Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Andrew Keen’s Next Book Will Attack the Social Web

In his latest attack against where the Web is going, author and provocateur Andrew Keen now accuses social media of wrenching away its users’ individuality.

Where Keen’s last book took on user-generated content and Web 2.0, his upcoming “Digital Vertigo” will challenge what some people like LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman call Web 3.0: Ubiquitous personal data.

“Most of all, (the new book is) an attack on the social,” Keen said today in an interview outside the Techonomy conference in Tucson, Ariz.

Web users have fallen in love with “the illusion of community,” Keen argued — and in doing so, have given away their secrecy, privacy and individuality.

Keen said influences on “Digital Vertigo” include John Stuart Mills’s “On Liberty” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.” That’s because Mills described how the Industrial Revolution harmed the individual, and Hitchcock depicted the ruination of a man’s life when he fell in love with a woman who didn’t exist.

It all sounds terribly dramatic, doesn’t it?

Keen’s previous book, “The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture,” was a divisive critique of blogs, Wikipedia, Google and other user-generated content for dumbing down society.

“Digital Vertigo” is to be released in May 2012.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work