Monday, June 04, 2012

Prophetic Warning
or Panic for Sale?

A few years ago NBC had what I considered to be a brilliant ad campaign for an extended period of summer reruns. NBC's pitch was "If you haven't seen it, it's new to you." We're invariably and habitually attracted to the "new". I can put out an album and the next week be fielding questions about when my next new album is coming out.

Anyway, my point in that brief preface is to link to a 2007 video with Andrew Keen which was recorded at Google Corporate Headquarters. This speech was given the day his book The Cult of the Amateur was released. (I haven't read it yet.) He seems to be a polarizing figure, as all provocateurs have a tendency to be I suppose. But I think he sounds an important clarion call worth paying attention to.

I am not a conspiracy theorist by nature. I recognize the "man bites dog" story still garners more attention than "dog bites man". There is no shortage of news alerts that are absolutely not urgent. 

But I found this "warning" worth my time. Given my recent discovery of Seth Godin (see my blogroll), I found myself wondering if they've ever had any public discussions/debates. [Stops writing, checks] ... Click HERE for an interview excerpt with Messrs. Keen and Godin.

I'm trying to find my way between mistaking time at the computer for "real work" that I need to do versus properly paying attention to the communication tools that are, literally, now the coin of the realm. Keen's talk is not on that struggle in particular, but a fascinating counterpoint to the many ways in which the internet has aided and abetted my ability to continue on (albeit quite modestly) with my life in music.

Your thoughts?


Robyn said...

What an appropriate post on a day when I have been debating (again) in my mind whether to continue on with Facebook, Twitter and multiple blogs. Have you read Andrew Keen's book "Digital Vertigo"? It speaks to my paradoxical internet life.
Thanks for the video and the links.

~ One of those Elkintons

Chuck Brown said...

I think it's clear that the "old guard" weeded out a lot of the fluff and gave us some excellence. On the other hand, it was far from we've seen from the thousands of celebrities who were driven completely mad by the pressure of the star-making machinery.

My sense is that we are simply in an immature state with this new internet economy. Democratization means that everyone has access to the tools to become famous. That's the good news and the bad news. In order for there ever to be any credibility to the new system, we'll need to see the emergence of maverick, incorruptible voices of criticism and endorsement... unimpeachable because they can't be bought. People like for someone else to do their listening and thinking for them.

Those voices (and I think we'll "know them when we see them") will gain gravitas at some point...and as the old guard dies off and the legit new guard emerges, I think we'll see less of the cult of the amateur. But we've got a long way to go to get there.

And then, of course...there's the question of whether those voices will stay independent. There's always financial incentive to bring them under a big structure in order that they can get consistent payoff while someone else profits by owning the rights to their stuff.

So I think this will be a long slog. And the road will be very muddy for some time to come.