism.

I don't have the time to get too deeply into these arguments now, but I did want to at least bring up the issue, since we're joining the cacophony of unedited, unfiltered voices out there. Firstly: I have a lot of faith in amateurs. Amateurs (who, like me, are sometimes also professionals/experts, depending on what they're producing) create many beautiful and useful things. They don't necessarily create the same beautiful and useful things that accredited experts do, which is probably a good thing. Secondly: the Internet isn't really unfiltered. It's more of a cross between a complete free-for-all and the academic process of peer review. We cite each other by linking to pages, find networks of shared interests, critique and build a conversation.

Blogging isn't the same as publishing in a journal or presenting a paper, but I feel that it can still provide something useful, and hopefully beautiful.

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