November 10, 2005
Kevin Mark's Brilliant Idea
Kevin suggests, in response to my earlier piece on the terminology of Users and Consumers, that we instead bring back the original meaning of 'amateurs.' Well, I love this:
We already have a word for people who create for the love of it, rather than being paid to, and it is 'amateurs'. As with many other pleasures, when we seek out opinions, we prefer those that flow from passion rather than from payment.
Now it may be argued that, given the decline in the teaching Latin and French, the loving root of 'amateur' is no longer perceived, so those who write pour l'amour ou pour le sport may see 'amateur' as a slight. In which case lets retranslate it to english and call it 'lovingly created media'.
Fantastic. Because it means we take back from the concept of 'professionals' the notion that 'good = professional." Instead we claim the aspects of our experience through creation that are so humanly, actively ours to own and enjoy, as unpaid creators. 'Amateur' has been derogatorily used to convey 'less than' status. Sometimes one or another works is less than, but it is not due to whether or not someone is paid for their work. A work should be judged lesser or greater because of its intrinsic qualities and value to those who apprehend it.
So, take the label 'amateur creator' as a point of pride. It means you create for love, and not for money.
Oh. Btw. Just in case you think there is confusion about the other term in my earlier post. 'Consumer' is still unacceptable in so many ways. Don't use it.
Posted by Mary Hodder at November 10, 2005 03:17 PM
I love use of amateur! Great idea. Olympic athletes are amateurs too.
I call myself an amateur journalist on purpose. I wrote a post on amateurs recently because I was fed up with Nicholas Carr's "hegemony of the amateur" and then immediately read a column by Mike Langberg of San Jose Merc titled: "An Internet Fed Mostly By Amateurs is Frightening". My response:
Nice. I wrote about this back in 2001 on my blog: http://discuss.jarretthousenorth.com/2001/07/12. I really like the word amateur in this context.
There's a great quotation from the legendary choral conductor Robert Shaw (also referenced in the above post), which I modify here as "Creating things on the Internet is like sex. Both are too important to leave to the professionals."
Welcome to the new Age of the Amateur
I guess you really hated the prosumer label. If that comment didn't survive your delete key, can you explain why? I can't imagine that suggesting an alternative label was off topic, offensive or in some other way needed to be removed.
Mobilejones, I didn't delete your comments on prosumer. I didn't hate it at all. It's located in the comments of this other post: http://napsterization.org/stories/archives/000566.html