Monday, October 1, 2012

Everyone is coming, and there is food everywhere!!

According to Shirky, mass amateurization is what is happening in today’s constantly changing society as it impacts media. For hundreds of years, the publication of ideas and information was controlled by ‘the powers that be.’ Meaning, whoever had the money to buy and operate the printing presses were the ones who controlled the message. They were the gatekeepers. TV became a part of the mainstream in the 50’s but that too came with a high cost of production. The tools for spreading information had expanded but it was still in the control of the few. But now the internet has come along and upset the applecart. Production is free as long as you can get your hands on a computer and internet access. You don’t even need your own machine. All the tools you need are available for free at the local library.
            That’s where everybody comes in. Whether it is the example of the LiveJournal conversation or the picture of your friends dinner that you see every night on facebook, we now know what everyone is up to, whether we like it or not.

            Shirkey argues that essentially this is the beginning of a new revolution.
            “The hallmark of revolution is that the goals of the revolutionaries cannot be contained by the institutional structure of the existing society. As a result, either the revolutionaries are put down, or some of those institutions are altered, replaced, or destroyed. We are plainly witnessing a restructuring of the media business….” (Shirkey, 107)

Henry Jenkins dedicates a chapter to fan fiction as he looks at the number of communities that have sprouted up around the Harry Potter universe

The Star Wars franchise has led the way in the fan fiction community. The main rule is that the fans stay away from any plot elements that have been touched on in the six official film releases. Essentially, anything goes. Perkins writes about these groups. They have found a way to become involved in these stories and also learn how to work as a writer. lists most of the available sites on the web. The Harry Potter inspired sites outnumber the closest by more than a 3 to 1 ratio.

Heather Lawver started which serves as a fictional school paper for the fictional Hogwarts academy. On this website, a community has been fostered where people of all ages contribute to the legend of Harry Potter. As the popularity of Lawver's site grew, she attracted attention from Hollywood who were concerned with protecting the franchise. This dragged the whole process in to the limelight as the legal rights of everyone involved needed to be explored and determined. Eventually, the studios realized they were better off trying to work with the sites as opposed to alienating the fan writers who form a major portion of the fan base.

Media professionals are being forced to now make sure that the product they are producing is legitimate and stands out  above the work that 'everyone' else is producing. The business is changing. Getting their name attached to an easily recognizable, legitimate enterprise like a publisher is the best way for the professional to remain above the fray. But an interesting aspect of all this movement is the ability for the professional and the amateur to have a discussion where interesting ideas can be born and develop. The amateur is being lifted up closer to the level of professional by virtue of the tools that are now available.

No comments:

Post a Comment