Amateur night? Or "the end of print'?

Dateline: Tue 30 Dec 2008

Thanks to the 30-something geek, also a relative, who tipped me off about Andrew Keen, an author and blogger ("The Cult of the Amateur," due out in -- gasp -- print, and his blog "Andrew Keen on Media, Culture and Politics...the Great Seduction.")

Keen is must-reading for those of us trying to discern the inky tea-leaves: wither print? How bad/good the Interweb? Is there a future for intelligent life on the planet? Since readers of this blog enjoyed a lively discussion regarding a recent post about such matters -- the one in which Pew Research informed the world that the Internet has overtaken print as a news source -- you will all find Keen's work fascinating.

First, he has it both ways.

He postulates in "The Cult of the Amateur" about "How Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking, and the Digital World are Assaulting our Economy, Culture and Values."

His "amateurs" are you and me; those cowpokes out on the new frontier, writing and participating in blog life. Throw in the kids, too. I'm still trying to navigate my way around that site, which is endlessly fascinating but a little light on content.

Anyhow, here is Keen's pitch:

"...we are teetering on the edge of catastrophe. Blogs, wikis and social networking are, indeed, assaulting our economy, our culture and our values. Web 2.0 is pushing us back into the Dark Ages.

That's a big deal. It's a message that needs to shouted from every available soapbox -- even from a loathsome blog like this. It deserves to be broadcast in the most electric of oranges.:

Since what I'm reading is the author's own promo, I can't offer a more critical review. Suffice to say, Keen has caught my eye.

His second splash regards his posting on the end of print, which he forecasts, boldly, for 2009.

"2009 is going to be the year in which the old print media industry -- newspapers, magazines, even books -- collectively falls off the cliff....Print will quickly become superfluous. I suspect that this is now inevitable. It's great news for trees, of course. And it's also excellent news for innovative entrepreneurs who can utilize this technology to reinvent newspapers, magazines and books for the digital age."

Um, wow.

The good news is that he writes about a widget you're no doubt educated about: an electronic text-reader by Plastic Logic, which will debut next year; it will allow you, the wayward traveler and others, to download newspapers, magazines, work files, etc., onto a small, 8 1/2 by 11 inch light-weight plastic screen, and read away.

So can we handle it? Both the death of print and the charge that we're all a bunch of wah-wah babies out here?

Read Keen:

And don't be shy sharing your thoughts. He isn't....


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