How the web lost its way – and its founding principles | Technology | The Guardian
"There is some sense in which the internet is in danger of not meeting its potential," says Leadbeater, "the promise that was there in the mid-2000s, which was about collaborating to create better ways to do things." That promise was something Leadbeater and other Pollyanna-ish proselytisers for the web only a few years ago believed would be realised. In 2008, he published a book called We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production; at the same time in the US, fellow web evangelist Clay Shirky published Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. Both stressed the internet's genesis in 60s counterculture and its historic ethos of sticking it to the Man. Both revelled in the fact that new web-based social tools helped single mothers looking online for social networks or pro-democracy campaigners in Belarus. When I reviewed these books for the Guardianat the time, I worried that neither sufficiently realised that these tools and this rhetoric could just as readily be co-opted by the Man (by which I meant profit-based organisations and overbearing governments). But arguably that is precisely what has been happening in the intervening period.
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