Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The web, free entry, mash-ups, and lack of context: more books take on the issue of "amateurism"

Michiko Kakutani has an interesting perspective on p 2 of the “Arts & Leisure” section of The New York Times (Sunday March 21) about social media and user-generated content, “Texts without context: The Internet mashes up everything we know about culture,” link here. The article mentions books by Jaron Lanier, Andrew Keen, and others, on the problem of “amateurism” and on the atomization of content, creating a public no longer able to take in the whole of something (like a physical book on the beach, pun intended). It’s particularly interesting that people want to be noticed globally before they take on responsibility for specific other people, as if generative responsibility no longer added to identity. In the new world, only the most “charismatic” individuals can make a living (and support families – other people) from such unsupervised content – but is that so new?

One idea to remember is that even amateurs and “connect the dots” among their own content items with hyperlinks and blog labels, encouraging the visitor to the whole picture. And that is oh, so 90’s in concept.

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