Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm not just a blogger, I'm a journalist

Clay Shirky the author of Here Comes Everybody discusses the effects that the World Wide Web has on our society. The innovations of the Internet can be compared to the invention of the printing press, since both can cause careers to become obsolete and create loss of control from many of the world’s core institutions. (73) Mass Amateurization in the scope of publishing is giving anyone at anytime the ability to become a journalist by publishing their posts on the Internet. Since the content is being posted on web pages and blogs, the message can be accessed by a mass audience on a global level.
Shirky explains that the amateurization of publishing undoes the limitations set on news sources by traditional press outlets. (65) Mass Amateurization poses a threat to the market because it creates competition for professionals. Mass Amateurization not only affects the business of journalists and publishers, but also photographers, singers, models and many other occupations. When an amateur photographer publishes their photos on sites like Flickr, they give the professional photographers a run for their money. (74) Just as aspiring models who market themselves online and singers who upload their songs on YouTube are competition for their respective industries.
There have been instances when people I know would dip their feet into viral self-marketing. A few classmates from my high school put together a funny skit on YouTube a few months ago.

In an effort to gain more views, they posted the video on their facebooks and asked friends to share the video with their friends. I posted the video on my wall, sent it out via Aol Instant Messenger to my AIM buddies, and even shared a link on my tumblr page. Unfortunately, the video was by no means a viral success and didn’t even reach 1000 views. Although the World Wide Web provides the potential for success, not everyone will gain attention from a mass audience.
Many others have expressed their opinions on the Internet’s affect on society. Robert L. Webb explains that the Internet benefits consumers and gives access to information in a way that’s never been utilized before. “For the first time in history, people from all social levels can publish their opinions and there is someone out there to read them. (…) This requirement is leading to a culture revolution.” (2) Due to the rise of popular developments such as search engines, the way people think, translate, find and even transmit data has forever changed.
I feel that the future of the media professional is at risk. The fate of the profession is dwindling, because there are more and more media outlets arising daily. Just as the scribe was replaced by the printing press, professionals are rapidly being replaced by amateurs in their fields. As Shirky mentions: “at the end of the 1400s (…) the scribe’s skills were eminently replaceable.” (67) The movable type had its benefits: events such as the Protestant Reformation wouldn’t be possible without its invention; however, it was at the cost of all the scribes losing their jobs. Today, the wide circulation and easy accessibility of news has its benefits, but at the cost of hurting the professional news market.

[1] Shirky, Clay. “Everyone Is A Media Outlet.” Here Comes Everybody. New York: Penguin Press, 2008. (54-80)

[2] Webb, Robert L. “How the Internet is Changing Society.” 2001. ( Web. 11 Aug. 2011.

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