Keen versus Scoble: Fight!

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Scoble, Milo and Keen

What to make of a debate between Andrew Keen and Robert Scoble, moderated by Milo Yiannopoulos? It’s like a bubbling Twitter pot of internet controversial celebs…

But was it any cop? Well, it was entertaining. We found ourselves presented with the question “Where’s the real Scoble?” Is he purely relational? Is his sense of self completely determined by his followers?

Robert Scoble**“**I didn’t have followers 10 years ago,” said Scoble. “Back then I’d just find the geek at the cocktail party, and hang out with them.”

Apparently, he just keeps the bedroom secret. We don’t know the clubs he was in in Amsterdam. (But I’m intrigued now, I don’t know about you.)

Keen asked how many of the audience would be prepared to go as far as Scoble in making their lives public – and only a handful put their hands up. Scoble shrugged it off. He turned an example of embarrassing drunken pictures of him into a positive:

“I’ve been invited to a better class of party since those came out.”

But he did point out that social media is killing people, because they don’t put their mobiles down when driving.

Andrew KeenOur two champions circled each other again, over the issue of data. Keen accused Google and Facebook of selling our data. Scoble struck back with the fact that Facebook sells access to you, not your data.

“Do people understand that?” asked Keen.  “People are getting resistant and wary of those social services. Social has climaxed, privacy is the next thing.”

Scoble, of course, disagreed. Totally. He thinks people are changing their habits all the time, and the freaky line is shifting. And Keen and Yiannopoulos think that he’s “super-freaky”.

Then, they turned to my second favourite subject: whisky. Keen pointed out that when he asked Scoble what’s faster than real time, our favourite blogger replied it’s when the server knows what your drink is before you get to the bar.

“And yet, I’ve Liked Oban whisky on Facebook,” said Scoble.  “And when I got to the Badoo party last night I was handed a champagne. I’ve never Liked chapagne. I don’t like champagne.”

milo yiannopoulosFilter bubbles? Scoble wants filters to shape what people see of him, or what he sees. Keen suggests that newspapers are already a filter bubble problem. And the internet is destroying serendipity, because you always get served Oban. Scoble says that people who know he likes Oban bring him a  new one, which they think is better.

Last words to Mr Keen: “Social media isn’t social: it’s creating a radically individualised web. It’s destroying social.”

He has a book out you know: Digital Vertigo: How Today’s Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing, and Disorienting Us. If you buy it from that link, both he and I get money. I have no shame. Much like the scheduling of this panel…

Milo Yiannopoulos

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.