Mass Amateurization – Popularizing mediocrity?

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Professional – defined as “A paid occupation – one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification”. Gone are the days where people have to get degrees and graduate tertiary education to become a part of an industry, the internet and its many social media platforms allows for anyone to write or produce anything they want, and it being displayed for everyone else on the internet provides an audience for that content. The idea that to be a professional on the internet has become blurred and an unnecessary step for many people and has caused an era of “Mass Amateurization”, brought to our attention by Henry Jenkins in this reading.

mass amateurization

Mass amateurization can be simply put as the contribution from people on the internet who produce content such as blogs, videos, music and who have seen success out of this content, which would be seen as absurd from someone who went the traditional, educational route. Popular websites known for being a medium for mass amateurisation would be YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia and WordPress.

The amount of traffic websites produce by visitors and contributors, there is an overwhelming influence on popularizing the content that is produced on these websites. Using YouTube as an example – the training and dedication that is needed to get an education in editing and filming is restrained by time and cost, while getting basic experience by editing and filming your own content and uploading it to YouTube you are getting that experience on your own time and leisure. The restrictions that come from industries has been changed to a mere effortless approach where it is up to the individual to do what they want and post what they want when they want to.

The easy-going effort put into amateur content is allowing for people to get a better experience from being a part of these websites and learning a part of what it takes to be in an industry. People who become professionals from mass amateurization, from the amount of people that contribute and are a part of the audience allows for some people to get paid – much like the Yogscast on YouTube.

The Yogscast started out as a couple of guys filming (video and audio) the games they play and uploading it onto YouTube, by continuing the filming and uploading of the videos they create, they have managed to make money from what they do. The amount of money they make has always been a private matter but speculation has always arisen – from $2000 to $2500 for every 3 million views, though the amount of pulling power they have from their devoted fans is shown when they raised $500,000 for their Kickstarter for producing their own game, or when they raised over $120,000 in 2011, and over $200,000 for Oxfam by live-streaming through December last year.

What the Yogscast has achieved and continues to achieve is quite rare compared to the amount of people that are users of YouTube. Considering the medium and revenue that the Yogscast collects is based around getting hits on the content they produce, they need to maintain a flow of content that appeals to their audience.

Image Source:

“Ugh…” http://cultureandcommunication.org/tdm/nmrs/fa1/tag/mass-amateurization/

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2 responses »

  1. Nice post. I also love how everyone and anyone posting things it allows for niche interests to be so strongly catered to. Instead of having to achieve great heights, which still happens for some, people can just have a few hundred views and be perfectly satisfied. People can be free to explore the things they like because producer don’t need to meet views quotas to sustain themselves. As good as the success stories are(and they are very cool) the definition of being a successful youtube channel is kind of blurry for some, since making money isn’t even required.

  2. I think cases such as the Yogcast show the economic viability of amateur content for a platform. Although Simon and Lewis have made quite a bit of money from their adventures, Youtube has benefited as well. Youtube allows such a wide spread of content and in contrast to Hollywood, makes money in small increments rather than one big Blockbuster. Youtube has effectively given all the power to the amateurs and they now sit back as their audience shows them where to advertise and develops their content. Jenkins talks about this in this article (http://henryjenkins.org/2007/05/9_propositions_towards_a_cultu.html) (third point).

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