Silicon Valley isn't completely without its critics, but to the outsider's eye, it seems to be a fairly insular environment with its own rules and codes of conduct. Increasingly, however, Silicon Valley makes products which are pivotal to many of our lives, and the characters — the investors and the CEOs — determine how our online lives are managed, stored, and even displayed.

Enter Andrew Keen, the author of The Cult of the Amateur and host of an interview show, Keen On, for TechCrunch, and as of today, the author of a new book, Digital Vertigo. Keen is something of a shit-stirrer, and where he took aim at the “amateur hour” of bloggers, MySpace and YouTube in his last work, he's got his sights set on social networking and the move toward transparency in this one.

Digital Vertigo is especially critical of the "one identity" crew headed up by Mark Zuckerberg, who famously declared that having more than one identity signals a “lack of integrity.” Sharing, Keen argues, “has become the new Silicon Valley religion,” and the book emerges as a sociological, contextual look at the history of thought, the public discourse about privacy and sharing, and the controls which have swung the pendulum of public vs. private back and forth since the late 18th century when the “public sphere” can properly be said to have become self-aware (Keen, 17). His main concern in Digital Vertigo is the move toward performative, hyper-transparent sharing in a world where the data which is shared is not in our control. Sharing, Keen argues, “is a trap,” and “Zuckerberg and the other Silicon Valley social media moguls and evangelists are today’s utilitarian social reformers” (Keen, 60). I talked with Andrew via email about some of the topics in the book as well as some broader contextual issues facing our new, social, transparent society.