Sunday, September 30, 2012

Post 2 - Mass Amateurization

In his book, Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky uses the example of the Scribes to describe how new technology is giving way to the concept of “mass amateurization”.  In these modern times everyone is a journalist since everyone is on the Internet posting, sharing and reposting everything they see.

The users of yesterday become the creators of today. While that may seem like a good thing, given that more and more people are involved with the world, it in fact is a bad thing. As Shirky says about the Scribes, “A scribe, someone who has given his life over to literacy as a cardinal virtue, would be conflicted about the meaning of moveable type. After all, if books are good, then surely more books are better.” (67).

Shirky argues that with so many consumers turning into producers, the need for professionals becomes unnecessary. An “amateur journalist” with the use of Facebook and Twitter can now inform millions with a single message before a professional gets the chance to do so. With the Internet becoming such a great source of user-to-user information, the need for professionals becomes unnecessary. On his website, Shirky states “Weblogs destroy this intrinsic value, because they are a platform for the unlimited reproduction and distribution of the written word, for a low and fixed cost. No barriers to entry, no economies of scale, no limits on supply.

Like Shirky, Henry Jenkins also talks about mass amateurization, however he mentions it as a good thing rather than a somewhat harmful thing. In the chapter “Why Heather Can Write”, Jenkins talks about the concept of fan fiction and how it helps people develop better skills in reading and writing.

With schools limiting students on what they can learn and how much they can express themselves, fan fiction gives them a way to “Unleash your imagination and free your soul” as the logo above states. Good fan fiction writers grow into this person that has such a fine grasp of language and storytelling that they can write at the same level of the authors they are reading. This level of creativity, as Jenkins proves within his own book, cannot be taught in schools. Certain things need to done firsthand in order to learn and perfect. 

Personally I feel that with such an advance in technology certain media forms, such as journalism, are going to suffer from mass amateurization. Everyday my Twitter feed coughs up news story after news story and my Facebook friends share posts that they find interesting. As a consumer of media and a filmmaker I see the professional world slowly dying out like CD players and giving way to the iPods that are amateurs.

While the Internet is going to spell trouble for journalists it actually proves to be a savior for a filmmaker such as myself. It is through the Internet that I can get my work viewed all over the world. A lot of people in the film world say that collaboration is the key to success in this business, while this may be true as an amateur; the Internet is my best friend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Post 2

The photo above says, "Ugh, what is this crap? Whoever writes this must check their facts or something. and is not a paranoid shut-in at all... i'm gonna go read a news blog instead.

In "Everyone is Media Outlet" Clay Shirky describes mass amateurization. Mass amateurization occurs as a result of the radical spread of expressive capabilities and the most obvious precedent is the one that gave birth to the modern word (66). Shirky's definition of mass amateurization means that anyone can publish anything to the World Wide Web. As a result of people being literate, mass amateurization was a direct result (79).

When talking about literacy Shirky says,  "The spread of literacy after the invention of movable type ensured not the success of the scribal profession but its end. Instead of mass professionalization, the spread of literacy was a process of mass amateurization," (79) if people couldn't read or write mass professionalization would exist. Since people are literate their able to post information on their own. Literacy is key to mass amateurization. 
Henry Jenkins wrote a story called "Why Heather Can Write" in this story he talks about fan fiction culture and amateurization. Amateurization occurs when Heather Lawver creates/ launches "The Daily Prophet". Heather's main goal is to promote literacy and create discussion within the Harry Potter community (180). Heather's website is successful and it allows interaction with difference ethnic, racial and national backgrounds. This web based, school newspaper resulted in worldwide participation where anything Harry Potter oriented could be talked about.
I think that media professionals will still exist but they won't be as important. As the  future approaches I'm sure that there will not be any media professionals just like the scribe situation. Media professionals will exists temporarily because they have resources that they can use whenever they post a story to provide proof. For example mass amateurists  most likely won't have solid evidence that can provide whatever their posting is true. Both authors suggest that mass amateurization has taken over the way we get news. 
An example that I experienced from mass amateurization occurred today. Around 2:45 PM I decided to check Twitter on my phone. I scroll down my timeline and see that my former high schools well liked and highly favored custodian had passed away. At first I couldn't believe it but I saw other former classmates tweet about it even my former high school basketball coach sent me a text informing me. My high school coach said that the headmaster was preparing and email to go out to everyone associated with the school but it hadn't been produced yet. This is an example of mass amateurization. My classmates and high school basketball coach being mass amateurists tweeted and texted me the news yet the mass professionalists being the headmaster of the school hadn't even posted the news yet. As literacy advances mass amateurization spreads. We are no longer just consumers we are producers. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012



Hello everyone my name is Amanda. I am a transfer student here at Rutgers. I love music, writing , reading , working out , and learning new things. I'm a journalism major and I one day hope to get to see the world with my degree! I somehow want to incorporate traveling and doing things aboard relevant to my major , Ill figure it all out one day. Right now I'm just trying to soak up anything and everything Rutgers has to offer. I put this picture of Rihanna relaxing on a yacht somewhere in the middle of the ocean , because for one I just love this picture , it's a great shot! I love the setting and I love how she seems so relaxed and at peace.  Mainly though this picture inspires me in a lot of ways. I'm a simple girl , all I want out of life is peace and to be happy and comfortable with the life I live. Rihanna is someone big in the industry today that I admire. I love her! I love her music , her personality , and I feel like she is someone I can relate to in a personal sense. Well I guess thats enough about me =)

P.S this is just a video of a song I like. I like this song because one day I really want to live in California! All my life I've felt like that is where I was really suppose to live.It's just a song about how great California is ! check it out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Post 1- The Society As a Spectacle


"In all that has happened in the last twenty years, the most important change lies in the very continuity of the spectacle. Quite simply, the spectacle"s domination has succeeded in raising a whole generation molded to its laws. The extraordinary new conditions in which this entire generation has lived constitute a comprehensive summary of all that, henceforth, the spectacle will forbid; and also all that it will permit." Guy Debord (1988).

Conformity? Ignorance? Apathy? Prejudice?
 Society of the spectacle is the development of a modern society in which authentic social life has been replaced unknowingly by the consumption of images "All that once was directly lived has become mere representation." Society in recent days has been controlled by the consumption of mass media in where movies, magazines, advertisements, cellphones, T.V., and many more that has ultimately led to advanced capitalism.

Debord describes the spectacle and its impact that the history of social life can be understood as "the decline of being into having, and having into merely appearing." It is within this idea "historical moments at which the commodity completes its colonization of social life." With the term spectacle, the system can easily be seen as a system that is in high power due to the few corporate companies that control the mass media, advanced capitalism, and the government who allows this cultural phenomena to continue "the spectacle, taken in the limited sense of 'mass media' which are its most glaring superficial manifestation".

 In Chapter 2 of Society of the Spectacle, the reader is able to connect with a theme that has been around for several of years, just to say the least. Debord writes: “Commodity is described as a product, and just as other product, it holds an economic value. At the moment of economic abundance, the concentrated result of social labor becomes visible and subjugates all reality to appearance, which is now its product” (Society as the Spectacle, Thesis 50). 

 According to  Debord, "The Spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images". This idea of spectacle is given form by Disney characters such as Snow White, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and many more.  Debord explains that through the spectacle society lives vicariously through fictional characters, celebrities, and commodities. Because society is demanding what the corporations are supplying, consumers eat up mass media as if it was The Last Supper. Young girls are taught from an early age from the wonderful corporation of Disney what they should look like, how they should act, and what they should ultimately grow up to be. If Disney movies does not due the trick, society has created a life model of what a women should like, Barbie. Whether it is Disney or Barbie Debord`s theory connects how  few corporate companies that control the mass media combined with advanced capitalism, and the government  allow this cultural phenomena to continue   Please watch the following video to further understand the connection between Debord`s theory of the spectacle and its connection with one of the top corporate companies in the world and its effect on young girls...

Debord defines the spectacle not as the images of cultural production, but as the social relations mediated through those images (Debord, Thesis 4). The spectacle’s pseudo-world exists only in viewing this world  but only experienced through a  screen. The experience of living amongst the spectacle creates a fragmented existence for  the competing ideologies, lifestyles, and aesthetics that perhaps other media is trying to break through to consumers. Furthermore, unless it has the face of a famous celebrity society is not interested. Debord’s explanation of celebrity posits that celebrities are  spectacles as living people are a total embodiment  a spectacular lifestyle (Debord, Thesis 60). Therefore, the celebrity is the consumers living pseudo-world spectacle.
Britney Spears
"The agent of the spectacle placed on stage as a star is the opposite of the individual, the enemy of the individual in himself as well as in others." (Debord, Thesis 61)

The Society of Spectacle

            The Society of the Spectacle is the changing relation between the real life experience to the new experiences represented by all new innovations of technology. Not only does the spectacle has to do with the new innovations corporations bring to us but as to how we as a society fall into their traps in buying, trying and using the new ideas.  

            The way Guy Debord describes the impact is in an negative stance. He believes that all these developments will and are causing humans separating from one another and starting to get more attached to materialistic objects. He feels that the quality of life is losing authenticity and losing of general knowledge because of all the new way of looking at images and using new ideas.

As depicted in the picture above, people take the use of the new media and technology and replace it with face to face time with one another. The theme of commodity is known to show things or a new desire to have. Debord takes the idea of commodity and tells us that the media shows us new objects but it is up to us as viewers how to understand and swallow the new ideas.

            The Commodity of as a spectacle is basically viewing something through a new invention instead of looking at it directly face to face. By looking at new ideas and inventions it makes people want to have things even they already own the same type of object. These objects are known to be as materialistic. For example, the new iPhone coming out this week is making people who already own iPhones from the past want to buy it. Even though it has maybe a few new tweaks, it is the same old thing but even has more problems.
                                                (people will buy anything)

The Commodity as Spectacle

The people in the photo above, waiting on line for the release of a new iPhone, represent perfectly Debord's idea of the commodity as spectacle - despite the fact that Debord wrote The Society as Spectacle in the 60s, it remains relevant to today's society and the way mass consumerism has developed through mass media.

Debord's theory of the society as spectacle / the commodity as spectacle is simple to understand. The commodity is what it sounds like - the things that we consume as a society. Society is, of course, society. And the spectacle is "where the real world is replaced by a selection of images which are projected above it, yet which at the same time succeed in making themselves regarded as the epitome of reality." (36)

The spectacle is the dominant representation of life - through media, advertising, news, and as Debord stated simply, images. What the quote above means is that when the world - or society - is so overwhelmed with images depicting what society looks like - or should look like - it is what the actual society begins to truly look like. More simply, the spectacle highlights the age old question - Is it art imitating life - imitating art ? Which came first? The images don't define us until we let them, but they ultimately do.

"The spectacle is the stage at which the commodity has succeeded in totally colonizing social life." (42) When consumerism overtakes society in such a way that those people in line in the image above must absolutely HAVE the newest iPhone, the commodity has won out over the society. Debord also states, "the spectacle is the permanent opium war designed to force people to equate goods with commodities and to equate satisfaction with a survival.." Basically, 50 years ago Debord was explaining exactly what happens today - only maybe on a larger scale : Goods = Happiness. And the way that you get a society to believe that goods = happiness, is to project images of this thought onto them constantly - through television, advertising, the Internet, and any other available medium. It is "..a standard that the commodity has lived up to by turning the whole planet into a single world market," (39) which Debord stated well before today's single world market, the Internet, had come into play.  Years ago, theorists such as Debord understood that while society may change, these general ideas would be applicable to an ever-changing society, regardless of what medium may be dominating it at the time, and he knew that images, such as the ones below, would captivate audiences as they still do today.

Post 1- Society Of The Spectacle

                                                      Video courtesy of

According to Guy Debord, the society of the spectacle is "a social relation among people, mediated by images"(Debord 4) What Debord means is that the perceptions that people make about others is one based upon imagery and not one based on the other person's actions. Imagery, according to Debord, creates a "separate pseudoworld"(Debord 2), which "presents itself simultaneously as society itself, as a part of society, and as a means of unification. As a part of society, it is ostensibly the focal point of all vision and all consciousness" (Debord 3).

A great way to give texture to the negative thoughts of imagery that Debord has is with the video for the Anti-Flag song "This Is The End (For You My Friend). The song, and the video talk about the the negative impact that that advertising has on a person's self image. Screens  displaying facts pertaining how much Americans spend on cosmetics every and 11% percent of boys and men suffer from anorexia, almost other thing which are all negative results of the images that we see and that we are supposed to emulate.

What Debord means by the commodity of the spectacle is that advertisers are using the "commodity of the spectacle" as a means of profiteering, by using imagery to tell us what we, as a society want and as a response, society throwing all the money they can into achieving this. The most glaring examples of this would be when people line up outside of Foot Locker a day before the new Jordans drop or the pre-order rush for the iPhone 5, which is only slightly different than the 4S. 

Photo from

Overall, the most tangible and easiest way to describe what Debord is have everyone watch the Matrix triology. The Matrix in the movie is exactly what Debord describes the society of spectacle to be, a "pseudoworld" that warp a person's perception of not only themselves but others as well. It's boils down to the same question that Morpheus asks Neo in the movie, "What is real?"


Society of the Spectacle

     Debord defines “The Society of the Spectacle” in many different ways, such as “ The spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual excess produced by mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been materialized, that has become an objective reality”. Here he discusses how mass media and propaganda have a huge impact on today’s society. They aim and intend to control the mind and how we view things. People consume so much that we no longer notice what we receive is right or wrong. They no longer provide people the time to think and portray in their minds what they are receiving from the media and how it is being presented to them.
     He also describes how media prevails in disclosing inauthentic messages and displays. They present many different aspects of life experiences, relationships, social, and economic spectacle. These spectacles make us view commodity and the product presented to us in many different ways.
     Spectacle is not just a simple word that can be heard and not noticing its impact on us. It is meant to indicate many meanings such as acknowledging the essential implication of it in producing these images and representation to the public and the consumption we experience. This is the only way they can keep their power to help keep us under their control and day-by-day it is becoming globally impacted on all other countries.

     Commodity is something you want or you decide to buy at the same moment. Media here plays an important role in demanding people to invest their money in what they think looks different and desirable. Here the producers help take advantage of these materials and advertise to make a good amount of profit for them. The public here is exposed to trading and means to consume the spectacle the way it is shown and portrayed.
    Commodity of the spectacle is the power in media and its influence on us. Commodification of devices and digital media are then being presented to the public in a very impressive and formed technique. For example, any news channel, they succeed in grasping millions of people everyday, because they understand the strategy to play into the public’s mind, by what channels should be seen and which channels are not really watched. Digital media succeeds in making many promotions and deals with the public, which help them, succeed in making huge profits for themselves. Although they can be sell for  a lower value in another place or as the same price, but  each producer succeeds in finding their own people to buy. 

The society of the Spectacle

 (Don't have it. Then get it. You NEED it)   Picture

The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord discusses important effects, which are shaping and changing today’s society. He suggests that society has created a false world to live in while being united in the separation the false world offers. Debord also propose the “separate pseudoworld” has transformed the meaning of human. This false world is also being used by commodity to connect worldwide while making each and everyone feel like an important individual (while sharing the same message worldwide).

Debord describes the spectacle as the creation of reality which portrayal a fake world. Debord states “
The spectacle that falsifies reality is nevertheless a real product of that reality (Debord 8),” this false world we create was our doing, as where the lines for the illusion and realism blur. The spectacle includes the world as being broken parts of a society which evolved into a separate societies coming back together into a fabricated world. The world reinforces this every time one tune in for their primetime TV show or login to any social media site. Debord gives insight to the spectacle when he states “It covers the entire surface of the globe, endlessly basking in its own glory (Debord 13).” The world essentially sits alone in front of a box, whether it’s big or small, collectively receiving intake this bogus world has to offers.

However many people may not realize that they are dealing within an artificial creation. The lines blend together that the “pseudoworld” is the only reality with no chance to interrogation. Debord writes “The spectacle presents itself as a vast inaccessible reality that can never be questioned. (Debord 12)” For upcoming generation this alter reality is the reality they would come know. The beauty of material things life has to offer will become more important than the beauty of life, itself. Deford declares “The commodity form reduces everything to quantitative equivalence (Debord 38).” The value of life has decrease because individuality is rare in today’s society. 

Yup this is promising   Picture
 The next generation may not know what commodity common form is, which leaves them oblivious to has happen to the world. Debord announces “In the spectacle’s basic practice of incorporating into itself all the fluid aspects of human activity so as to possess them in a congealed form, and of inverting living values into purely abstract values, we recognize our old enemy the commodity (Debord 35).”  The commodity has done such a great job at hiding itself that; even now it can be hard to acknowledge what is happening. It is so many choices, coming at you at so many angles, and so fast that you’re trying to keep up without taking a minute to think of the decision you made. Now everyone is use to information coming quicker than a snap of a finger and it is forcing up to keep up.

This alter-reality has not only changed the way the world interacts but also it has changed the nature instinct of being human. Deford declares “The commodity form reduces everything to quantitative equivalence (Debord 38).” The value of life has decrease because individuality is rare in today’s society. People are being told what to do, what to think, and what to buy; which is all being dictated by the same thing, the commodity. The commodity is not one thing but multiple things like, Celebrities (Katy Perry [Singer], LeBron James [basketball player], Oprah Winfrey (TV Host]), Networks (HBO, MTV, Disney, Nickelodeon) and many more which is all contribute to the idea that this item is important. The commodity that these things sell is considered as a need instead of a want. If one likes basketball then one must get the LeBron James sneakers, one need this; that’s what everyone little box is telling them. You need this and you need that, no one questions whether it is really needed in the alter-reality.