My use of the word compulsory here is actually for me and me alone: I have recently read about this book, Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob, watched an interview with its author, Lee Siegel, but still have to read it – which I definitely will, sooner rather than later!
For everybody else it may just prove a silly provocation as, making faith on Siegel’s views and experiences, it will most probably be an open invitation for (most ?) bloggers not to read it. Why?
Because Siegel “was bullied when he wrote about his views online which challenged the beliefs held by many bloggers, YouTube performers, and social networkers. It was, for him, a case of publish and be damned.”
Well, he said things like these:
On the internet in general: “The online world is not so much inhabited by us as by our egos, which are slowly destroying civilization. (...) It creates a culture of popularity. (…) People look to the crowd for approval without getting in touch with their own instincts, without heeding their own conscience. (…) Our egos are now running riot on the web. We have started to kick back at anyone who may try to lead us, or try to inform us. We will not be told.”
On the rise of the blogosphere and how strong opinions need little research or fact checking, yet the blog has quickly gained influence, a trend he fears will reduce what the truth is to whoever shouts the loudest: "I think that's very, very dangerous because there are experts. No-one would talk of citizen heart surgeons, for example. But on the internet they talk of citizen journalists, because it seems that anyone can take up a keyboard and write a story. If the only truth is the result of the strongest, most emphatic assertion, what happens to the patient, soft spoken, contemplative people? They'll get drowned out."
On the net's copycat culture: "Imitation is commonplace, a copycat culture where everything starts to look the same. It used to be called plagiarism, now it is celebrated and provides a quick-and-easy fix for our attention-seeking egos. (...) I don't think that you can have a natural, organic society when people are existing at that level of self-consciousness. They begin to perform for other people. (...) This dependence on approval is damaging originality. They begin to market themselves. Authenticity becomes more and more rare."
On the need for questioning the net’s show-offs and bullies: "Unlike earlier transformative technologies, like radio and television, the internet has not been subjected to critical examination. It has escaped that. I think it's time to look rationally and level headed at this thing and talk about its dark side as well as its virtues."
Does any of the above ring any bells to anyone? Nope? Then I would suggest a look at these.
[Quotes sourced from here]