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.
Why has the invention most celebrated for putting the means of expression in the hands of the people produced a few billionaire moguls and a mass of creative producers expected to work for free? Confronting this core inequality of the digital age, Astra Taylor opens a new front in the battle for sustainable culture-and gives us good reason to think that this is a battle we can win.--Jodi Dean, author of Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies
Number Of Pages: 276
Published: 15th April 2014
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.3 x 16.3 x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.46