I bought this book because of this critical & splendid review. From its sample copy, it comes off as reinforcing some of my suspicions and cynicism about the Internet and its culture. One of it is that the Internet, despite its heralding of a new world order, still sorta mirrors the legacy system it is celebrated to disrupt. I believe this book articulates it better than I could. (All the big publishers - The New York Times & The UK Observer, especially, have good things to say about it). I love the Internet but I worry that its structure of survival is still very much at the mercy of a legacy structure of capitalism and government control.
"The Internet has been hailed as an unprecedented democratizing force, a place where everyone can be heard and all can participate equally. But how true is this claim? In a seminal dismantling of techno-utopian visions, The People's Platform 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 has been not a revolution but a rearrangement. Although Silicon Valley tycoons have eclipsed 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 on the web, 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 online world does offer a unique opportunity, but a democratic culture that supports diverse voices and work of lasting value will not spring up from technology alone. If we want the Internet to truly be a people's platform, we will have to make it so."