Monday, September 30, 2013

Mass Amateurization

In the article,"Everyone is a Media Outlet", Clay Shirky is known for stating that our news is like media landscape. He believes that what we identified is something as news was a professional judgment. The news we receive is not just based on the professional who received and recited it. Social media is about new media outlet towards the way to obtain our information. The public  is releasing the news even before the actual news. This is where we reach "mass amateurization", the public who contributed to the knowledge of those who are active in media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. As we continue to be on the rise for social networking, what is being published by professional journalists and citizen journalists is becoming a blur. Although it is reserved for the journalist professionals, the future of mass amateurization is considered like a "threat" to journalists because the former consumers are now current producers.

Shirky argues the outcome of the mass amatuerization is becoming more like a bandwagon of people uploading news and events with social media outlets. It is like a way of citizen journalism that the internet allows. Shirky states, " what happens when people are given the tools to do things together, without needing traditional organizational structures" (89). If this were to happen, it would be a chaotic society because their cannot be a society who remains structured if you do not have anyone to structure of what can be published when leaking possibly incorrect information. The way our society system works is if you have leader that deliberate all the decisions of what should be known and what should not be known.

In Why Heather Can Write, Jenkins explains that "media producers speak about "emotional capital" and "lovemarks" to refer to the importance of audience investment and participation in media content."(175) For example, he speaks about Harry Potter books and The Daily Prophet which is “a web-based school newspaper operating within the fictional world of the Harry Potter novels" Jenkins (177). Heather exemplifies that the fan fiction extends the writers reach to the point where it creates a relationship between The Daily Prophet and the brand. Since we are shaping children, we need to guide the future of media the right direction. Children are feeding off from the fictional characters of Harry Potter from learning how to read and write. The literacy for children was being enforced and introduced it to a new perspective.
Children are becoming more creative and imaginative and with the use of virtual publishing compete with Harry Potter so they can become the well known company and brand themselves. The consumers continue push their branding so it is profitable, but the literacy for children is being introduced in the growing social media. Heather is not a professional journalist, but she utilized the social media tools to attract a large audience to reach and produce the same content as a professional. 

Citizens are beating the government when it comes to releasing global news. Locally and internationally, people have the accessibility to post up of the news facts before they even got their facts straight. The media landscape that we orginally knew with professional journalists is slipping away from personal contact and information. Media is less often about crafting single messgae that is to be consumed by individuals. It is more of an environment to pass a certain message we want to convey.

The professional media is like going against a competition with the public. As time passes more and more social media will be involved when it comes to releasing the news to the public. It will be harder in the future, but It may be just another obstacle that Journalists must overcome. Journalists may already seem like the "bad guy" when writing and reporting, but it will continue that way. Based on the two readings, media amateurization will shift to its rightful place where no matter how much the public posts. People still need major media outlets to confirm their thoughts. Everybody is a journalist or a publisher in their own way, but yet still does not fullfill a professional publisher occupation.

Jenkins, Henry. (2007). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media 
                   Collide. New York: New York University Press.
Shirky, Clay. (2008). Here Comes Everybody: Everyone is a Media Outlet.  
                    New York: The Penguin Press.


In the reading Everyone is a Media Outlet, Clay Shirky hits on a very important term, "mass amateurization". Shirky in his detailed explanation of how everyone has become a media outlet clearly distinguishes between professionals -Journalists who have gone through rigorous training and amateurs -everyday people sitting in their under garments behind a computer screen. "A profession exists to solve a hard problem, one that requires some sort of label something a profession means to define the ways in which it is more than just a job. In the case of newspapers, professional behavior is guided by the commercial imperative and by an additional set of norms about what newspapers are, how they should be staffed and run, what constitutes good journalism, and so forth."

What are our standards of professionalism. Why don't we trust newspapers anymore?

Shirky states that if amateurs are considered journalists than how can you differentiate professionals from everyday media-users. "And if anyone can be a journalists, then journalistic privilege suddenly becomes a loophole too large to be borne by a society." Shirky comments based on his understanding of journalistic ethics and legislation -laws that protect journalists and their work. In conclusion he says that Mass amateurization breaks the definition of professionalization. In all Shirky states, "When reproduction, distribution, and categorization were all difficult, as they were for the last five hundred years, we needed professionals to undertake those jobs, and we properly venerates those people for the service they performed. Judgment and information reported becomes skewed all of a sudden. The analysis behind any story will always be important, even if social media and citizen journalists break a story. The job of a professional doesn't end there.

Social media and the news cycle. A never-ending cycle. 

Shikry clearly labels professionals as the experts and on the other hand describes amateurs trying to take over the business entirely. He goes on to say, "Mass amateurization is a result of the radical spread of expressive capabilities, and most obvious precedent is the one that gave birth to the modern world: the spread of the world printing press give centuries ago" (Shirky). Shirky illustrates how user-generated content has flourished in the last century. According to Shirky this content is narrow but wide-spread: MASS. According to John V. Pavlik and Shawn McIntosh in their third edition of Converging Media, state "Digital media do not cause people to become active media producers, or "produsers," as they are sometimes called in an attempt to capture how we use (not just consume) and produce media content now. However, they do give people ready tools to produce if they wish and to do so far more cheaply and easily than analog media.

Jenkins in, Why Heather Can Write, states, "They [the student writers] are active participants in these new media landscapes, finding their own voice through their participation in fan communities, asserting their own rights even in the face of powerful entities, and sometimes sneaking behind their parents; back to do what feels right to them" (Jenkins) Mass amateurization has allowed children in this scenario to develop skills of writing and understanding scenarios around them. They have a better take on knowledge and how to use it practically. Mass amateurization helps structure the mind preparing it for details and for curiosity sakes. Adults as well as children are learning -mass amateurization.

The future of media professionals is in good hands. People will soon realize that information is valued when presented accurately and in details, ethically sound, without breaking societal norms. Professional Journalists will be needed that have the background, the education, and mindset to produce vital information. Presentation of that information might be technologically advanced, but the public will crave for the TRUTH. Mass amateurization might not completely vanish, but it's role and definition will be changed. Citizen journalism is a good example of Mass Amateurization, but even citizen journalists will crave to be educated and trained professionally.

What it means for the world and social media.  

Works Cited

Jenkins, Henry . Convergence Culture, Where Old And New Media Collide. New York University Press, print. 

McIntosh, Shawn , and John Pavlik. Converging media: A new introduction to mass communication. Oxford University Press Inc, print.

Shirky, C. . Here comes everybody, the power of organizing without organizations. Penguin Pr, print.


“Mass amateurization refers to the capabilities that new forms of media have given to non-professionals and the ways in which those non-professionals have applied those capabilities in order to create and distribute content and solve problems.” Amateur by definition is someone who is engaged with something without payment and also unprofessional. These amateurs are  operating without financial motive create something extremely valuable, but don't get it confused with being unskillful. What Clay Shirky is saying by mass amateurization is that with social media growing and pop culture being such a big part of our lives today soon all of social media and where we get our news is going to be dependent.

Society now "replaces a previous professional function." Shirky states that the greatest change in intellectual landscape was invention of printing press which made made reading and writing valuable to a society as a whole. However this stopped this trait as being useful as a profession. In Clay Shirky's Everyone is a media outlet, he states “the scribe was the only bulwark against great intellectual loss... His function was indispensable, and his skills were irreplaceable” (Shirky, 67) Until everyone learned how to do it, so the job to do it isn't there anymore, thanks to mass amateurization and printing press started this idea which dates back to the 1400s.

Mass amateurization is great for collaboration and support to your community. “Amateurization is most often associated with Web 2.0 technologies, which include the rise of blogs and citizen journalism, photo and video-sharing services such as Flickr and YouTube, user-generated wikis like Wikipedia, and distributed accommodation services such as Airbnb.” This can become a problem when instead of paying someone to fix your computer you can easily look on forums for people who have the same problem and through social media we help each other out. We also begin to publish our own projects, with videos and photos on our smart phones! It is so easy and cheap to do that we don't need someone to do it for us, we can do it by ourselves.

"Why Heather Can Write" by Jenkins to me is an awesome story about a girl who wrote fan-fiction that simulates citizen journalism and starts her own online paper called The Daily Prophet. "Teachers sometimes complain that popular culture competes for the attention of their students, a claim that starts from the assumption that what kids learn from media is less valuable than what schools teach." But this article shows that through mass amateurization kids can learn from each other especially since they are more engaged in something they care about and work hard on than reading something in school they are not interested in at all.

We are all not professionals but we can update a blog and with our ideologies and take photos and post them on instagram, even post videos on youtube to market ourselves that is as easy as clicking a button. We use tools such as hashtags (**note, I hashtagged the title**) to talk amongst each other to become independent. Why Heather Can Write is just an example of how mass amateurization is growing and there are many stories just like that out there. 

Weapons of Mass Amateurization

When “mass amateurization” comes to mind, “journalism” or “communication” gets linked to it. Why? Because the coined term Clay Shirky brought up in Everyone is a Media Outlet, if broken down, means a massive amount of people joining the media bandwagon. Just as it reflects the title, everyone DOES become a media outlet if the right equipment and resources are used properly. In other words, there’s a great potential rise in citizen journalism. Thanks to handheld devices called smart phones, anyone is able to document incidents and share them to the world in a matter of seconds or minutes.
Twitter and Facebook seems to be the leading contenders into reshaping the media revolution of our time. As brought up in group 1’s presentation, the Arab Spring is a perfect example to how revolution changed. Through cellphones and internet, Arabian communities were able to get in contact with Arabians outside of their countries as well as non-Arabians. Photos and video clips of the daily events that go on, from Tunisia to Egypt, Facebook was utilized at its fullest.

"In the same way you don't have to be a professional driver to drive, you no longer have to be a professional publisher to publish,” Shirky said in his piece (66). The use of citizen journalism is so convenient as these people are “on-the-scene” reporters compared to journalists who actually need to transport themselves over to get the coverage done. They may be amateur in the sense that they do not have the “skills” or the knowledge that a journalist has, but the plus is the fact that the content is first-hand and quick. As mentioned before, the only downfall is the lack of experience.
As for Why Heather Can Write in Jenkins’ book, the use of fan fiction is quite a parallel to citizen journalism but does take on a new kind of twist to “mass amateurization”. Daily Prophet is “a web-based school newspaper operating within the fictional world of the Harry Potter novels" Jenkins (177). As the objective of these fanfiction pieces are to bring out the strong points of literacy between young writers, it also helps the young generation express themselves better with their writing. The difference between this case and that of a journalist would be the fact that a journalist MUST report the facts, or something JUST as near as it is.
“Mass amateurization” has it’s plus and minuses as it tests the ability of the professional journalists. Not to say that it will deplete the whole industry, but it will change how things work. Especially with the blogging community who seems to perfectly exercise their own freedom of speech and maintain an audience of their own. But nothing seems to be the authenticity of the abilities of a real journalist.

Check out this article on the New Republic on "A Guide to Syria's Best Citizen Journalism" right HERE.


Mass Amateurization

Eddie Spitaletta

Mass amateiriztion according to Clay Shirky in "Everyone is a Media Outlet" is the process by which the every day person can obtain tools to become fluent in using technologies that were once only used by professionals. The every day person or the citizen journalist is now learning how to create "news". Professionals are now threatened by citizen journalists because of the innovation of mass media. However print is still being dominated by the professional, how long? we are not sure as the world is changing day by day.

Shirky explains that the professional due to mass amateiriztion is in jeopardy of becoming the outcast. It is hard to have a professional class if everyone can do it. Doing it the right way is a different story but it is something that society has accepted. Everyone with a blog and a camera phone thinks they are a journalist. It all started as Shirky states with the printing press, which gave the citizen the ability to write. In todays society social media has taken over, we all know that. What people don't understand is journalism is about getting the proper information and making sure there are no mistakes. Shirky likes the idea of the citizen journalist, he makes it clear that it has become an asset to society.

The new international media is revolved around social media mainly twitter. Every major news company has their own PR that is dedicated to updating twitter. This is extremely convenient because most of population now own a smart phone. More and more people are adapting to this change and news is now posted everyone we look. The citizen can now post their ideas for everyone to see which I believe is a good thing. This is a very opinionated society and what better than the use of social media. My example dates to where I started to use ableton live. I am by no means a professional DJ but with some youtube help I have the ability to make my own music. With the help of youtube I am now downloading clips of music and putting them together to create my own work. It is examples like this that has created the media for the public. Another example that is more well known is the story of Neta. She was murdered on the street and it was captured by a citizen and the video was instantly put on youtube for everyone to see. With the use of social media it became a huge news story, Shirty is talking about the citizen journalist and that is a prime example. According to Shirky "we want education and competence standards created and enforced by other members of the same profession."(58) Some professions are not for the public, like heart surgery. The average person cannot perform it by just watching youtube clips. That is just a small example but when it comes to writing we understand that many people have the education to become a writer.

In addition to Shirky, Jenkings explains more about the citizen journalist in "Why Heather Can Write." Heather created her own blog where children can converse with each other share their ideas about Harry Potter. She believed that it was a good idea to allow children to express creative events. It helped them write and understand the ways of media, the development literacy was the main point she was trying to achieve.

The future of the media is in the hands of multi media and social media. we are heading down a path where the citizen journalist is becoming more popular. The professional will never die but is going to be hurt by the innovation of social media. In end I believe that the citizen journalist will help the professional in a way. It is going to be a two headed monster and the media world is going to evolve.

Mass Amateurization

Clay Shirky is a well-reputable and respected figure throughout the ever changing media landscape.  He is perhaps best known for coining the term used frequently today to describe "non professionals" attempting professional journalism work, mass amateurization.  Shirky describes this term in his authored, 'Here Comes Everybody' as, "Our social tools remove older obstacles to public expression and thus remove the bottlenecks that characterized mass media.  The result is the mass amateruization of efforts previously reserved for media professionals"(Shirky, 55).  This quote describes that social media's advancement throughout the years has expedited the need to transmit information, even if it may be initially incorrect.  As opposed to the "older obstacles" which where the traditional approach of taking your time in order to make sure the information being published was factually valid.

Clay Shirky courtesy of

My interpretation of Shirky's views on mass amateurization is that social media has allowed everyday citizens the false interpretation that they are professional journalists.  Being a journalist is not about finding information first and publicizing it without properly investigating in order to ensure that the information is accurate and more importantly reliable.  But I do believe Shirky finds value in the emergence of citizen journalism.  In that citizen journalists can assist trained, professional journalists who went through proper schooling and experience, an avenue to become aware of information more instantly.  It is then the obligation of the professional to utilize their expertise to research that information to be able to ensure its legitimacy.

Fan fiction culture, as outlined by Henry Jenkins in "Why Heather Can Write," has reached a crescendo as time has elapsed.  First off, "Heather" is Heather Lawver who at the age of thirteen, launched the Daily Prophet.  The Daily Prophet, "is a web-based school newspaper operating within the fictional world of the Harry Potter novels"(Jenkins 177).  Lawver innocently wanted to provide an outlet where Harry Potter fans could partake in her fictional storytelling adventures.  This however was met with divided opinions.  Some praised Lawver for taking the initiative to make literacy a focal point of her motives.  Other believed her plans negated Christian ideology in a secularized society.

Charles Darwin, courtesy of

Personally, Lawver should be commended for taking the impetus as a home schooled girl to seek education in the form of literacy.  Its safe to say that most children in her age group would not put a focus or prioritize on education over the increasing presence of partaking in social media.  Even if she is classified under the category of mass amateruization of the author, what separates that category from mass amateruization of a journalist is stark.  A journalist does not deal with the realm of fiction; they must report facts.  What Lawver did deals in a purely fictionalized world hence my belief that an author dealing with mass amateruization should not be subjected to similar criticism by a mass amateruization journalist. 

The future of media professionals is headed towards an increasingly dependent social media driven world.  Innovative technology will continue to be at the forefront of the evolving journalism landscape.  How people seek information may continue to change but the ways in which true, journalism professionals operate should not change.  That is serving the field with dignity, honor and authenticity.

Clay Shirky: The Revolution of Mass Amateurization

(Google Images: Clay Shirky Quote)
Clay Shirky's description on mass amateurization varies in examples, however, it doesn't lack its meaning in any of them. In most of his readings, Shirky, seems to have a strong opinion on mass amateurization. He defines the meaning of it, how it developed, and how will it change the future of journalism. Shirky explains professionals compete against each other in their fields and against the new modern media outlets as well. Most media professionals seem to not take this ongoing digital media generation seriously as they believe it is no threat to them. However, after the printing press was discovered and globally used, technology just continued on increasing and improving. And whether professionals believe it's for the better or worst, one thing is certain, this era will continue to develop overtime. Shirky argues that, mass amateurization will be in the hands of citizen journalist, in amateurs.  I also believe that mass amateurization will continue to develop. Nowadays, and for quite some time now, the web has become that place for people to express their beliefs, thoughts, and ideas. It makes sense when you think about it, I mean when the real professional journalists are no where to be found and write a story for the public, who's always there? Citizen journalist are always there to witness or state their opinion whenever given the chance. Mass amateurization is a never ending process that really anyone can be a part of.
(Google Images: Clay Shirky)

"Given this self-suppression- old stories are never revisited without a new angle what kept the story alive was not the press but liberal and conservative bloggers for whom fond memories of segments were beyond the pale..." said Shirky (pg.62) He seems very aware at the fact that bloggers or citizen journalists state their opinions and say what they've experienced because free minds are able to express what the press can't. Every one can be a journalist today. Although, not everyone may be qualified to be a professional journalist, everyone has the ability to be a "wannabe" journalist. Technology has grown so much and because of it, mass amateurization has developed. Shirky said, "In the same way you don't have to be a professional driver to drive, you no longer have to be a professional publisher to publish." (pg.66) This video shows Shirky in an interview speaking his thoughts on the revolution of the new media and citizen journalism as well as mass amateurization. This just further explains the no need to have a journalistic title to be someone in the world of media. You no longer have to have a degree to earn respect and loyalty.
(Google Images: Instagram Ecard sarcastic phrase)

My experience on his argument and mass amateurization is what I'm doing now. I'm a blogger and I'm blogging not only on what Shirky believes but, also my point of view on what he thinks and what I got out of it. Being able to state and express my opinions and try and explain his beliefs on this blog post is freedom of expression. However, I have had previous blogs in which I have participated in and I have obviously contributed to this whole mass amateurization development and although I am an aspiring journalist, I, as well as the rest of society have been part of this never ending process of mass amateurization.

(Google Images: A picture substituting the word
In addition, Jenkins, also explained mass amateurization in "Why Heather Can Write." The chapter spoke about a woman who started her own fan fiction blog where children were able to express their true writing abilities through the Harry Potter fictional fantasy series. The author used mass amateurization to help with children's freedom to write and create fictional stories that entice their skills as writers and self-authors. She wanted to develop literacy through the creative mind. "Through online discussions of fan writing, the teen writers develop a vocabulary for talking about writing and learn strategies for rewriting and improving their own work", wrote Jenkins (pg.192). This shows that mass amateurization is also an outlet for the development of literacy and future generations.

I think the future of media professionals will continue to develop and hopefully improve for the better. Though it's true that citizen journalism may have its cons because everyone wants and can be a journalist now it's easier for them to make up things farther than the actual truth. Not everyone researches what bloggers say and that can be a downfall to mass amateurization because people will be willing to believe every word that these people say. New authors are going to have to become more knowledgeable of the new developing media and how it's shifting amongst their eyes. People are becoming more aware and intelligent, that either they work together or they compete for life.

Clay Shirky, "Everyone as a Media Outlet"
Jenkins, Introduction to Convergence Culture.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Spectacle

            The spectacle is society’s fascination with images through a social perspective.  The spectacle takes people away from the reality of life and into the world of images. People believe in the world of images and often times live through the images/ They want to become what they see, and then believe what they see is what they need. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”  (Society of the Spectacle, 4) Debourd explains that we think that the spectacle is a collection of images but it is more than that, it is society’s obsession with images. “All that once lived has become a mere representation” Society is consumed by images. With society’s obsessions with images they lose the real life connection to the real world
            Debord describes the spectacle as images that society vicariously lives through. The relationship between society and images is that they use images, as a way to escape and those producing the images are the ones controlling society’s need and wants. They produce the images with the intent for consumers to buy what they don’t need. “The alienation of the spectator to the profit of the contemplated object (which is the result of his own unconscious activity) is expressed in the following way: the more he contemplates the less he lives; the more he accepts recognizing himself in the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own existence and his own desires. The externality of the spectacle in relation to the active man appears in the fact that his own gestures are no longer his but those of another who represents them to him. This is why the spectator feels at home nowhere, because the spectacle is everywhere.” (Society of the Spectacle, 30) Here we understand the idea of supply and demand. Society falls under this pressure to conform to the production of images. The more society lives through these images the less they become involved in the real world. Individuals are so captured by images that they become less of themselves and eventually lose who they are. Which relates back to the specific line  “This is why the spectator feels at home nowhere, because the spectacle is everywhere” Images are everywhere and it’s hard for one to feel like they belong when they will relate to anything; that is everywhere.
            The impact images have on society has the same affect for years but it appears as time progresses the amount of people it impacts and how they choose to get the images to impact consumers changes drastically. Images now are produced to target a certain person, and often times the images give the consumers a false illusion. The illusion that they can become that image, however the image is impossible to become. The illusion also fails to represent everything and everyone. It is hardly realistic, and that is why Deburd argues that society lives in a dream.

            The spectacle as a commodity represents the spectacle putting value on things. The spectator is a reflection of images. The spectacle has the power to make the spectator believe that they can be the spectacle. In media now, we deal with convergence. Convergence is transforming media into different forms of relaying information to the public. This makes it that much easier for the spectator to quickly try to become the spectacle. With convergence we are getting more images out to the public. With the Internet, instagram, twitter, and other various forms of social media, we can create thousands of images a day. The problem with that is that now people have so much more images to lose themselves in. Along with the progress of convergence, researchers and advertisers have found ways to study how the spectator takes in information and images. With the progress of the research of the psychological impact images have an individual. Images are now created with the intent to specifically target a specific audience, and they know various tactics on how to lure in the spectator.

            The commodity is the general expression the reality vs. image. Its relation to the spectacle it stresses the wants and needs of the spectator. Commodity puts value on the spectacle, making it appear that much more important. “The spectacle is the other side of money: it is the general abstract equivalent of all commodities. Money dominated society as the representation of general equivalence, namely, of the exchangeability of different goods whose uses could not be compared. The spectacle is the developed modern complement of money where the totality of the commodity world appears as a whole, as a general equivalence for what the entire society can be and can do. The spectacle is the money, which one only looks at, because in the spectacle the totality of use is already exchanged for the totality of abstract representation. The spectacle is not only the servant of pseudo-use, it is already in itself the pseudo-use of life.” (Society of the Spectacle, 49) This quote does an excellent job in explaining how commodity relates to the spectacle. As money dominates society, the spectacle dominates society in the same sense that it gets the attention of so many people. It has become the necessity in everyone lives. It has become impossible for society to live without the spectacle. They depend on the spectacle to fulfill their desires and needs. 


The Society of a Spectacle

In this day and age people love spectacles. They can be loud and obnoxious or quiet and very shiny. Regardless, spectacles grab the attention of the people even if it is for small moment in time.  In the simplest sense, a spectacle is an image. So, when first examining the the title, let alone the content itself, one can assume that the society of a spectacle is a society regulated by images. Theses images are representations of people's lives and experiences. Representations alone do not tell the story, but Debord seems to believe that people accept the spectacle to tell their stories rather than engage in actual social experiences. The Society of a Spectacle is a society in which people have allowed themselves to be ruled by packages of images and cultural snippets to represent their lives rather than going out and experiencing it themselves.

Debord explains that the spectacle "consists of taking up all that existed in human activity in a fluid state so as to possess it in a congealed state as things which have become the exclusive value by their formulation in negative of lived value, we recognize our old enemy, the commodity, who knows so well how to seem at first glance something trivial and obvious, while on the contrary it is so complex and so full of metaphysical subtleties" (Debord Chapter 2, Paragraph 35).

Instagram is an interesting application that is one of the better examples of what Debord is saying because it allows people to literally capture moments (the fluid state) they deem ideal for the message they're trying to present and actually package it into a convenient file (the congealed state) that be instantly be shared with millions of other users. This packaging, the commodity Debord speaks of, is in fact rather trivial, but; when lumped with millions of other packaging it presents a much larger picture of the issue at hand. The issue is that society has allowed the commodity in their lives as a replacement. 

People have likened social media interactions with what it means in their actual lives. For example, Jimmy posted a stauts on his Facebook profile. Jimmy waits. Several hours later, Jimmy returns to his Facebook to see that over 11 people have "liked" his status. Jimmy now feels like he's the man of the hour. It is seen on numerous occasions where people give others online incentives to follow each other's profiles. What used to be hour long conversations on the phone with peers is now less than half a minute conversations between text messages and other social media applications. 
                                                               Instagram memes...who doesn't love them?
Debord states that "the spectacle is the moment when the commodity has attained the total occupation of social life. Not only is the relation to the commodity visible but it is all one sees: the world one sees is its world" (Debord Chapter 2, Paragraph 42).

It is 2013 and society has made quite the number of scientific and technological advancements, but for some reason it is being said that people are becoming lazier and dumber. In theory, advancement is supposed to uplift the people,make them stronger. With these new devices such as smart phones and Google Glasses, people seem to have a more of an interest in living vicariously through them more than anything. Debord realized that the more society advanced, the more its people were isolated from each other by witnessing the  world through liquid crystal displays.

The commodity is only as valuable as people make it out to be. Society has a chance, albeit slim, to take control and devalue it, if that's what it wants. The scary part is that society doesn't know. The late Steve Jobs once said that, "people don't know what they want until you show it to them." It's aright for people to enjoy the technological advancements, but they must be able to distinguish between what is on their screen and what actually see in front of them. 
Ahh...We're having so much fun

The Society of the Spectacle

The Society of the Spectacle by Guy-Ernest Debord describes how we affect the world and how the world affects us. It explains how we have become both the consumers and producers of our economy. Our demand for materialistic objects began when exchanged goods, metal resources and money were first introduced. Our sense of emotion - happiness, excitement, disappointment, etc. -  revolves around our demands for these materialistic objects. In a way, these commodities not only control our mental state but it also defines who we are as a society - as a whole.
According to Debord, the “spectacle” is a series of images that reflect reality or at least what the reality can be. Debord states, “the spectacle is where the totality of the commodity world appears as a whole, as a general equivalence for what the entire society can be and can do.” This means that the spectacle is an abstract representation of all commodities. It is not yet clear and the images are not yet visible, but it is attainable to exist in our reality.
Debord explains the impact of these images to us and to our society when these illustrations become concrete. In chapter 2: “Commodity as Spectacle,”  Debord describes the theme “commodity” as materialized illusions or something of value that everyone wants to have. The desire to achieve these illusions is “the principle of commodity fetishism, the domination of society by ‘intangible as well as tangible things,’ which reaches its absolute fulfillment in the spectacle, where the tangible world is replaced by a selection of images which exist above it.” Debord is saying that the series of images are tangible objects that we obsess over. Our minds and our thoughts are the intangible objects that are motivated by these images. These images control how we react and how we respond to society. Essentially, we are the toy puppet dolls manipulated by these spectacles.


Technological devices has been commodified in the world that we live in today which has come to be known as the “digital age.” It is something of value that rarely anyone can live without. The world of social media are the set of images or the “spectacle” that reflect our reality. Facebook reflects our likes and dislikes. Twitter echoes our thoughts and ideas. Instagram mirrors our daily actions into photographs. According to Debord, “the commodity appears in fact as a power which comes to occupy social life.” Debord is saying that the desire for materialistic objects such as the iPhone leads us to becoming the images in our social networks which drives and dictates our lives - our social world. Our society as a whole has been defined and dominated by commodities. 

The commodities become the spectacle when it becomes universal, when everyone in the world demands it. Debord states, “not only is the relation to the commodity visible but it is all one sees; the world one sees is its world.” The desire to constantly have our mobile devices with us to constantly update our social networks has become the norm. The “spectacle” or these social networks that was once just images of abstract illusions or figment of our imagination is now clearly visible and in our grasp and it has become our reality.
 Jenkins put Debord’s idea into perspective and describes how we have become the consumer and producer of the spectacle. In his book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Jenkins states, “convergence does not occur through media appliances, it occurs through their social interactions with other.”
            Jenkins is saying that everyone and their ideas intertwine through social media activity. We are part of this participatory culture, where we express our thoughts and point of views while others also construct their own ideas under a set of laws we do not fully understand. According to Debord, “the spectacle is a permanent opium war which aims to make people identify goods with commodities and satisfaction with survival that increases according to its own laws.” We update our friends on Facebook and our followers on Twitter and Instagram because they do the same to us. Other people’s status, tweets and photographs and our own are commodified or have become something of importance to us in our spectacles. Debord states, “the consciousness of desire and the desire for consciousness are identically the project which, in its negative form, seeks the abolition of classes… its opposite is the society of the spectacle, where the commodity contemplates itself in a world it has created.” All of a sudden, our wants have become our needs. It is now something we cannot live without. Both tangible and intangible commodified objects that only existed in the spectacle now also exist in our world - in our reality.