Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Yes, We Are All Media Outlets.

       With technology improving each day and new devices constantly being released to the public, we are now in an era where we rely heavily on our fellow peers, just like they rely on us, to get information or news about almost anything. As author Clay Shirky mentioned in his book Here Comes Everybody, what is currently happening is called "Mass Amateurization." This means that the majority of the people is now engaged in some type of social media where they have the freedom to publish whatever they want without restrictions and also get to inform many about whatever they are experiencing or witnessing. This has been a result of the many technological inventions that have emerged through the years which have allowed people to become "journalists" at the amateur level.

       The internet has to be the greatest invention that completely changed the way news and information is spread. Shirky mentions in his book that, "The Web created a new ecosystem"(Shirky 60), which is basically saying that with this creation a new era was going to introduce itself to the world. Today, everyone is part of this so called "new ecosystem," anyone can just go on the many websites that exist for people to communicate with each other and publish whatever they feel like is important. They do this not to make a profit, but for the simple fact that their audience will learn about something that they really wanted them to know.  There are many known websites out there that give people the priviledge to express themselves, but a notorious one is YouTube. Ever since this site was created, it gave the public access to raw videos posted by average individuals who witnessed all types of events. It automatically became a news source where the "journalist" could be anyone. At any time you can just go on this link http://www.youtube.com/news and watch footage coming from anywhere and all types of people that are witnessing perhaps what could be a life-changing event. For instance, at this moment many videos from the violence happening in Libya and Egypt are very popular.

       The only issue with this is that professional journalists don't really have much to post from which is resulting in them losing their positions. Very similar to the printing press, the internet has potential to become a career-ending threat that no longer gives the focus to these professionals. In the book Shirky says, "A scribe, someone who has  given his life over to literacy as a cardinal virtue, would be conflicted about the meaning of movable type"(Shirky 67). Today, journalist are facing the same problem of their careers quickly losing value.

       In Henry Jenkins' "Why Heather Can Write" he gives his audience a typical scenario that happens all of the time but it's not common to hear about. This is the younger generations and how they get affected by Mass Amateurization which gives them the freedom to express themselves in their own ways which results in more children and teenagers gaining interest in writing. Thanks to the popular culture these kids become more engaged in creating stories and publishing, and as Jenkins mentioned, "At first, they might only read stories, but the fan community provides many incitements for readers to cross that last threshold into composing and submitting their own stories."(Jenkins 187) The world of fantasy and non-fiction is what the majority of children prefer, and even though the education system would rather not get involve with this, the internet is there to keep this interest in them. Getting the younger generation to show interest in reading and writing is definitely a positive side of Mass Amateurization that can't compare to nothing.

       In this 21st century, it is a trend to be more socially involved with everything, and it is only right that technology is one of the main factors that causes this. Since technology is deeply involved in this changes are more than expected to occur every once in a while. For right now with the internet being an "ecosystem" that provides us humans with absolutely everything there is to know about, almost everyone is satisfied with the outcome that they get out of this. When it comes to the most affected group which is the professional journalists, they are still going to keep their spot in the world of publishing. They are professionals that know absolutely everything about journalism and as Shirky put it, "A profession exists to solve a hard problem, one that requires some sort of specialization. Driving a race car requires special training— race car drivers are professionals. Driving an ordinary car, though, doesn't require the driver to belong to a particular profession, because it's easy enough that most adults can do it with a modicum of training."(Shirky 57). Even though ordinary people can publish whatever they want, they do not have the skills that the journalists professionals possess. Overall, it is easy to access information and news which are essential tools that humans need to stay aware. We all contribute to make this world a more diverse, liberal and help everyone get educated through everything that we publish on the media. 

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