The Internet: Culture or Crap?
Andrew Keen (Cult of The Amateur) and David Weinberger (Everything Is Miscellaneous) have been debating the merits of Web 2.0. Andrew thinks the Internet is unraveling popular culture and will lead to terrible ends. David sees nothing but upside.
It is an interesting article with lots of good links. However, what caught my eye was that this article held a very low rank while other articles (that were more common place, in my opinion) held higher rank/reads.
Is the effect of the Internet on world events and culture not of value? To me, this is an interesting commentary on the human condition. When there are weighty and important matters to be discussed, we would rather rent a movie and escape into a world of entertainment. Often, when we are faced with reality, we try to retreat from it and distract ourselves with less important matters.
Why do we purposely ignore or brush aside issues that will eventually come back around and scream in our faces for attention? Why are we more outer-focused than inner-focused?
This goes for many arenas in life:
Business – we’re more interested in leadership charisma than leadership character
Production – we’re more interested in product quantity than product quality
Love – we’re more interested in the temporary than the long-term
Finances – we’re more interested in how much we make to spend than how much we save to give
Relationships – we’re more interested in what’s in it for us than what is in it for another
And the list goes on, but it’s not a new list. Are we plagued to repeat the past? Can the Internet evolve into a viable and meaningful culture or, because of the human condition, will it spiral into abysmal redundancy? Will the Internet culture sink to a feel-good nihilistic mentality?
As additional commentary, Guy Kawasaki recently compared the blogosphere to a mountain of dirt in which one may happen upon “a rich vein of gold” — that one blog worthy of reading. He could have easily said, a mountain of dung, but I guess it would not have fit the metaphor.
So, what are your thoughts? Just ignore the growing media channel of the Internet? Who would you agree more with, Andrew Keen or David Weinberger?
The question is a tough one. The answer lurks beneath the façade. Are we willing to stop, peel back the layers, and take a look at what’s happening?
Photo Credit: A. Murray, Copyright © 2000 University of Florida.