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August 02, 2007

Is Anonymity Killing the Internet? Is the Internet Killing Culture?

Andrew Keen, you’re on my radar because of two different sources: your quote in a TIME article on online anonymity and Calacanis’ Twitter post recommending your recent Authors@Google presentation.

If Jason is recommending that everyone in Web2.0 see your presentation at Google, then it sounds like I better know about what you’re saying.

I scanned the TIME article while at the gym last week and ripped out the page primarily because I disagreed with the authors’ conclusion that there aren’t many forums where the need to exchange information anonymously is not that compelling and that “if we are to save the internet, we need to confront the curse of anonymonity.”

Maybe it’s because I listen to 2600 or have a libertarian bent on freedom of speech and on regulating the internet, but I don’t think anonymity is going to kill the internet. But the subtitle to Keen’s book is how the internet is killing culture.

Hear Keen’s recent interview on KCRW’s To the Point where he says that free has serious repercussions: you get what you pay for. "The big crisis is for the content creators" because Google and YouTube are the ones making all the money from ad revenues that wrap around all this user generated content.

Perhaps the real dinger from this interview is Keen’s comment that bloggers don’t read or don’t like the printed medium because they expect everything for free. Perhaps hyperbole but I can’t believe he would say bloggers don’t like to read books.

And this is the part that Jason will love, Keen’s biggest complaint or concern with Wikipedia or Digg relates to the anonymity, that rather than a crowd contributing information it’s really just a small group of activists. Xeni counters that these sites are in their first iterations and that these sites are democractic, even if some voices naturally rise to the top.

I’m starting a fishing trip vacation for the rest of this week and next week so I picked up Keen’s book and will hopefully finish it and have a review to post later.

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