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  An Open Letter to The Internet  
Posted 2006-10-26 by Tony Walsh
Dear Internet,

I regret not being able to defend you more effectively on live television last night. As you know, we have been friends for over a decade, through feast and famine. I've appreciated how you've disrupted culture, politics, and business, and I've come to your defense in small ways over the years, but never took time to write a book or extensive magazine article on how excellent you truly are. Conversely, your detractors Andrew Keen and Steve Maich have written a book and extensive magazine article (respectively) on how awful they think you are. In hindsight, I should have realized it would be difficult defending you when the assumption from the outset is that you "suck." It's easier to tear something down than to build it up. Although I was able to respond to demands for proof of your awesomeness, I was a ultimately drowned out in the scrum.

You and I both know you live a dual life, Internet. While I celebrate your excellence, I simultaneously recognize how other people have misused your powers. You're not the problem, Internet. People are the problem. Some people use you as a tool for plagiarism, for deceitful purposes, or to inflate corporate value--but on the other hand, some use you to bust perverts, break news, or to make crazy money. You're a bit like a knife: Whether it stabs someone in the heart or slices a birthday cake, it cuts both ways. So do you, depending on how you are wielded. I understand your capacity for great good and for great ill, but I'm not sure why anyone would focus only on your bad side. Except maybe to sell books or magazines.

Respectfully yours,
Mr. Tony Walsh, Esq.
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Comment posted by liam
October 26, 2006 @ 11:43 am
Well, I for one saw you on the that tv thingie last night and I thought you did a great job. The odds were definitely slanted against you due to the fact that, as you point out, both Keen and Maich have researched and written about this subject with one end goal in mind: to say something radical/shocking to sell books/magazines. It wasn't a fair debate, but you did very well, so fret not. And you wore a tie, which in itself was worth the price of admission!
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
October 26, 2006 @ 12:37 pm
Thanks for the comments, Liam. I wouldn't describe the debate as unfair, just "not in my favour." I did do some prep-work, but I wasn't expecting the burden of proof to be on the pro-blog/wiki/socialmedia camp. Live TV is fun that way :)
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
October 26, 2006 @ 8:56 pm
I'm bewildered about this entire conversation, as I wasn't aware that there was even a lobby that said "the Internet sucked". Wouldn't that be like saying "telephones suck?"
Comment posted by Brace
October 27, 2006 @ 1:39 am
Next time take a cheeze-smacker with ya. I'll send you one :D
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
October 27, 2006 @ 8:52 am
Ha, Brace, I coulda used a cheeze-smacker at least once :)

Prok, the "internet" detractors were mostly complaining about the WWW and email -- even then, the real complaint was about how people misuse technology, not about the internet itself. At the top of the segment I tried to make this distinction. Steve Maich, the guy who wrote the "sucks" article seemed willing to concede. Andrew Keen on the other hand, seems to believe that any democratizing technology is destroying "our" culture, so I guess maybe he does think phones suck.
Comment posted by Baba
October 27, 2006 @ 10:28 pm
The internet doesn't suck! The web sucks. That's part of the charm of it, that whole sucking so bad thing.

Did you ever notice that the most popular websites on the internet either really really suck, or are about finding really really sucky websites or making your own really sucky websites?

And, by "suck" I mean user participation in the creation of content.
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