Monday, October 1, 2012

Post #2 - Mass Amateurization

In Clay Shirkey's Everyone is a Media Outlet, he uses a term to describe how the public has gained the power to create media. Because technology of today can be accessed by anyone, anyone can create and share their media. Shirkey calls this "mass amateurization". Shirkey explain how the dividing line between amateurs and professionals is slowly disappearing because of "mass amateurization". Anyone can create content and not just professionals and because many people can create and share, they don't necessarily have to be professionals to do it. Anyone can write an article or paint an image or shoot a video and share to the public through a public medium, such as the internet.

Some prime outlets where "mass amateurization" occurs are public websites that allow people to share what they create such as youtube, facebook, and blogspot. On these sites people, or "amateurs", can create media. Thousands of people are uploading videos on youtube. They are not film makers and many are not paid to do what they do. They do what they do because the advancement of technology today allows them.

Youtube logo (source)

 This post you are currently reading is another example of how an amateur writer, such as myself, can create media and share it for possibly thousands to read. As Shirkey explains "The individual weblogs are not merely alternative sites of publishing; they are alternatives to publishing itself," (66). A person does not necessarily have to get an article published in the newspaper to be heard. With these new mediums, everyone can produce, view, share, and comment and so on.

In Henry Jenkin's "Why Heather Can Write", he describes how many fans of various pop cultures create fan made stories of the things they are fans of. This was called "fanfiction" and is popular with things like Star Wars and Harry Potter. In some stories the writers write themselves in the story and interact with the characters along with the story while in others they create brand new stories. In the same sense as what Shrikey explains, these fans are simply amateurs. However because people are writing with copyrighted characters/worlds/ideas/etc., there have been legal issues regarding whether these fans are allowed to create such stories. This was problem for many writers because it limited their freedoms on what they can write. Jenkins explains how this becomes "a struggle over what rights we have to read and write about core cultural myths- that is, a struggle over literacy. Here, literacy is understood to include not simply what we can do with printed matter but also what we can do with media," (176).
  Harry Potter logo (source)

These two readings essentially suggest that with the ongoing evolution of technology, media in how it is created and circulated also evolves.  It is not only professional who are creating media but amateurs as well. "Mass amateurization" depicts everyone who can create and share media. Some professionals feel as if they are losing their standing with the public and in media. It constantly begs the question of the validity of a professional, however one way these changes can be viewed differently. "Mass amateurization" is more of a new way media is being created and shared rather than a way to outsource professional media. It's a way to fasten the pace of shared media and information. And more importantly, it is a way for people to communicate on a larger scale.

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