The Peopleâ€™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 modelâ€”the pressure to seek easy celebrity, to be quick and sensational above allâ€”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.