On this Central Standard, we speak with the man they call the Antichrist of Silicon Valley.
Our guest Andrew Keen (@ajkeen) is skeptical of the ideological movement for radical transparency revered in forums like the TED Conference. He says that the more transparent we are through services like Facebook and Google, the less interesting we become as human beings. The more like robots. The more like aggregations of data. He argues this is harmful, not only to us as individuals, but as a species.
In his book Digital Vertigo, Keen explains that quitting Facebook was one of the best things he's ever done online. A few reasons why:
1) The painful oversharing. Have you ever seen someone post an update about their miscarriage? Then you know what he's taking about.
2) It isn't really free. Keen argues that Facebook is continually taking advantage of us: "It's not because they're bad people -- it's their business model that's flawed." This is because networks like Facebook are built on acquiring data and selling it one way or another to advertisers. "So if you want to be exploited, use these networks."
3) Quitting can help create more "dark space" to develop your personal identity.
4) Quitting can give you more time to read, buy CDs, and go to the movies. Things that actually support the creative class.
5) He has to practice what he preaches. Plus, it's not like Facebook does much for book sales.
At the same time, Keen says authors who aren't on Twitter should have their hands cut off. It's an important tool for him to share ideas and have them challenged. Speaking of which...