The People's Platform

The People's Platform

Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age

Book - 2014 | First Edition
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Baker & Taylor
Challenging the notions of the Internet as the great leveler of our age, a cultural commentator argues that the world wide web only reflects and enhances real-world inequities, and discusses what we need to do if we want the Internet to truly be a people's platform.

McMillan Palgrave

From a cutting-edge cultural commentator, a bold and brilliant challenge to cherished notions of the Internet as the great leveler of our age

The Internet has been hailed as an unprecedented democratizing force, a place where everyone can be heard and all 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 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 remain the gatekeepers. And the worst habits of the old media model—the pressure to seek easy celebrity, to be quick and sensational above all—have proliferated on the web, where "aggregating" the work of others is the surest way to attract eyeballs and ad revenue. When culture is "free," creative work has diminishing value and advertising fuels the system. The new order looks suspiciously like the old one.
We can do better, Taylor insists. The online world does offer a unique opportunity, but a democratic culture that supports diverse voices and work of lasting value will not spring up from technology alone. If we want the Internet to truly be a people's platform, we will have to make it so.

Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, 2014
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780805093568
Branch Call Number: 302.231 TAYLOR
Characteristics: 276 pages ; 24 cm


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Jun 17, 2015

This is a very good piece, but the author writes from a scholarly POV as opposed to examining the harsh reality: that 70% to 80% of comments at the more popular sites are code-generated and nonhuman; that many of those popular sites, if not the majority censory heavily, both in planted stories and striving towards the most vanilla, neutral of comments supposedly from viewers.
Sites like,,,,,, and a thousand others. Of course, the US government, which like Wall Street heavily favors the passage of the TPP, or Trans-Pacific Partnership, won't be the solution, unfortunately.


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Dec 02, 2014

The truth is that the public good is increasingly financed by private money. Google Books, despite the legal troubles that dogged the endeavor, is a prime example of this phenomenon. While often described as a "universal library" the project is anything but. More accurately, it was devised with the aim of transforming the library from an institution that collects and distributes information to the public into one that collects and distributes the public's information in service of Google's core advertising business.


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