NYT+041010+-+Rethinking+a+Gospel+of+the+Web

NYT+041010+-+Rethinking+a+Gospel+of+the+Web - Everybodys...

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Reprints This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers here or use the "Reprints" tool that appears next to any article. Visit www.nytreprints.com for samples and additional information. Order a reprint of this article now. April 10, 2010 By STEVEN JOHNSON FOR about a decade now, ever since it became clear that the jungle of the World Wide Web would triumph over the walled gardens of CompuServe, AOL and MSN, a general consensus has solidified among the otherwise fractious population of People Who Think Big Thoughts About the Internet. That unifying creed is this: Open platforms promote innovation and diversity more effectively than proprietary ones. In the words of one of the Web’s brightest theorists, Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard, the Web displays the “generative” power of a platform where you don’t have to ask permission to create and share new ideas. If you want democratic media, where small, innovative start-ups can compete with giant multinationals, open platforms are the way to go. I’ve long considered myself a believer in this gospel and have probably written a hundred pages of book chapters, essays and blog posts spreading the word. Believing in open platforms is not simple techno-utopianism. Open platforms come with undeniable costs. The Web is rife with pornography and vitriol for the very same reasons it’s so consistently ingenious. It’s not that the Web is perfect, by any means, but as an engine of innovation and democratization, its supremacy has been undeniable. Over the last two years, however, that story has grown far more complicated, thanks to the
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2011 for the course MGT 3743 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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NYT+041010+-+Rethinking+a+Gospel+of+the+Web - Everybodys...

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