The killer intersection, however, lies in whether or not any proponent of any given medium/technology is seeking the same end-game as ‘you’. If our collective goal is to simply maintain an expert-driven culture and educational system, then it would certainly behoove all of us to minimize the very existence of any ‘amateur’ from the discussion. If, on the other hand, we perceive that there is some value (you pick your scale and relative measuring tool) in the ‘process’ of discovery, then we are obligated by the sheer democratic nature of the Net to soften our need for expertise as the sole ticket to the show.
Christian, this could get even more interesting but you’ve gotta do me a favor and take these as sincere:
- I’m not an expert designer.
- I’m not even a professional non-expert designer. I don’t get paid for design work.
- I am, under every definition of the word, an amateur designer.
- I really really love that tools exist so that adults and kids can create videos and photos ad infinitum with zero marginal cost.
Disagree with me on those terms and not on this mistaken presumption that my fellow gray-bearded experts and I are concerned we’re gonna have more competitors on our turf if amateur communities like Vid Snacks proliferate.
What concerns me is clarity.
My “end-game” is a world where people across ages and cultures communicate with each other better, more clearly, a world where people can express complicated ideas with a maximum of clarity and art.
So what bums me out about this cult(ure) of the amateur (of which I am a member), is that there are methods tried and true, dating back centuries, dating back to the golden ratio and before, methods for simplifying the complicated, for clarifying the unclear and, by and large, they’re ignored in this culture. With limited exception, I don’t think people in these insular communities (like Vid Snacks, for example) care.
The relevant conversations I see in my aggregator are of two varieties:
- check out this new tool.
- check out what cool thing this other amateur in my learning network has created using this tool.
Those are both great but the one conversation I rarely see (so rarely it’s tempting to use the word “never”) is:
- check out what this person outside my learning network has made with the tools I’m using. it is so much clearer than anything I’ve tried to make. how has she done this?
I don’t know if that person is one of your “experts” but I know there are people (web design: Khoi Vinh; presentation: Garr Reynolds; motion graphics: Andrew Kramer; photography: David Hobby; screenwriting: John August) who can speak so clearly in these 21st-century languages, people (experts? beats me.) who make their tools and methods freely and quickly available from their websites and weblogs.
Where I split from my crowd of amateurs is I can’t find enough hours in the day to consume their work. I can’t stop deconstructing how they’ve made [complicated thesis x] so very clear. I feel like a schmuck taking Tim to task back there for his run-on sentence of an introductory video but its very existence perplexes me here on an Internet which daily – from Ze Frank on down to LonelyGirl – has modeled great, clear, edited video.
But when amateurs create content for amateurs, that sort of oversight is an acceptable part of the conversation.
Which is fine to an extent – I mean, everyone just seems so happy creating and posting their videos in that community; who am I to interfere? – but eventually one of these amateurs or, more tragically, one of their students will want to express something beautiful, messy, and complicated through video (let’s say) to an audience larger than and outside of Ning. They’ll want to express it with clarity but it’ll be impossible.
They’ll be able to explain simple concepts to large audiences.
They’ll be able to explain complicated concepts to small audiences.
But if they and their teachers aren’t immersing themselves constantly in better, clearer work than their own (made by experts? doesn’t matter. it’s just clearer) work which for the first time in history is available freely and quickly, how in that vacuum can they rise to any greater occasion?