I was at the AlwaysOn conference in LA today. I was on a panel that was sparsely attended and not very organized. We didn't have a host/moderator. Bummer. And the panels were behind schedule so my friend Chris Fralic had to bail from our panel for his next one. Double bummer. I was feeling grumpy. Oh well.
But before my panel I saw Justin go head to head with/against Andrew Keen. Andrew has a book coming out called the Cult of the Amateur. He made the argument over and over and over again, that social media is killing our culture.
I don't want this post to sound like an attack but I really couldn't believe it. Andrew believes that MySpace, bloggers, and others contributing to our social media revolution are not qualified to contribute to the conversation. His point was that Digg and MySpace were going to lead the downfall of the NYTimes and other traditional media sources.
I'm not kidding. He cited the usual complaints about Wikipedia as an example. He said it was appalling that Pamela Anderson Wikipedia entry was longer than some historical events.
Andrew believes that some of us are qualified to be part of the conversation and others aren't. I wonder if he has a list published in his book of those that can and can't. He even suggested that the government and the role of big media should maintain standards - otherwise we will have an internet full of pornography and gambling. Huh? I was waiting for him to qualify who should and shouldn't vote based on intelligence.
Anyway, I'm sorry if this post feels like a rant. I don't know Andrew and I'm sure he's a good dude. Maybe he was just trying to be provocative to sell copies of his new book. I guess I'm used to being a little bored at these events so this one touched a nerve.
I think justin and justin.tv are interesting and fun (isn't fun okay too?).
Do I want to watch Justin.tv? Not really. It's not for me.
But obviously I'm a fan of personal publishing. We are still in the early days of where this is all going. And it great. As a simple example, I would love to broadcast my kids ballet recital or soccer games to our family members and close friends all over the planet.
I think what Justin is doing is actually a big deal. I like that he's pushing the bounds. We should pay attention and learn something here.