Le Web 3: Emily Bell vs. Andrew Keen
Highlight of the afternoon so far was the bunfight between Emily Bell of The Guardian Unlimited and controversial 'Cult of the Amateur' author Andrew Keen - the Floyd Mayweather and Ricky 'Hitman' Hatton of the Web 2.0 world.
Whereas Emily believes that the internet is generally a good thing for established media organisations, Andrew believes user generated content and social networking generally is undermining traditional media.
Round one = Emily Bell gets off to a great start with lightening quick comments. "We would be more and more irrelevant if we didn't let people interact."
Round two = Andrew Keen fights back. "Guardian is a very valuable resource. Unlike other sites it doesn't allow kids to spew their crap and their journalists are paid."
Round three = "Internet is a fantastically vibrant right of reply. Your history follows you around. It needs to be an iterative process" (Emily Bell)
Round four = Andrew Keen lands a low punch. "Journalists are being laid off while social networking sites with Z names like Zing, Zang or Zong are being developed which have absolutely no business model."
Round five = Emily Bell knocks Andrew Keen out. After Keen's rant about "how the internet can't replace the real world, it can only be a supplement to it" Bell concludes, "It's a fantastic tool to make the isolated part of the community...You can't control the conversation, you merely facilitate it. The best we can do is work with the internet." Keen limps off stage, snarling that his next book will be nothing to do with the internet. Despite the posturing though, I bet secretly he's a really nice guy.