Some people think the Internet is a bad thing…

Before I forget, there is what looks like it could be a fascinating online event this evening from Amnesty International. No doubt that was Newsnight’s thinking behind featuring Andrew Keen‘s critical take on their programme and its blog.

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

Martha Lane Fox – lastminute.com; Clark Boyd – BBC; Ron Deibert – Open Net Initiative; Sami Ben Garbia – Tunisian cyber-dissident; Josh Wolf – US cyber-dissident; Morton Sklar –Yahoo! court case
Yan Sham-Shackleton – glutter.org; Markus Beckedahl – Network Media; Kevin Anderson – The Guardian; Shava Nerad – The Tor Project;

With contributions from: Jimmy Wales – Wikipedia; Richard Stallman – Free Software Movement; Ethan Zuckerman – Global Voices; Dan Gillmor – Center for Citizen Media; Yu Ling – wife of Chinese cyber-dissident; Cory Doctorow – Boing Boing

Not sure what to expect, but considering the quality of the cast, I should be plugged in myself…

  • Mick Fealty

    Has anyone else tried viewing this? It’s not showing for me…

  • Pete Baker

    Works here.

    Perhaps you’re being censored…

    ;op

  • Mick Fealty

    Working now. Good point from Kevin about the presentation of the blogosphere in the mainstream media, as though it was a single space, whereas it is constituted of 100s of thousands of blogospheres.

  • The Third Policeman

    Slightly off topic but related to the overall debate, did anyone catch the article on Web 2.0 in last Sunday Times News Review section? I thought it was pretty interesting. It was about ‘The Cult of the Amateur’ by Andrew Keen. His idea was that what some bloggers would have called the dictatorship of the Experts with old media and certain art forms is being replaced by a new dictatorship of the Idiots with blogs and Youtube. According to Keen the sort of ‘wisdom of the crowd’ mentality that websites like wikipedia are based upon are belittling expertise amd experience. Now he takes it quite far and compares it to an Orwellian scenario where if the crowd says two plus two equals five, well you get the picture. Hell he even manages to get a reference to Pol Pot’s elimination of talent and expertise in Cambodia! Exagerations but maybe dwindling newpapers sales is an indication of the beginning of the end for old media. Would that not be a shame?

  • Mick Fealty

    Good shout, you can get it here. I should have a piece on it in CIF tomorrow.

  • Aaron McDaid

    The Third Policeman,
    I’m sure I’m not the only one who has decided that ‘old’ media is (even) worse than ‘new’ media. So the more Keen attacks new media, it just makes old media look even worse by comparison! In the Wikipedia vs. Britanica study by the respected journal Nature, the interesting thing wasn’t that Wikipedia was as good as Britanica, but that Britanica was riddled with errors. And just yesterday I started reading a book which kept claiming that the King that Cromwell and co. executed was called William, not Charles. I remember a newspaper article claiming that a particular suspect had never married, then a few paragraphs later that he was married with kids!

    Old media needs to work really hard to improve their systems and regain the credibility they didn’t deserve in the first place.

    Of course, if a journalist says “my newspaper is good”, then I can just say “The blogs I choose are good”.

    By the way, I thought it was quite pathetic of Gavin Esler on the BBC to make sure his BAFTA was prominently displayed during his clip attacking Wikipedia.

  • Niall

    “Good point from Kevin about the presentation of the blogosphere in the mainstream media, as though it was a single space, whereas it is constituted of 100s of thousands of blogospheres.”

    Yes, but old media is generally viewed by bloggers as a singe homogenous space as well. I use the following quite from the most recent poster as an example.

    “Old media needs to work really hard to improve their systems and regain the credibility they didn’t deserve in the first place.”

  • Aaron McDaid

    Niall,
    Good point there. I suppose I made a similar point when I was trying to say we can’t judge all blogs by just looking at one. Nor can we judge all newspapers or TV shows by looking at just one.

    I think what I was trying to say is that if Esler wants to play the “lets judge ’em all by their weakest link” line, then his argument will backfire.

    The dissemination of all sorts of information has always been pretty shoddy. The internet is improving the situation, and simultaneously educating everyone on how unreliable all forms of media can be.

  • As a person who has had over a half-century’s experience in the old and new media, academe, and the blogosphere, I must say that the blog is a decided improvement.

    While the blogosphere does permit a potential leveling down of information and knowledge because of all kinds of idiocy, stubbornness and disinformation from bloggers, most people don’t realize just how restrictive, erroneous, and stubborn the old media and academe were and are.

    They were the controllers of information, and one really has to have been in them to realize just how difficult it was to get them to promote any critical analysis, present a different point of view about controversial matters, and even correct the most elementary errors about the most minor matters.

    For me, the blog is one of the few improvements I have seen in the last quarter century.