Jeff Howe’s article reinstated an important fact that we know already about the Internet: the platform provides an endless amount of opportunities for future and professional success. This success, based on your craft and level of expertise is what separates you from others in this particularly competitive, rising industry.
The first point that really stuck with me about Howe’s piece was that anyone, absolutely anyone can be a photographer or videographers based on how low the costs are today. With prices as little as $1,000 for quality video equipment, it’s encouraging others who may have previously been amateurs to go out and pursue a hobby that they’ve always wanted to, on a professional level. It’s weird to think that anyone could just pick up a camera and become a photographer. Similarly, I often hear people say “everyone’s a journalist” and phrases alike because of the way the Internet has allowed people to share messages and more frequently communicate.
The idea that anyone can become a photographer, as brought up in the section about iStockPhoto in Howe’s piece, in a way makes me feel like new technology takes away from those that have spent so long mastering their crafts. For example, Twitter and other social media platforms have hugely contributed to the idea that anyone can become a journalist. The broader argument of professional journalism versus citizen journalism examines the way in which untrained individuals feel that they are delivering information and equivalent in accountability to those that have made a career in the field. More specifically, in the case of breaking news situations, these people are also the first to tweet and Instagram material as if they’re on the scene themselves like a journalist. This idea is particularly interesting through the lens of the Boston Marathon Bombing or even the Ferguson Missouri shooting. Anyone and everyone were picking up their phones to do what they considered “reporting”.
Another line that really stuck with me was, “The labor isn’t always free, but it costs a lot less than paying traditional employees. It’s not outsourcing; it’s crowdsourcing.” The idea that you can crowdsource goods and services are something we would’ve never deemed acceptable ten years ago. An interesting website that I’ve come across lately where people literally sell their services for $5 or less is Fiverr. Users on Fiverr will do almost anything for five dollars: from designing a personal logo to editing your five-page paper. I am constantly amazed by how the Internet has become a catalyst for personal success.
Other sites like Mechanical Turk have helped create opportunity for those also seeking employment. In Howe’s article, he talks about iConclude, and the company’s experience finding top-notch professionals with the ability to write repair flows. Mechanical Turk gave both the companies and established professionals the opportunity to work together.
Overall, I was very pleased with the points that Howe made in his article. What really stood out to me was the idea that on the Internet anyone can be anything and crowdsourcing has largely contributed to that notion.