Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Lawrence Lessig
PlagiarismToday
GoodReports.net
The Independent
New York Times
PopMatters

Andrew Keen

The cult of the amateur

In the past, publishing our work usually meant going via a large organisation. The coming of the internet has changed that, now any of us can display our work to the world at minimal expense. Andrew Keen thinks this is a move in the wrong direction. In The Cult of the Amateur: How blogs, MySpace, YouTube and the rest of today's user-generated media are killing our culture and economy he argues that the internet is damaging our society.

Much of what is on the internet is very shallow, but I would say that this book is full of similarly shallow arguments (Keen expected this sort of criticism, so one wonders why he wrote the book at all - it's actually been suggested that the book is a parody). Yes news reports on the internet might be inaccurate, but so might reports on the printed page, and it's hard to see why other avenues should be surpressed just to prop up newspapers' advertising revenue. Wikipedia comes in for a lot of criticism, but in my mind it is surprising how good it is as a source of information. In academia, the internet is blamed for plagiarism of essays and the like, but this sort of copying has always gone on - its more the switching from exams to coursework has highlighted it. In the 'solutions' chapter, talking about what is to be done, Keen seems more reasonable, but that just highlights what a rant the rest of the book is.

Of course there are legitimate concerns related to internet use such as large scale copyright infringement and children accessing inappropriate material, but if I think that if you want a well thought out discussion of this then it would be best to look elsewhere.

Amazon.com info
Paperback
ISBN: 1857885201
Salesrank: 12549936
Weight:0.71 lbs
Published: 2008 Unknown
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 1857885201
Salesrank: 438217
Weight:0.71 lbs
Published: 2008 Nicholas Brealey Publishing
Amazon price £12.99
Marketplace:New from £5.00:Used from £4.55
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Paperback
ISBN: 1857885201
Salesrank: 1472213
Weight:0.71 lbs
Published: 2008 Unknown
Amazon price CDN$ 8.00
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 8.00:Used from CDN$ 12.04
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Product Description
Cult of the Amateur