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I am organising the September 20 session of the Social Media Club. The aim of the session is to be a discussion on who or what will be the mediator in a world where the traditional gatekeepers are becoming “disintermediated” and this is an open invitation to anyone who wants to attend.
Andrew Keen has recently garnered a lot of attention for his book The Cult of the Amateur. In this he basically asserts that Web 2.0 is all about ditching the expert cultural mediators in the media, arts and music and replacing them with the ignorant, ill-informed or manipulative mass and at the same time destroying both economic and cultural value. He himself would admit that this is a populist polemic and it is not difficult to expose flaws in what he is saying. (See this recent exchange with Guardian Unlimited’s Emily Bell for a fairly comprehensive trouncing). However, I believe that the furious response his book has generated should not disguise what remains a fundamental truth: we are ditching the traditional mediators and cultural gatekeepers and we need to be confident that we are replacing them with something better.
Personally, I think that social media has within it a tendency to become essentially self-mediating to better standards than the traditional media. However, I am not 100 per cent confident that this will necessarily be the end result or will be achieved without some prompting. I don’t think the answer lies in forms of regulation or codes of conduct, but I do think the answer lies in looking at process. On of the big social shifts inherent in social media is that trust is moving from institutions to processes and James Surowiecki’s excellent Wisdom of the Crowds concludes that this wisdom can only be achieved when certain conditions or processes apply.
What might these processes be? Do we actually need regulation? How do we ensure the Wisdom of the Crowd prevails? These are the sorts of things it would be good to discuss.
This is an open event, its free – so please come along and spread the word beforehand. I would also be especially interested if anyone knows people more in the Andrew Keen camp to try and get some balance in the discussion. It will be good to get some idea of numbers beforehand and a registration from will be posted on the Social Media Club site shortly – if not, drop me a line or put a comment on this post.
It is on September 20, from 6-8pm at Blue Rubicon, 6 More Place, London SE1 2DA.
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