Front cover image for The people's platform : taking back power and culture in the digital age

The people's platform : taking back power and culture in the digital age

From a cutting-edge cultural commentator and documentary filmmaker, this work is a bold and brilliant challenge to cherished notions of the Internet as the great democratizing force of our age. The Internet has been hailed as a place where all can be heard and everyone can participate equally. But how true is this claim? In this seminal dismantling of techno-utopian visions, the author argues that for all that we "tweet" and "like" and "share," the Internet in fact reflects and amplifies real-world inequities at least as much as it ameliorates them. Online, just as off-line, attention and influence largely accrue to those who already have plenty of both. What we have seen so far, she says, has been not a revolution but a rearrangement. Silicon Valley tycoons now coexist with Hollywood moguls; a handful of giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook remain the gatekeepers. And the worst habits of the old media model, the pressure to seek easy celebrity, to be quick and sensational above all, have proliferated online, where "aggregating" the work of others is the surest way to attract eyeballs and ad revenue. When culture is "free," creative work has diminishing value and advertising fuels the system. The new order looks suspiciously like the old one. We can do better, the author insists. The online world does offer an unprecedented opportunity, but a democratic culture that supports diverse voices, work of lasting value, and equitable business practices will not appear as a consequence of technology alone. If we want the Internet to truly be a people's platform, we will have to make it so.-- Publisher information
Print Book, English, ©2014
Metropolitan Books, New York, ©2014