Amateurization is becoming a wide spread phenomenon in part because of the internet and the easy access to materials needed for publication. This specific question troubles me because I am seeking to be a media professional and mass amateurization seems to be becoming the norm with the cheap easy access to computers and media tools that were once out of reach.
‘Everyone is a Media Outlet’, the title of this chapter says it all, any person has the potential to put forth news and information. Not only that but this new information comes from a fresh perspective that may not be seen ordinarily. At one point Shirky talks about Alisara Chirapongse from Thailand, who did something that no major media outlet could do. She, as an amateur blogger, reported on the coup when no one else could. She provided information to the rest of the world at a time that was critical. She contributed wikipedia as news was happening in her country, garnering the attention of the world. Chirapongse was in no way a professional, and yet people cared about what she was putting out there.
Another example of bloggers taking the place of major news outlets are the comments made by Trent Lott at Strom Thurmond’s birthday celebration, had it not been for bloggers the story would not have gone far. While these things will not replace large news outlets, the blogosphere is definitely a new source of information for the public. It will alter economies because the public is looking to different sources, and there are a multitude of choices at one’s disposal.
Shirky opens chapter five talking about wikipedia, which is a great example of a massive amount of information that has been collated by people of their own free will, and anyone can have access to it for absolutely no fee. The earliest inception of wikipedia did not work because there were professionals doing all of the work and the pace was slow, and it was not until there was a massive collaboration that wikipedia took off, did I mention that this is all free information, being provided on a volunteer basis?
While the effect on economies may be subtle it is there, and it will just take time to realize the entirety of the impacts these new found collaborations have had. Shirky gives the example of the London bombings being on wiki within a matter of minutes. Another barrier with print publication is that it is set in stone, once it is printed it cannot be changed. However wiki is an ever changing being, if a particular subject changes or evolves there will be a user there immediately to edit that information. Thusly pointing to mass amateurization changing the way our economies function.
The past has shown us that the way things work evolve and change. In recent years the internet has given rise to many new exciting possibilities and it is connecting people in numerous ways. The way we do things is changing and there is nothing that can be done about that change, other than adaptation. The economic shift that is occurring due to this mass amateurization is going to force the professional world to become creative and adapt to a new set of rules, and accept the changes that are happening.