In “The Cult of the Amateur,” Andrew Keen discusses how the noble amateur is causing a cultural revolution of the Web 2.0 and “threatens to turn our intellectual traditions and institutions upside down,” (Keen 36). According to Keen, an amateur is “a hobbyist, knowledgeable or otherwise, someone who does not make a living from his or her field of interest, a layperson, lacking credentials, a dabbler,” (Keen 36). Today, on the internet, amateurs instead of experts or professionals are creating information on the internet. Trusted and reliable references run by professionals are being replaced by references run by amateurs. Websites such as Wikipedia are being “run on democratic principles,” (Keen 36). Through this, everyone has a say and voice. This includes all amateurs who may have no idea what they are talking about.
On Wikipedia, anyone can edit or add any information they want. The problem with this is people use Wikipedia as a credible source for their information. If the information on Wikipedia is written by amateurs, it may be wrong because according to Keen, “The voice of a high school kid has equal value to that of an Ivy League scholar or a trained professional,” (42). This poses the question of how can a garbage man be considered credible in an argument with a trained chemist on a chemistry topic? The Web 2.0 aids in promoting these questions. By allowing amateurs to post what they want on the internet, we are challenging professionals who post truthful credible information. By challenging the professionals, the information posted by the amateurs threatens our professional institutions. According to Keen, the readers and internet users pay for this, they get “’ a state of intellectual enervation and depletion hardly to be distinguished from massive ignorance,’” (45). It makes it difficult for internet users to understand what is credible and reliable, and what is not. Many internet users assume that the information on the internet can be trusted, but it can not. With an increasing amount of information created by amateurs, “we will have no choice but to read everything with a skeptical eye,” (Keen 46).
Curious about the unreliable information found on the internet, I came across someone’s blog. This blog discusses many websites that have information that are unreliable. The question with this, however, is if this blog is reliable or not? How do readers know if this blog writer/amateur is writing credible information or not? The answer is, we do not know. This is the problem that the Web 2.0 is creating, which Andrew Keen discusses in “The Cult of the Amateur.” http://quackfiles.blogspot.com/2004/10/quacksites-most-unreliable-health.html