When media executives (and the occasional columnist on a deadline) talk about ‘the problem with the web’ they often revert to a series of recurring themes. In doing so they draw on a range of discourses that betray assumptions, institutional positions and ideological leanings. I thought I’d put together a list of some common memes of hatred directed towards the internet at various points by publishers and journalists, along with some critical context.
If you can think of any other common complaints, or responses to the ones below, post them in the comments and I’ll add them in. I’ll also update this blog post whenever I come across new evidence on any of the topics.
Meanwhile, here’s a table of contents for easy access:
- Undemocratic and unrepresentative (The ‘Twitterati’)
- ‘The death of common culture’
- The ‘echo chamber’/death of serendipity (homophily)
- ‘Google are parasites’
- ‘Bloggers are parasites’
- ‘You don’t know who you’re dealing with’
- Rumour and hearsay ‘magically become gospel’
- ‘Unregulated’ lack of accountability
- Cult of the amateur
The presumption here is that the media as a whole is more representative and democratic than users of the web. You know, geeks. The ‘Twitterati’ (a fantastic ideologically-loaded neologism that conjures up images of unelected elites). A variant of this is the position that sees any online-based protest as ‘organised’ and therefore illegitimate. Continue reading