Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Here Be Dragons (courtesy of MS Clipart)

Building out from some of the things we talked about today, here is one of my favorite commentaries on the effect of desktop computing on information production, "(Weblogs and) The Mass Amateurisation of (Nearly) Everything":

But what both of these attempts to understand weblogging have in common is this sense of amateurisation. They both argue that weblogging software constitutes a radical simplification of previously complex tools. Updating a website on a daily basis is no longer an activity that only a trained professional (or a passionate hobbyist) can accomplish. It's now open to pretty much everyone, cost-free and practically effortlessly...

But it's not just publishing or journalism that are going through a process of mass amateurisation at the moment. In fact over the last fifteen years or so pretty much all media creation has started to be deprofessionalised. We only have to look around us to see that this is the case - as individually created media content that originated on the internet has started to infect mass media. Hard-rocking poorly-animated kittens that once roamed e-mail newsletters ( are now showing up in adverts and credit-sequences, pop-songs written on home computers are reaching the top of the charts, weblog commentators in Iraq are getting columns in the national and international newspapers, music is being hybridised and spliced in the home for competitions on national radio stations. The whole of the mainstream media has started to look towards an undercurrent of individual amateur creation because of the creativity that's bubbling up from this previously unknown swathe of humanity. Mass-amateurisation is EVERYWHERE.

Much more in the link. I must admit that I am very much a part of this trend. I'm teaching myself how to do digital mixing with Garageband, and since getting a DVD burner last summer I've been shooting video footage on my Sony Cybershot still (for the most part) camera at local concerts to compile on DVD. Even in some areas where I do have some training and expertise I'm letting the new tools do the work for me -- my website is now run on Movable Type, instead of being manually maintained, and I haven't taken any photographs on film in months.

No comments: