The Power of Mass Amateurization In Today’s Media Landscape

kim kardashian

Before bad reality television shows and Shonda Thursdays, newspapers and radios served as a major source of communication for Americans, but with the Internet, people are able to access information quicker, while disseminating ground breaking news on Twitter –which has become a news media escape for people who couldn’t be bothered with watching a minute of Eyewitness News or reading a column in The Star Ledger.

Nowadays, people are more interested in receiving their news at a click of a button, but most importantly, at their own expense. With smart phones, iPads, tablets and other small, portable devices, people are able to publish any kind of information that they want, but the millions of people who share, tweet or repost it are at risk because they don’t really know whether the information that they are reading is accurate or objective.

Moreover, with todays media landscape growing, the power of mass amateurization is in the hands of anyone who has access to the Internet –which, in return, could turn the field of journalism into a playground filled with amateurs that are pretending to be something that they aren’t; leaving the professionals sitting idly by, wondering if they made it to the right profession.

In chapter three of Clay Shirky’s book “Here Comes Everybody,” he states the consequences of this new form of media being accessible to everyone: “When reproduction distribution, and categorization were all difficult, as they were for the last five hundred years, we needed professionals to undertake those jobs, and we properly venerated those people for the service they performed. Now those tasks are simpler, and the earlier roles have in many cases become optional, and are sometimes obstacles to direct access, often putting the providers of the older service at odds with their erstwhile patrons.”

As a result of those changes, the blogs that have been published on the Internet, “are not merely alternate sites of publishing; they are alternatives to publishing itself in the sense of publishers as a minority and professional class. In the same way, you do not have to be a professional driver to drive; you no longer have to be a professional publisher to publish. Mass amateurization is a result of the radical spread of expressive capabilities.”

This new shift in journalism (that is, mass amateurization) has a way of opening a creative space for people to use certain tools on the web to develop a media landscape that seemed far beyond what anyone could have ever imagined. The same case is true when children read fiction stories and fan fiction, such as Harry Potter. There is this new world that develops for the child, which challenges the role of media literacy, in terms of how television programs are produced and the way it is interpreted. However, as Henry Jenkins explains that “across this book, we have identified a number –the ability to pool knowledge with others in a collaborative enterprise, the ability to make connections across scattered pieces of information, the ability to circulate what you create via Internet so that it can be shared with others (again as in fan cinema).”

Overall, the new media profession is giving way for the new kids on the blocks –the bloggers, the Tumblr addicts, the Vine and Instagram video enthusiasts, and last, but certainly not least, the Twitter maniacs. Although these up and coming “journalism professionals” have taken over the Internet to help get their target audiences engaged and participating in rich dialogue.

Via flickr/ Kim Piper Werker


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