From a cutting-edge cultural commentator, a bold and brilliant challenge to cherished notions of the Internet as the great leveler of our age
The Internet has been hailed as an unprecedented democratizing force, a place where all can be heard and everyone 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, Astra Taylor says, has been not a revolution but a rearrangement. Although Silicon Valley tycoons have eclipsed Hollywood moguls, the gatekeepers remain a handful of giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook, which dominate our online lives. And the worst habits of the old media model-the pressure to be quick and sensational, to seek easy celebrity, to appeal to the broadest possible public-have proliferated online, where every click can be measured and where "aggregating" the work of others is the surest way to attract eyeballs and ad revenue. In a world where culture is "free," creative work has diminishing value, and advertising fuels the system, the new order looks suspiciously just like the old one.
We can do better, Taylor 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.
A "New York Times Book Review" Editor's Choice "Taylor's critique hits hard... "The People's Platform" should be taken as a challenge by the new media that have long claimed to be improving on the old order."--Tim Wu, "The New York Times Book Review ""Essential... In this idealistic--yet rigorous and clear-eyed--argument, Taylor takes on crucial contradictions... She is the Marshall McLuhan or the Neil Postman of our new digital economy, the lonely voice raising urgent questions we need to answer together, or else surrender our choices to Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon.... If "The People's Platform" doesn't spark the conversation about the kind of democracy and culture we deserve, then we'll deserve the one we get."--NY1 News' "The Book Reader" "Taylor's smart and nuanced overview of the new media landscape is the best I've recently read and an excellent summary of the mess we're in.... After reading Taylor's brisk and lucid survey, there's no denying that in online media, the market is falling short.""--The Boston Globe ""Taylor makes a thorough case that the technological advances we've been told constitute progress--that anyone can start a blog, that we can easily keep up with our friends (and frenemies) on Facebook, that Twitter can foment democratic revolution -- are actually masking and, in some cases, exacerbating social ills that have long plagued our society... Compelling and well argued.""--Los Angeles Times ""Do you use the Internet? Then you have to read Astra Taylor's "The People's Platform," one of the most important books of the year.... Taylor is a clear-eyed writer and a provocative thinker, covering the shifting grounds of how the Internet changes and affects today's culture, from journalism to music. It makes you very wary about having a Facebook page.""--Flavorwire ""A bracing expression of intelligent outrage--with the manifesto vibe of "No Logo" and the prescience of "Silent S
Number Of Pages: 276
Published: 15th April 2014
Dimensions (cm): 24.3 x 16.3 x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.46