In “Everyone is a Media Outlet” Clay Shirky describes mass amateurization as the masses learning how to use the technologies that once were only utilized by professionals. Although they do not learn it to the level of expertise, but only to the level of being able create products that were once only produced by professionals. He uses an example of the scribe to illustrate his definition. He explains that the scribe was once the only way you could copy a book or document or get something written down on a piece of parchment. Once people began to read and write and publishing was developed the scribe no longer held an exclusive status. “In the 1400s scribes existed side by side with publishes but no longer performed an irreplaceable service.”(Shirky) The mass amateurization of the public diminished the status of the scribe to a delicacy rather than the common way to copy a book or write a letter.
Even today the news is no longer only what is broadcasted from the major networks, but what your fellow peers in society have to say about every topic or anything considered news. You wouldn’t know that Tom is having a party from CBS but on twitter and facebook you might hear from Jane that he is and that it is going to be a “banger”. You may not know that your favorite band is playing a show at a local venue from the major news services but a fan made music blog or the bands website might tell you about that show, the rest of their tour and when their new album is coming out.
The mass amateurization of our society has benefited me by making whatever information I want to find available for me in some form on the web. If I want to hear controversial news or opinions I can Google it rather than settling with what fox five has to say. On the other hand Shirky argues that the mass amateurization of our society is putting quantity over quality and is making news like Stacy is bored as accessible if not more accessible then news about the status of our economy. He thinks the overwhelming amount of trash we have to swim through in the media to find actual important news and information is hurting our society and dumbing us down.
Jenkins is a little more optimistic in which he thinks the mass amateurization is creating the professionals of tomorrow. He uses the example of Heather and how she writes fan fiction of Harry Potter to explore her creativity, something she would not be able to do in school. Being able to access all kinds of different fan fiction inspires amateurs to give it a try and you never know which one of these people may be the next big thing. I for one think its great that because of you tube and vimeo we can all be amateur video producers and through free recording software’s like garage band we can record music right in our homes. This is a luxury once only available for producers with investors but now its available to the public accompanied by the free publisher the Internet.
Even though amateurs will now have a fair opportunity to excel I think the future of the media professional will be preserved. Even from what Shirky and Jenkins have to say it’s clear that there will always be a place for these professions. Although we all may have available recording software and publishing outlets it does not mean that everyone will use it to its full potential or with the skill of a professional. What the availability of these technologies will do is give those with talent who would not have an opportunity in the past an extremely larger chance to have their media exposed to the masses and become a professional. The readings suggest that the way professional media outlets do business will have to shift. The playing field is now more or less even and professionals have a whole new set of competition. The new competitors are the mass amateurized public who hold the potential and capability to have a greater impact on society than the professionals do.