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'Anti-social' talk stirs debate at LeWeb

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 03:05

June 20 - Author Andrew Keen talks to Reuters TV about his new book Digital Vertigo which argues a new 'anti-social' movement is beginning as people become more concerned about their personal privacy. Matt Cowan reports.

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For years now, the buzzword in tech has been social. Social media. Social gaming. Social you name it. Writer Andrew Keen has had enough - and what's more he sees an anti-social movement stirring. And he's written a book about it to share his theories more widely. It's called Digital Vertigo. SOUNDBITE: Andrew Keen, Digital Vertigo Author saying (English): "There's an anti-social movement developing because of the power of social. Social is becoming so ubiquitous, so omnipresent in everything we do. On the web now, social dominates so the response I think by most regular people who want to protect themselves, their privacy and their inner lives is to push against social." At the Le Web technology conference in London, Keen is testing his theory in a debate with blogger and uber sharer Robert Scoble. REPORTER ASKS: "So, Robert Scoble, how many Facebook friends do you have?" SOUNDBITE: Robert Scoble, Blogger, saying (English): "Define friend. (laughs) Because I've separated them into close friend, acquaintance and people I subscribe to. I have 36 hundred friends, 35 hundred friends. Something like that." Still, even at a tech conference, it is not too difficult to find people who echo Keen's sentiment. SOUNDBITE: Hanni Ross, Automattic Happiness Manager, saying (English): "I don't have a Facebook account." REPORTER SAYS "What?" SOUNDBITE: Hanni Ross, Automattic Happiness Manager, saying (English): "I don't use Facebook, don't like Facebook because I like to control Facebook and feel you can't on Facebook." REPORTERS ASKS "So how many Facebook friends do you have?" SOUNDBITE: Vana Koutsomitis, City St. Founder saying (English) "I have 1300 Facebook friends." REPORTER SAYS "That's quite a few." SOUNDBITE: Vana Koutsomitis, City St. Founder saying (English) "And frankly I don't know many of them so what I've been doing, don't tell anyone, is going on Facebook and unfriending anyone I haven't spoken to in years or I find just an acquaintance because I don't want them to know my whole life." Chad Hurley co-founded the video sharing site YouTube. SOUNDBITE: Chad Hurley, YouTube co-founder saying (English): "Right now, the way they're positioning it is everything's going to be social, to try to share information with everyone. But I don't care necessarily what my friends are doing. I want to make sense of what I'm doing." SOUNDBITE: Andrew Keen, Digital Vertigo Author saying (English): "I hope it's really troubling. I hope when people in Facebook, when they hear this start sweating because they are so committed to radical openness. They're so committed to the free economy which turns us all into products that I think they should be worried, and I think they are worried." Alex Ljung is the co-founder of the audio sharing site SoundCloud. SOUNDBITE: Alex Ljung, SoundCloud co-founder, saying (English) "I think in some ways it is completely wrong because I don't think there's a limit to people being social. I think we're just in the infancy of the explosion of the social web and from everything we're seeing, definitely at SoundCloud, people want nothing more than to be more social around their stuff. There's an interesting parallel track in that people are starting to explore more private communities." So is this the beginning of the end for social - or just the beginning? It's a question sure to ignite spirited debate on the still social web. Matt Cowan, Reuters

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'Anti-social' talk stirs debate at LeWeb

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 03:05