"Without an independent press, composed of heroic voices, the collective becomes stupid and unreliable..."
"Anonymous blog comments, vapid video pranks, and lightweight mashups may seem trivial and harmless, but as a whole, this widespread practice of fragmentary, interpersonal communication has demeaned interpersonal interaction."
I could quote several more passages from Jaron Lanier's You Are Not A Gadget (and maybe, at some point, I will), but I implore you to read it instead; I am halfway through, and I find it is the kind of cogent and rational and humane and hyperknowledgeable treatise about a subject--the Internet, and specifically, the hive mentality of Web 2.0--that might actually be able to transcend the knee-jerk criticism and inhumanity generated the medium itself. I don't know if it will become a seminal text of this era--though Lanier's credentials as a computer scientist/programmer/thinker certainly give it added weight--but I hope it does, because I agree with pretty much everything he says. And just for having said that, I presume my entire life will be hacked and the comments section of this entry overrun by anonymous commenters calling me a Luddite Communist homosexual.