… They are ripe for ridiculing because they are ridiculous in many cases, and the only reason they are advancing is because they plug in the conceptual and theoretical holes in their theories with buzzwords that have no meaning – “openness” or “the sharing economy” – what on earth is the sharing economy?
What I’ve tried to do in my reviews is engage seriously with these bullshit concepts, as if they were serious – to see whether an idea such as “cognitive surplus”, of which Clay Shirky is very fond, has any meaning at all. I do close readings of things that aren’t meant to be read very closely. That is how our technology discourse works, there are lots of great bloggers, soundbites and memes, but once you start putting them together you realise that they don’t add up. And making people aware that they don’t add up is a useful public function.