Chapter 3 Clay Shirkey Reflection

A potential advantage of the “mass amateurization” that Clay Shirkey discuses in traditional media is being able to revisit old news stories. Unlike the press, bloggers don’t necessarily keep up with the 24-hour news cycle, so they can analyze topics that would never be covered by major news networks, unless there was a new development.

Another advantage of “mass amateurization” is the ability to connect to people with similar interests, and the “de-professionalization” of this process. Since everyone can now have a voice towards a topic of their choice on free online platforms, it has become much easier to find people that share the same interests as you. Whereas in the book publishing industry, the only people who led the discussions were authors that were considered “experts” in their individual fields.

The third benefit of “mass amateurization” is the public being able to bring something popular into the eye of the tradition press, instead of the press having the right to decide which stories are to be considered to be “news” or not. As Clay Shirkey state, “the news media can end up covering the story because something has broken into public consciousness via other means” (65). With the old publishing structure, there was a limited number of professionals that decided which stories to cover, and in some cases stories that would have been relevant to the general public were missed due to professional biases. But thanks to bloggers and editorials, the public can now be the entity to “signal boost” or raise awareness, instead of the other way around.

A potential drawback of “mass amateurization” is some services becoming obsolete, or at least loosing clients. Before, it took a great deal to get published, involving many years in book industry, or an education/experience to be a journalist. Now, anyone can publish their words on the internet by creating a blog or purchasing their own url. In addition, online selling services and auction sites are taking away business from the Classified sections of newspapers.

Another drawback to this fairly-new phenomenon is the issue of reliability. It is a well known fact that the information taken from blogs and personal webpages are not nearly as reliable and accurate as with the websites of major news networks. This is because articles have to go through editors and fact-checkers before they are allowed to be published, but with personal blogs, people can write whatever they wish and make it off as something statistically accurate.


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