Andrew Keen to Speak on Web 2.0 and the “Cult of the Amateur” in Chicago in July

One of the most interesting critics of Web 2.0 is Andrew Keen, who makes some powerful comments in this February 2006 article published in The Weekly Standard, entitled "Web 2.0 is Reminiscent of Marx." An excerpt below:  ..."Speaking of Kafka, on the back cover of the January 2006 issue of "Poets and Writers" magazine, there is a seductive Web 2.0 style advertisement which reads:  "Kafka toiled in obscurity and died penniless. If only he'd had a website" . . . .Presumably, if Kafka had had a website, it would be located at kafka.com which is today an address owned by a mad left-wing blog called The Biscuit Report. The front page of this site quotes some words written by Kafka in his diary:  " I have no memory for things I have learned, nor things I have read, nor things experienced or heard, neither for people nor events; I feel that I have experienced nothing, learned nothing, that I actually know less than the average schoolboy, and that what I do know is superficial, and that every second question is beyond me. I am incapable of thinking deliberately; my thoughts run into a wall. I can grasp the essence of things in isolation, but I am quite incapable of coherent, unbroken thinking. I can't even tell a story properly; in fact, I can scarcely talk "¦" One of the unintended consequences of the Web 2.0 movement may well be that we fall, collectively, into the amnesia that Kafka describes. Without an elite mainstream media, we will lose our memory for things learnt, read, experienced, or heard. The cultural consequences of this are dire, requiring the authoritative voice of at least an Allan Bloom, if not an Oswald Spengler. But here in Silicon Valley, on the brink of the Web 2.0 epoch, there no longer are any Blooms or Spenglers. All we have is the great seduction of citizen media, democratized content and authentic online communities. And weblogs, course. Millions and millions of blogs..." Keen's new book, "The Cult of the Amateur - How Web 2.0 is Killing Our Culture" is coming out next week.  Whether or not you agree with his point of view, it promises to be interesting reading. For more on his book, click here.  For a link to his blog, click here. For a report on a recent discussion/cybersalon (Media Wars: Amateur vs. Auteur) by Scott Rosenberg, click here. There aren't too many pharma bloggers who write about what they ate for breakfast and most of their work isn't irrelevant or narcissistic.  
  •  patient blogs have empowered people who once viewed their doctors and pharmacists as "God" and accepted the word of physicians without question
  • professional journalists (e.g. in Pharmalot and the WSJ blog) are blogging, so it's not just for "amateurs" anymore 
  • insider blogs like In the Pipeline and Peter Rost's Question Authority which are promoting more open discussion and transparency within a closed industry.
 The reader will find what he or she likes and dismiss whatever seems boring and irrelevant. And, besides, what's wrong with amateurs---in the old-fashioned sense of the word: they love what they do. But for any of the curious who happen to be in Chicago in July, Keen will be speaking and signing books at the Merchandise Mart Conference Center on July 10 from 11:15 to 1:30. You can attend for free, but must register/RSVP first. For more information click here.
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