Twitter for the Goose is Facebook for the Gander (Or Something)


Andrew Keen rose to fame by hating on the kids these days with their Facebooks and their posting of non-expert opinion on Internets, which he chronicles in his book The Cult of the Amateur. He sticks with that theme in an interview today with Reason contributor Meghan Keane from her new perch at Econconsultancy. (No relation, obviously. Keen to Keane: "You've got the Irish spelling. I've got the Jewish one.") As in this sample quote regarding Facebook:

It is a narcissistic product that devalues the notion of friendship. The fact that Facebook is run by a 20-something with no business experience is a hint that it is a hubristic product that will end in tears.

But then the twist: Keen twitters. It's OK, you see, because Twitter is totally different from the bad, leveling, democratizing Web 2.0.

"It's an increasingly small oligarchy on Twitter. There's a small group of people who have an immense amount of followers."

So on Web 3.0 (or whatever) oligarchy is good, since membership in the oligarchy somehow reflects superior contributions to the Internet. Certainly, this oligarch-dominated world is far better than the democratized rabble of Web 2.0, friending each other willy-nilly and then sending around videos of cats that look like Hitler. But when Web 1.0 was becoming Web 2.0, oligarchy was bad because it crushed individual preferences and human interaction, as in this quote from Keen's book about independent bookstores:

"Instead of 2,500 independent bookstores with their knowledgeable, book loving staffers, specialty sections, and relationships with local writers, we now have an oligarchy of online megastores employing soulless algorithms that use our previous purchases and the purchases of others to tell us what to buy."

It's tough to keep track. It seems that Keen's desire to add to his 6,012 followers on Twitter and thus be recognized as a true expert opinion-shaper is totally different than his desire to add to his 459 friends on Facebook. Which is also different from Amazon's desire to, well, have a lot of customers. Thank God we have an expert like Keen around to help us sort all of this out.

Reason on Keen here

NEXT: Is the Stimulus Working? Depends On the Meaning of "Working"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. his desire to add to his 459 friends on Facebook

    Look at his Facebook picture–he looks contemplative and constipated at the same time. Awesome.

    Keen reminds me of Tracy Flick in Election–he’s barely holding it together that his self-perceived greatness isn’t recognized by, well, anyone. When will he explode? I’m waiting.

  2. Epi, I think the look he’s going for is Blue Steel.

    Also, please get off of his lawn, mm’kay?

  3. Your link is bad (forbidden), Dagny.

    I think I might have to subscribe to his Twitter feed, just to create exquisite agony for myself.

  4. I take it Keen is not keen on democracy then what with its continual use of integrated opinions of millions of amateurs to select the political leadership.

  5. SugarFree’d? Boo. Sorry, dude, worked for me. Hier.

    I wonder what Old Man Keen (expertly) tweets about. It’s bound to be awesome.

  6. Kids, stay off the man’s lawn already!

  7. Oh dear god, I take it back. It’s just as boring and lacking in lulz as everyone else’s Twitter. Sample:

    “I’m long on BBC and short on CNN BBC + Google = world class media distributed virally on reliable platform.
    about 4 hours ago from TweetDeck

    my Brazilian Job: doing live video #talkshow at 2.00 pm Central today with Juliano Speyer live streamed thru UStream….
    about 5 hours ago from TweetDeck

    my interview @keanesian of econsultancy just went live where I explain ethnic difference between the Keanes & the Keens.
    about 5 hours ago from TweetDeck

    has the Internet made affinity marketing redundant? When you do away with payment, what’s the value in affinity?”

    I’m sleeping and typing. How am I doing that?

  8. He looks more bored and depressed than anything, all farklemt.

  9. Instead of Twitter, I use My Nuts. I pay attention to My Nuts all day long. Sometimes I spew out a few lines, but most of the time I just use My Nuts to be social.

  10. my Brazilian Job

    Massive overshare.

  11. Lamar–what’s the URL for My Nuts? It sounds like a great place to meet new people!

  12. It [Facebook] is a narcissistic product that devalues the notion of friendship

    Can’t argue with that. Ditto MySpace, of course, and all the other “be my friend” sites. It’s a stupid and narcissistic time-waster and therefore appealing to the 12- to 25-year-old set.

  13. I take it Keen is not keen on democracy then what with its continual use of integrated opinions of millions of amateurs to select the political leadership.

    He’d be a very wise man, then.

  14. Typical cultural elitist trying to tell us poor slobs what we should be interested in, doing etc. Democracy is great in the eyes of people like this joker until people start making decisions he personally doesn’t agree with.

    I’m not going to pretend that people are rational and informed all the time, far from it. But they are far more able to make decisions right for them than some elite or bureaucrat in an ivory tower.

  15. ed – dunno about Facebook, but MySpace was a definite place to meet tail when I was single. If I had MySpace when I was younger and fitter and better-looking, I would’ve had a different girl every day of the week…damn kids! 🙂

  16. Real tail or virtual tail, Lowdog?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.