Why have I bought it? Why am I reading it? Isn’t Mr Keen‘s book an assault on everything to do with the mass publishing revolution we’re seeing on the internet? Isn’t it just a pean of praise to a declining “command and control” media environment that is being rapidly replaced by mass choice?
Well, here’s the thing. Many people on the leading edge of the Web 2.0 movement think we should ignore Mr Keen and his polemic about the horrific consequences for our culture of participatory web culture. “He’s just a troll,” they cry. “Don’t feed him.”
The problem is that he’s far from alone in his views. I’m part of a team (with ‘im and ‘im) who are trying to translate the workings of the modern internet into terms that working journalists grasp – and many of them come out with the same arguments that Keen does. It’s my job to counter these arguments, to understand the flaws in Keen’s logic and to spot the misleading evidence he produces. And, indeed, to understand where he’s right. Because this revolution is going to change media, and it is going to change the career structure of everyone involved in print journalism.
If you’re a working journalist today, it’s between you, your conscience and your bank manager as to whether you think it’s a bad thing or not.