The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age
By Astra Taylor
Picador, 288 pages
The Internet has been hailed as an unprecedented democratizing force, a place where all can participate equally. But how true is this claim?
In a seminal dismantling of techno-utopian visions, The People’s Platform argues that the Internet in fact 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. A handful of giant companies remain the gatekeepers, while the worst habits of the old media model—the pressure to seek easy celebrity, to be quick and sensational above all—have proliferated in the ad-driven system.
We can do better, Astra Taylor insists. The online world does offer a unique opportunity, but a democratic culture that supports 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.
Astra Taylor is a writer and documentary filmmaker. Her films include Zizek!, a feature documentary about the world’s most outrageous philosopher, which was broadcast on the Sundance Channel, and Examined Life, a series of excursions with contemporary thinkers. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, Salon, Monthly Review, The Baffler, and other publications. She lives in New York City.