Posts Tagged ‘keen’

This week we had two readings: “The Noble Amateur” by Andrew Keen, and “The Geography of Knowledge” by David Weinberger:

The Geography of Knowledge

Giuseppe Maria Crespi - Bookshelves - WGA05755

Giuseppe Maria Crespi - Bookshelves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With Weinberger’s reading we can see that he is quite open to the change in information organization that has been brought about by increasingly powerful technology – such as his example of and books being linked to several different categories. Users can even create categories and “lists” themselves. Technology is changing the way information is gathered (using tags or key phrases for example), stored (depending on who is collecting it), and accessed (depending on your search terms). This is a far cry from the Dewey decimal system within which a book can only hold one physical spot in a library, and how do you decide which category fits best? The Internet, and especially or, have seemingly erased that problem. Don’t be fooled that they did this out of the goodness of their own hearts, however, because it is simply a marketing tool. My own experience working in a bookstore some time ago, I experienced first-hand how hard it can be to categorize many books. Within sections, we would have subsections, and subsections would have subsections.. and often these sections made no sense whatsoever! I would hazard a guess that at least 90% of the time, unless I simply already knew where a book was located in the store, I ended up searching for the category used in our inventory system, which often did not match up with the multitude of locations a book could be found in on the company website. I would like to note that while I personally may use the internet to order my books because of ease of access, nothing to me can change the physical feeling of holding a book in my hands. In my small basement suite room, I have two floor to ceiling shelving units filled predominantly with books (and those are just my favourites – the rest are in storage). I love the feeling of picking up one of my favourite novels and seeing its cracked spine and yellowed pages. It’s a feeling that I could never replace with an e-reader. Also, I am sitting in a library as I write this blog post. Just food for thought!

Critique of “The Geography of Knowledge” by Weinberger:

I found the concept behind this reading interesting, but the detailed analysis of the Dewey decimal system was dry and I didn’t feel like it was teaching me much that related to our course beyond the fact that now we are not stuck with the boundaries of physical space imposed by categorizing books in a library.

The Noble Amateur

A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenomenon in i...

A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenomenon in itself) presenting Web 2.0 themes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keen, on the other hand, I can say nothing positive about his opinion or his reading. He is openly elitist, capitalist, and, well… when it comes to social equality he is an absolute idiot. Keen states that with the advent of “Web 2.0”, “instead of having a dictatorship of experts, we’ll have a dictatorship of idiots” (p. 89), because amateurs can post content to the web. The mere fact that Keen uses the word dictatorship is a reflection of what kind of power he expects to hold in the world simply because he has a University degree. Ironically enough, Keen criticizes bloggers and podcasters, yet he has his own blog and his own podcast. In an article from March 17, 2012, the Daily Herald writes “Keen rails against the “cult of the social” and worries that we’re jeopardizing privacy and liberty in the “march toward ubiquitous public-ness.” But he grants that Facebook and Twitter have become part of the “socio-economic infrastructure of 21st century life,” and so reconciling them is not a simple task” (Associated Press, 2012). Yet, Keen has his own twitter account: @ajkeen.

Critique of the Noble Amateur:

I could find little, if anything at all, of substance in this reading. Instead of turning on my critical thinking skills about how information is provided on the Internet, I found myself enraged by reading such a biased and socioeconomically insensitive author. The worst reading from the entire course, hands down.


Associated Press. (2012, March 17). SXSW Sees Bit of Technology Backlash. Retrieved from

Keen, A. (2007). Chapter 2: The Noble Amateur . In Fernyhough, L. (Ed.), Comm 105: Communication and Technology. Course Package: Winter 2012, (pp. 89-103). Victoria, BC: Camosun College Bookstore. (Reprinted from The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture, 35-63).

Weinberger, D. (2007). Chapter 3: The Geography of Knowledge. In Fernyhough, L. (Ed.), Comm 105: Communication and Technology. Course Package: Winter 2012, (pp. 105-113). Victoria, BC: Camosun College Bookstore. (Reprinted from Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder, 46-63).