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Andrew Keen

Recently in class we’ve been discussing Andrew Keen’s “The Cult of the Amateur.” During the group discussion last Friday, Professor Thiel-Stern asked the group members about one thing they agreed with Keen on and one thing they disagreed on. This is something I’d like to try. I agree with Keen when he says some of today’s most popular sites (YouTube, MySpace, etc.) have had an effect on the old way of doing things. Piracy and illegal downloading has had an effect on the music and movie industry, etc. But I don’t think the situation is as dire as Keen makes it out to be.

In particular, he cites a decline in 2005 domestic box office revenues. But those revenues have increased ever since then – the past two years have been more profitable than any years before. This year is setting off at a record pace as well, with record-breaking months in January and February. I also disagree with the impression Keen seems to give that the population can’t tell the difference between professionals and amateurs. We discussed this in class when Professor Thiel-Stern asked if anyone used blogs as their main source of news. But this extends to more entertainment-based Web sites like YouTube as well. While some people spend a lot of time on YouTube, I don’t think it’s eventually going to replace other forms of entertainment. We’re not going to see “dinner and a movie” date nights become “dinner and watching vlogs on YouTube” nights.