The People's Platform: Taking Back Power And Culture In The Digital Age

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The People's Platform: Taking Back Power And Culture In The Digital Age

by Astra Taylor

Random House of Canada | March 4, 2014 | Trade Paperback

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From a cutting-edge cultural commentator and documentary filmmaker, a bold and brilliant challenge to cherished notions of the Internet as the great democratizing force of our age.
 
The Internet has been hailed as a place where all can be heard and everyone can participate equally. But how true is this claim? In a seminal dismantling of techno-utopian visions, The People''s Platform argues that for all that we "tweet" and "like" and "share," the Internet in fact reflects and amplifies real-world inequities at least as much as it ameliorates them. Online, just as off-line, attention and influence largely accrue to those who already have plenty of both. What we have seen in the virtual world so far, Astra Taylor says, has been not a revolution but a rearrangement. Although Silicon Valley tycoons have eclipsed Hollywood moguls, a handful of giants like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook still dominate our lives. And the worst habits of the old media model--the pressure to be quick and sensational, to seek easy celebrity, to appeal to the broadest possible public--have proliferated online, where every click can be measured and where "aggregating" the work of others is the surest way to attract eyeballs and ad revenue. In a world where culture is "free," creative work has diminishing value, and advertising fuels the system, the new order looks suspiciously just like the old one.
 
We can do better, Taylor insists. The online world does offer an unprecedented opportunity, but a democratic culture that supports diverse voices, work of lasting value, and equitable business practices will not appear as a consequence of technology alone. If we want the Internet to truly be a people''s platform, we will have to make it so.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 288 pages, 9.19 × 6.32 × 0.84 in

Published: March 4, 2014

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307360342

ISBN - 13: 9780307360342

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– More About This Product –

The People's Platform: Taking Back Power And Culture In The Digital Age

by Astra Taylor

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 288 pages, 9.19 × 6.32 × 0.84 in

Published: March 4, 2014

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307360342

ISBN - 13: 9780307360342

From the Publisher

From a cutting-edge cultural commentator and documentary filmmaker, a bold and brilliant challenge to cherished notions of the Internet as the great democratizing force of our age.
 
The Internet has been hailed as a place where all can be heard and everyone can participate equally. But how true is this claim? In a seminal dismantling of techno-utopian visions, The People''s Platform argues that for all that we "tweet" and "like" and "share," the Internet in fact reflects and amplifies real-world inequities at least as much as it ameliorates them. Online, just as off-line, attention and influence largely accrue to those who already have plenty of both. What we have seen in the virtual world so far, Astra Taylor says, has been not a revolution but a rearrangement. Although Silicon Valley tycoons have eclipsed Hollywood moguls, a handful of giants like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook still dominate our lives. And the worst habits of the old media model--the pressure to be quick and sensational, to seek easy celebrity, to appeal to the broadest possible public--have proliferated online, where every click can be measured and where "aggregating" the work of others is the surest way to attract eyeballs and ad revenue. In a world where culture is "free," creative work has diminishing value, and advertising fuels the system, the new order looks suspiciously just like the old one.
 
We can do better, Taylor insists. The online world does offer an unprecedented opportunity, but a democratic culture that supports diverse voices, work of lasting value, and equitable business practices will not appear as a consequence of technology alone. If we want the Internet to truly be a people''s platform, we will have to make it so.

About the Author

Astra Taylor is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and activist. Her films include Zizek!, a feature documentary about the world’s most outrageous philosopher, which was broadcast on the Sundance Channel, and Examined Life, a series of excursions with contemporary thinkers. Taylor’s writing has appeared in The Nation, the London Review of Books, n+1, The Baffler magazine, and other publications and she is the editor of Examined Life and co-editor of Occupy! Scenes from Occupied America. Taylor helped spearhead the Occupy offshoot Strike Debt and was one of the instigators of the Rolling Jubilee campaign. She lives in New York.

Editorial Reviews

“The promise was so utopian, and it really seemed possible! Now we watch as the lauded instrument of ‘creative destruction’ ends up in the hands of a few giant corporations. What happened? Is there a way out beyond pulling the plug? In response, Astra Taylor has laid out clear arguments, sobering information, and inspiring insights. There have been a lot of books about how the Internet is changing our world, but this is absolutely one of the best. Beautifully written and highly recommended.” —David Byrne, musician and author “Astra Taylor’s insights into the ‘missing middle’ of our present situation are sane, lucid, and generous. This book adjusted my thinking on several scores.” —Jonathan Lethem   “In this, perhaps the most important book about the digital age so far this century, Astra Taylor reveals the unacknowledged economic operating system actually running the net. It’s a landscape in which ‘open’ means different things for different people, leisure might better be classified as labor, and the promise of free culture ends up costing us so much more than money.” —Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock , Program or Be Programmed and Life Inc.     “The scariest book I’ve read in a while is also the most exhilarating: The People’s Platform portrays what the digital age has done to our society, our culture, our lives—the power grabs
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