‘Cult of the Amateur’ reviewed

Over at the blog Social Media, the post Putting the lie to ‘Cult of the Amateur’ links to reviews by two people who really, really did not like Andrew Keen’s book.

Terry Heaton’s post The terrified world view of Andrew Keen sum’s up the book’s position:  "the personal media revolution will destroy Hollywood, the professional press and the advertising industry, thus collapsing our economy." In his interesting analysis of the book and its arguments, Heaton concludes that “  ‘The cult of the amateur’ is nothing more than a can of neatly stacked red herrings, and that doesn’t make for a debate at all."

The other review is Amateurish cult of the amateur by Dan Gillmor of the Center for Citizen Media blog. This review is less interesting because its theme is not only to analyse the book but also to defend the reviewer’s own book and writings on the topic. Nevertheless, one can get a vivid snapshot of some of the issues from it, for example a case of mainstream journalists and bloggers coming up against the libel laws.

At risk of stating the self-evident, Andrew Keen must be crying all the way to the bank. Terry Heaton’s quote at the top of his blog sums it up pretty well: "Postmodernism is a change-or-be-changed world. The word is out: Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die! Some would rather die than change." Leonard Sweet, cultural historian.

4 thoughts on “‘Cult of the Amateur’ reviewed

  1. I think this debate nicely encapsulates exactly where blogging is on development curve just at the moment. Citizen media is in its infancy. Nobody quite understands what it is or how it will develop, or indeed, how it will impact on traditional media (although nobody doubts that it has or will). But at present it’s easy for someone like Andrew Keen to predict the apocalypse, and that winds up the evangelist community, who respond almost in kind. I think the comments at the bottom of Dan Gillmor’s piece are very telling. An infantile debate for a medium in its infancy.

  2. Good review, Douglas. I read, and enjoyed Glenn Reynolds’ Army of Davids (well, the first part anyway, when he gets onto the science it is not so good), and I am sure I have more sympathy with the Reynolds view than Keen’s.
    By the way, if anyone wants to read Douglas’s review, there is a comma at the end of the URL that you have to remove or you will get “page not found”.

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