The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor - review by Heather Brooke

Heather Brooke

Who Pays?

The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age

By

Fourth Estate 276pp £12.99 order from our bookshop
 

It’s often interesting to transpose online behaviours into the real world. We’d think someone unhinged if they gave us a flyer with lots of flattering photographs of themselves and a list of their achievements. Yet this type of self-disclosure is normal thanks to social networking. Astra Taylor argues in The People’s Platform that this change of propriety isn’t so much because digital natives are more narcissistic than other generations but rather they are keenly aware that they are judged by their online selves – or ‘personal brands’ – in a way previous generations were not. The logic of the box office and bestseller has been applied to people, something Taylor laments: ‘To compete, we are told we have no choice but to participate in the culture of disclosure … We live in public in part because we believe we have to.’

Taylor makes a compelling argument that the beneficiaries of the ‘openness’ and ‘free culture’ movement that has so defined the web are not individuals but new media moguls and the advertisers they serve. She is keenly attuned to power, a rare quality among those who write about the internet, who tend to fall into two camps: proselytising techno-utopians or gimmicky

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter