Communities and Social Media

Amateurism VS Professionalism: Who will prevail in the digital era?


The purpose of this paper is to highlight and explore the aspects from the rise of amateurism on the social media platforms.  Web 2.0 has lowered the barriers towards content creation and with the aspects of participatory culture has brought forward the formation of communities online where people can exchange ideas and tips.  In the contemporary world, anyone can have access to the tools for the content creation and tutorials available across social media.  As a result, amateur content creators are progressively mastering the process of creating and distributing contents across diverse social media platforms.  Produsers are the by-products of Web 2.0 which amplify the aspect of citizen journalism, self-branding, freelancing, microcelebrity and remediation.  The social media platforms are overwhelmed by amateur contents which overshadow professionally created contents.  Thus, this paper points out that there is hardly no clear distinction between amateur and professional content creators.  Social media and online communities are causing a clash between professional and amateur content creators who are now dominating the attention economy and as a result, the line between amateurism and professionalism is blurred.  Understanding the key aspects from online communities and social media will illustrate the factors that are causing a shift from professionalism to amateurism.

Keywords: #amateurism, #professionalism, #onlinecommunity, #socialmedia, #attentioneconomy, #contentcreation, #citizenjournalism, #self-branding, #freelancing, #microcelebrity, #remediation

Technology has changed the way humans interact socially, the integration of social media platforms with Web 2.0 has digitised the “third place” coined by Oldenburg (2013) which refers to physical places such as cafes and libraries where people of equal interest interact with each other. The aspect of convergence can be observed as people are transitioning to the online platforms and also, they are actively involved in the process of participatory culture whereby “produsers” are contributing to the creation of contents which are theorised by Henry Jenkins.  Thus, barriers to artistic expression have been lowered and technological affordance has amplified the rise of amateur created contents which have overshadowed the work of the professionals.  It can be observed that amateurs are more favoured on social media platforms as they efficiently make use of the attention economy to grow.  The interchange of collective knowledge through communities further boosts their development and the quality of their created contents is enhanced.  Therefore, this paper argues that online communities and social media have caused the line between amateurism and professionalism to blur.

The role of Online Communities and Social Media in creating a networked self

A community is created when people sharing same interest group up on an online platform (Kim & Kim, 2017).  Community has efficiently transitioned to the online platform, people have a way connect with each other through the use of social networks and media contents (Hampton & Wellman, 2018).  While Dotson (2017) argues that technology has caused a decline in communities and strong relationship, all the previously stated authors are conflicting with this argument as they point out that there are even more communities online where people bond with each other as they share the same interest and ideologies.  Members within a community helped each other by giving tips, sharing ideas, promotion of contents/self-branding and as a result the community grows bigger as more people join in to acquire this collective knowledge.  Communities are made up of members which in the contemporary world are called produsers as they actively participate in the production and consumption of online contents (Maguire, 2015).  Communities online make use of social media as a medium to gather people and make them participate in discussion and activities. An example could be gamers gathering on Discord or Reddit to discuss game strategies and updates.  These online communities promote a sense of integration, equality and freedom as members can communicate with anyone regardless of their social status.  However, they must abide to certain rules so that there are no hatred or toxicity happening among the members.  Personal media production has become even more popular as the users are quickly adapting to new technology and social media platforms.  To understand how technology play an important role for the growth of an amateur one must put himself/herself in the shoes of someone who wants to start a career as a content creator.  The platform for content production can be in a form of a simple smartphone as it has been developed in such a way that everything has converged onto a single device.  The quality of the camera matches the contemporary standards and there are free mobile applications that give the freedom to reshape the contents.  Furthermore, the distribution of media can be done within the same device through various online platforms such as social networks, online forums, microblogs, image and video-sharing platforms.  Thus, this illustrates how it is easy for a beginner to start a career as a content producer.  There is clearly a form of inequality imposed upon the professionals who must have at least a degree at university, expensive gears and licenses. 

Online Communities and Social media contributing to freedom of information and expression

Online communities and social platforms are promulgating the production and circulation of amateur contents online, citizen journalism is a by-product of this sudden surge of contents online.  Citizen journalism is perceived as a form of news production by the public through recorded events, photographs and text that they post online (Wall, 2015).  Facebook and Twitter are common platforms for news circulation used by the public which imply the use of their smartphone to capture and share news spontaneously as they happen.  Furthermore, social media platforms offer the option to produce live videos which can help to share events as they are happening instantly, while different online communities can share the link and further boost the viewership.  The participatory aspect of online platforms has drastically impacted the news industry causing a decline in profitability as digital culture is dominating the scene (Rutten, 2018).  Wall (2015) points out that there is a class of culture between professional and amateur journalism.  The professionals in the news industry devalue the concept as citizen journalism as they perceive it as unethical, not news-worthy and untrustworthy.  News companies are against this shift of power and must maintain higher authority against the amateurs in the industry.  Jönsson & Örnebring (2011) reinforce the idea of Wall (2015) by stating that major news outlets are pressured by the aspect of participatory journalism.  It is true that news companies have experienced a drastic impact with digitisation of news, decline in newspaper sales and viewership are some of the impacts but citizen journalism is measly responsible for these issues.  Citizen journalism is more of a boon for the community as it is connected to civic participation (Nah, Namkoong, Record & Van Stee, 2017).  Civic participation has led to the creation of non-profit organisations that are focused on news reporting.  Anyone can become a journalist in the digital era as it does not require much computational skills to publish news online.  As a result, freelance journalists have emerged and these news reporters are effective at surfacing newsworthy issues that are neglected by the professionals.  Wall & el Zahed (2014) further supports the importance of citizen journalism by illustrating the context of editorial firmly controlled by the government in certain countries, the output of information is filtered and even censored.  Thus, freelance journalists shed light on imperialist acts occurring in these countries.  Furthermore, the news industry seeks help from online communities and forums to acquire crucial information for their publications.   This emphasises the aspect of collaboration between amateurs and professionals as information is a crucial element that cannot be neglected.  Thus, news companies have set up a system whereby the public can submit newsworthy media such as text, photo and video while in exchange the creator of the content is either credited in the description or given a form of payment (Borger, van Hoof & Sanders, 2014).  This incentive motivates the amateurs to actively participate in the news production and help the community.  Even though citizen journalism entails uncertainties in terms of accuracy and authenticity it has proven to be part of the spectrum of professional journalism.

YouTube facilitating the process of production and proliferating the distribution of amateur contents

Content remediation is another element that has emerged from the produsers community, a rise of content creators has been observed in the YouTube community.  Remediated media are conversion of an original text to another format with added edits (Bolter, 1999).  Remediation is one of the most common practices that has propagated across social media platforms.  It can exist in the form of memes, remixes and mashups that are usually created by basic amateurs.  The process of remediating a text is simple and easy as anyone can reshape the media in any way they like by using free applications available on the internet.  YouTube is a common platform where these types of media proliferate, tools and media contents available on this platform amplify the production and distribution of video contents.  It is the most popular video streaming platform with a daily watch time of 1 billion and 68 million active users regularly (Dogtiev, 2019). This video streaming platform is made up of both amateur and professionals video creators.  However, the most popular ones are the “amateur” video creators as they produce unique contents and are the most upvoted by the community.  The professionals perceive them as amateurs as they apply basic knowledge of video production or even marketing strategies.  However, the formats that they produce are more appealing to the general audience.  The freedom of creating contents has its limits as the aspect of copyright infringement is omnipresent.  Copying and redistributing media contents have been facilitated by new technology (Towse & Handke, 2014).  Some professionals are against the aspect of content remediation as they have invested a lot of time and money into creating something which will later be remixed by an amateur who will acquire more fame and money.  Thus, measures have been taken to reduce the amount of copyright infringement such as the European Union has implemented new rules whereby platforms such as YouTube held liable for hosting copyrighted content without the proper rights and licensing (Feiner, 2019).  Therefore, a massive decline in amateur created content has been observed on YouTube as their videos receive a copyright strike and permanently removed from the platforms.  This has given more space for professionals and the regain in control of the attention economy.  Even though YouTube has cleansed the platform it has given even more importance to aspects of community channels, creative commons and fair dealing which have alleviated the pressure on the amateur content creators.  Community channels offer a chance to anyone to be featured as they make a compilation of videos from various creators on the platform and credit them at the end of the video or in the description.  Creative commons and fair dealing provide the amateur content creators with the necessary tools such music, effects, stock footage, etc… to aid them with their video production for free.  Thus, it is a clash between professionals and the YouTube community but there is no clear winner as statistics illustrate that the most subscribed channels pertain both professionals and “amateur” content creators who started with a basic knowledge of video product.

Amateurs causing content saturation on Instagram which renders professionals insignificant 

In the digital era, photography has taken a new meaning with social media especially Instagram and new trends has surfaced such as vernacular creativity, Instafame, microcelebrity, selfies, etc. The use of photography has been focused towards creating “celebrities” rather than a tool for autobiographical remembering (van Dijck, 2008).  The is where a clear distinction is set between amateurs and professionals, the purpose for taking a picture is different as professionals use it for advertising, storytelling and news reporting while amateurs use it as a way to promote their self-branding.  In the industry of photography there is a lot of remediated vernacular creativity due to the rise in amateur photography through the introduction of handheld camera and social media business models (Edensor, 2009).  Thus, the number of amateurs is increasing progressively as they acquire new technology to perform this daily practice.  Instafame is achieved by getting more attention towards the created contents and promoting self-representation to gain the title of microcelebrity (Marwick, 2015).  As a result, they employ strategies to gain more exposure such as using hashtags, brand promotion and paid Instagram promotion.  Their feed is usually unorganized with selfies.  Professionals use Instagram as a portfolio to portray their creations and attract clients with their well organised feed that reflect their skills (Leaver, Highfield & Abidin, 2020).  Thus, a well curated Instagram profile and feed is essential to the professionals in terms of business prospects.  Saturation of content is eminent on this platform as everyone is engaged in the same activity which renders the hashtags useless as people make avail of random hashtags just to get the attention of the Instagram community.  Furthermore, new technology has made photography even more accessible as smartphone cameras are as good as DSLR cameras and tutorials on photo editing are readily available online.  Therefore, content created by an amateur is on par with the professionals.  In the digital era, the power has shifted to the amateurs as professionals are perceived as expensive and slow in contrast to a cheap and efficient amateur (Cobley & Haeffner, 2009).  There is no clear distinction between them, freelance photo editors coming from the amateur spectrum are stealing the jobs of the professionals.  Photography is an easy and accessible process nowadays; professional photographers or photo editors are barely needed as knowledge of photography has been disseminated across the internet through video tutorials. 


In this paper we have explored and highlighted the major shift of power from professionals to amateurs in the digital era.  Communities across social media networks reinforce the aspect of collaboration and collective knowledge which aid the beginners to grow and develop their skills, self-branding and popularity.  Different aspects from citizen journalism, YouTube and Instagram have shed light on how professionalism and amateurism clash with each other which also help us to understand the importance of Web 2.0 into facilitating the approach towards content creation (text, photo, video).  The amateur will progressively rise above the professionals as the barriers towards mastering the art of creating content online have been drastically flattened and new technology will always ease the learning process. 

Reference list:

Bolter, J. (1999). Remediation: Understanding New Media. Corporate Communications: An International Journal4(4), 208-209.

Borger, M., van Hoof, A., & Sanders, J. (2014). Expecting reciprocity: Towards a  model of the    participants’ perspective on participatory journalism. New Media & Society18(5), 708-725. doi: 10.1177/1461444814545842

Cobley, P., & Haeffner, N. (2009). Digital cameras and domestic photography: communication, agency and structure. Visual Communication8(2), 123 – 146. doi:10.1177/1470357209102110

Dogtiev, A. (2019). YouTube Revenue and Usage Statistics (2018). Retrieved  from

Dotson, T. (2017). Technically Together. Reconstructing Community in a  Networked World: MIT Press

Edensor, T. (2009). Spaces of vernacular creativity (1st ed.). Routledge.

Feiner, L., (2019). YouTube and its users face an existential threat from the EU’s    new copyright directive. [online] cnbc. Available at:   the-eus-new-copyright-directive.html

Hampton, K. N., & Wellman, B. (2018). Lost and Saved . . . Again: The Moral   Panic about the Loss of Community Takes Hold of Social Media. Contemporary  Sociology47(6), 643– 651.

Jönsson, A., & Örnebring, H. (2011). USER-GENERATED CONTENT AND  THE    NEWS. Journalism Practice5(2), 127-144. doi: 10.1080/17512786.2010.501155

Kim, M., & Kim, H. (2017). The effect of online fan community attributes on the       loyalty and cooperation of fan community members: The moderating role of connect hours. Computers In Human Behavior68(1), 232-243. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.11.031

Leaver, T., Highfield, T., & Abidin, C. (2020). Instagram : Visual social media cultures. Retrieved from

Maguire, E. (2015). SELF-BRANDING, HOTNESS, AND GIRLHOOD IN THE    VIDEO BLOGS OF JENNA MARBLES. Biography, 38(1), 72-III,152.            Retrieved from https://search-           proquest-  

Marwick, A. E. (2015). Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy. Public Culture, 27(1), 137–160.   

Nah, S., Namkoong, K., Record, R., & Van Stee, S. K. (2017). Citizen journalism practice increases civic participation. Newspaper Research Journal38(1), 62–78.

Oldenburg, R. (2013). The café as a third place. In Café society (pp. 7-21).  Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Rutten, K. (2018). Participation, Art and Digital Culture. Critical Arts32(3), 1-8. doi: 10.1080/02560046.2018.1493055

Towse, R., & Handke, C. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook on the digital creative  economy. Retrieved from

van Dijck, J. (2008). Digital photography: communication, identity,  memory. Visual Communication7(1), 57-76.   

Wall, M. (2015). Citizen Journalism: A retrospective on what we know, an agenda for what we don’t. Digital Journalism1(1), 1-17.

Wall, M., & el Zahed, S. (2014). Syrian Citizen Journalism. Digital Journalism3(5), 720-736. doi: 10.1080/21670811.2014.931722

73 thoughts on “Amateurism VS Professionalism: Who will prevail in the digital era?

  1. Hi ignesh,
    Your paper was enjoyable to read. The terms “participatory culture” and “prosumer” were well defined in your points. Consumers are no longer passive online members due to the ‘read-only’ factor; instead, they can do much more, such as create content themselves, thanks to Web 2.0. I agree with your observation that the distinction between amateurs and professionals is blurring on the internet.

    1. Hi Rhyan,
      I am happy that you have enjoyed and understood the points illustrated in this paper. Participatory culture has contributed a lot to the rise of amateurism and given the ability to exploit the Web 2.0.
      Thank you for your comment

  2. I really liked your paper, it is true that amateurs are getting better than professionals. Tiktok and instagram are perfect examples where amateurs proliferate

    1. Hi Owen,
      Thank you for reading my paper, I agree with you that amateurs are rapidly expanding on Instagram and TikTok. These platforms are very accessible to anyone and many people love to showcase their contents. Anyone can easily grow a self brand on these platforms.

  3. Hey Ignesh,

    Really enjoyed reading your paper, and I particularly liked how you have made it easy to read and well structured, with the use of headings for each section. I like how you discuss this issue in regards to journalists, YouTube, and Instagram, I believe it presents a well explored and researched argument.

    My question is do you believe that there should be more protocols and requirements for the production and distribution of online content in order to ensure professionals are more able to have their work noticed, or do you believe we should continue to allow anyone to create and share content online?

    1. Hi Chloe,
      Thank you for your comment; in regards to your question I think we cannot enforce more protocols and requirements as there are many constraints (copyright laws, overflow of content and access to equipment) that makes content production and distribution becoming even more difficult for the amateur. Social media platform’s are free to use and accessible to anyone. Thus, anyone is allowed to produce content online and contents are quickly saturated online as everyone wants to copy the same style of each other in order to fit in the trend. As a result, we cannot restrict content production as more contents equal to more profits for the social media company.

  4. Hi Ignesh, thank you for sharing your paper, this is a really intriguing topic. Participatory culture and the increasingly blurred lines between the amateur/professional binary are central to modern day use of the Internet. I personally view the blending of amateur artists and professional artists as a good thing, and enjoy how much more accessible creative publishing is in comparison to what it was like prior to the Internet. I’ve read some of the comments on your paper, where people have mentioned the importance of professional qualifications for the purpose of obtaining employment. I can see how qualifications definitely give you a competitive edge, but I’ve witnessed multiple cases where someone has been hired based on their portfolios, rather than a degree. One of my friend’s is a coder, and has not got a single qualification in the field. All she has is an impressive portfolio of online work, which has landed her an extremely good job with a reputable company. My partner has also had a similar experience- no official qualifications in her field of work, but a great portfolio of work which got her hired. Cases like these seem to suggest that even workplaces are placing less value in the amateur/professional binary!

    1. Hi Silas,
      Thank you for checking out my paper, I am happy to see how other people job experiences reflect with my topic of discussion. As I mentioned most photographers and graphic designers use Instagram as their portfolio. Thus, they follow certain aesthetics to use the attention economy to their advantage and gain sponsorship/partnership with companies to produce their contents. Showcasing the skills on social media platforms can easily help in obtaining a job. Maybe in the future, certificates from university will not have much importance (still a debatable topic though).

  5. Hi Ignesh,
    I really enjoyed your paper, well done!
    In this digital era we can barely compare amateurism and professionalism, as everyone has the same resources to do any task. Maybe someday amateurism will take over those professionals as it has already started.
    Best regards,

    1. Hi Jensee,
      I appreciate that you have enjoyed my paper, definitely in the future amateurs will surpass professionals
      Best regards!

  6. Hello Adish, hope you are fine, I know assignments and works are over flooding i must say on us. Needless to say, you came up with a nicely written paper. Your title is very intriguing and convincing, since it sounds so much real now. As I was reading your paper, this links me back to the theory of vernacular creativity, where the accessibility of creativity do not depend on credentials because of media flow. It would have been even better if you focused on only one aspect, uhmmmm Photography and instagram maybe?

    From my personal experience, what really would distinguish the importance of a professional or the value of amateurism, would be: a job in an actual company. Qualifications hold an immense value in the career market. Certificates and ‘papers’ are required in order to work as an actual ‘professional’. And in the case of the amateur, if the latter really wants to exploit his.her talents further, the person has to start from scratch to pursue business (self-employed). We see that a lot on instagram, as it is a platform for free professional self-branding.
    From my point of view, I see a competition between amateurs and professional. What do you think, and as an amateur photographer, have you had experience a situation where ‘professionals’ disagree from your creative works you produced?

    Let me know your views.

    Great work dear!

    Best, hope to hear from you ASAP,

    1. Hi Mageswari.
      I’m good, hope you are doing fine too;
      I did not want to focus on photography and Instagram as this field is widely saturated by amateurs. I wanted to show how amateurs are growing across different media (blogging, vlogging, remediation, vernacular creativity, etc..) and people who are unfamiliar with the topic can understand how the amateur communities are influencing these social media platforms.
      You asked if I had experience a situation where ‘professionals’ disagree from your creative works you produced?
      Yes, many times but unlike other content creators I love getting criticism from the audience because it guides me to produce better content. There are many amateurs that do not understand the importance of feedbacks. Professionals or any internet user form part of your viewers/followers on social media, you really need to consider their feedbacks so that you can continue to grow your channel/account in terms of engagement and popularity.
      Thank you for such an engaging comment, I will surely check out your paper you can count on me.

      1. Thank you Ignesh, I appreciate the way you respond to negative feedbacks in order to uplift your creativity. 🙂

        Thank you for reading my paper.

  7. Hi Ignesh,

    this was a very insightful take on the relationship between amateurism and professionalism.

    I believe the appeal that amateur works have over professional ones are how they are in tune with what the public is looking for, especially on the web where authencity is revered. Personally, i think this is where it makes a difference in citizen journalism for instance.

    As the internet is educated, they can see the disconnect between certain professional news outlets and the reality of events. People are very skeptical of media sources because they are not sure if this is a genuine report or fabricated one, following the agenda of the government for instance. Sometimes certain issues are ignored altogether while discussions in society are taking place.

    Don’t you think amateurs and professionals can reach a middle-ground? In photography for instance, wouldn’t both parties benefit from crowdsourcing for example?

    Thanks for your comments on my paper anyways!

    1. Hi Elodie,

      I agree with you that there are educated users who can distinguish between what is fake and real. Fake news can cause propaganda and tarnish the reputation of people. Information is a powerful ‘weapon’ that must be handle with responsibility.

      Crowdsourcing can definitely boost both amateurs and professionals as they can both showcase their skills/photographs and gain benefits from it such as exposure and money. Both arties can grow and expand their self branding. The aspect of collaboration was reinforced by participatory culture. As a result, both amateurs and professionals work together to influence the attention economy.

      Thank you for your comment

  8. Hi Ignesh,

    I enjoyed reading your paper. The concept of participatory culture and ‘prosumer’ was well described in the points you made. With Web 2.0, consumers are no longer passive members online with the ‘read-only’ factor but they also can make much more like produce content themselves. I agree with your point that the line between amateurs and professionals is eventually disappearing on the online community. Do you think there should be measures taken against the amateurs to empower the professionals or do you think there should be more of a balanced between professionals and amateurs online?

    1. Hi Vejetaa,
      I am happy that you have enjoyed my paper,
      Pertaining to your questions “Do you think there should be measures taken against the amateurs to empower the professionals or do you think there should be more of a balanced between professionals and amateurs online?”
      Answer: I do not think that measures should be taken against amateurs as social media platform is a free place where anyone can join in and enjoy posting their contents. I would say it would be unfair to balance between professionals and amateurs online simply because amateurs face more difficulties to create contents as they do not posses the same equipment and finance as the professionals. Thus, they strive to create better content and with their own effort without the help of a tutor.
      I would like to know if you would agree with my opinion.

      1. Hi Adish,
        Your answer is debatable in some ways.You are right that amateurs have a disadvantage compared to professionals.
        Though, nowadays, with several online programs and even free YouTube videos, amateurs get knowledge about photography quite easily. There is a website called StudioBinders which explains several techniques of videography and even goes step by step.
        However, watching free courses online and having professional practice is different. This is how professionals can benefit and why social media is a platform where people with ambitions get to express themselves freely.

        1. You are right to say that it is debatable as from different point of view we can conclude that amateur content creators will eventually surpass the professionals.
          Thank you for your reply

  9. Heyy Ignesh,
    First thing first,Thank you for providing this enriching paper that distinct clearly the thin line between professionalism v/s amateur producers on an online sphere.We are indeed submerged by different creativity all over the world mainly on YouTube, people intention are to delivery their hidden talents by interpreting /remixing the main version of a song to their own taste.That being said creative commons hence is put forward to preserve the original version and strict measures are being taken to prevent copyright infringement.However in some cases it goes beyond respecting the rules.Generally speaking as you mentioned more strict measures are being taken to detect people who steal the original idea of other online users without their consent on an online platform.Again thank you for highlighting the importance of copyright.Great work!!

    1. Hi Steffi,
      Thank you for reading my paper and for your compliments,
      The paper illustrates the difficult that amateurs face as a newcomer on the platform. Creative common and fair dealings are indeed key factors for the growth of amateurs. However, being an amateur does not mean that you can transgress the rules as copyright strikes can result to the deletion of contents.

  10. I had a great time reading this. Excellent points!
    This is an excellent article on the differences between amateur and professional content producers. You obviously showed the distinctions between them, and your paper helped me think a lot about the idea of prosumers.  Thank you for this.

    1. Hi Mitali,
      I am happy that this paper helped you to discover and learn new things about the Web 2.0.
      Thank you for reading my paper.

  11. Hello Ignesh!

    Your paper is enriching and informative. Indeed with the online world the blurred line between amateur and professionalism is increasing. But don’t you think that because the fact that professionals are sharing their knowledge on platform such as YouTube that’s why there has been an increased in the number of amateurs content creator? May be it is one of the cause of the blurred line.

    1. Hi Nafeesah,
      I am happy that you have enjoyed my paper
      Answering your question: As I stated in my paper, the barriers towards content creation have been reduced. Thus, tutorials from professionals on YouTube help to teach the amateurs to become even better with managing their work. As a result, amateurs have surpassed professionals in certain sector such as photography.

  12. Hi Adish! First of all I would like to say great job on this! I really enjoyed reading this. Very interesting points! Amteurs vs professionals, can we even distinct between them anymore and does this distinction even matter? Let’s take your example itself. Youtube. Amateur content and professionally created content seem to be just as good as each other. And I as an audience I will say that it’s all about the quality of the content whether it is produced by a professional or an amateur.

    1. Hi Ryana,
      Thank you for reading my paper,
      Pertaining to your questions:
      1. can we even distinct between amateurs and professionals
      Ans: Well, it depends on the platform and the level of mastery. Not all amateurs have mastered the art of content creation, you can point out their mistakes in terms of how they address to their audience or even their captions. The quality is not always up to standard.
      2. “does this distinction even matter?”
      Ans: Yes, in a job perspective, a company will more likely to hire a professional than an amateur with no certification. However, amateurs are using social media platforms as a portfolio to illustrate their works. Thus, in the future the traditional hiring trend will certainly change.

      I hope that I have clearly answered your questions

  13. Hi Ignesh

    I really liked the paper, it gave me some insightful information about online communities and social media. I wish to see more about your works soon enough.


    1. Hi Ashwin,
      I am happy that you have understood the role of amateurs and professional on social media, Thanks for reading my paper

  14. Hi Ignesh.

    Your paper really puts into perspective the blurred lines of the online world, where distinguishing between what is made by amateurs and what is made by professionals is no longer easy to separate. Overall, an engaging piece of writing. Keep it up

    1. Hi Shatendra,
      Thanks for checking out the paper, glad you have enjoyed reading it

  15. Hi Ignesh,
    I love the concept of your paper and it was very informative and nicely written. I learned about things, I was not aware of despite the fact that I spend a lot of time in the social medias mentioned. It is also true that the line between professionals and amateurs has been blurred due to the tools available online. Even i am unable to distinguish between them.
    Overall nice work !

    1. Hi Reet,
      I am happy that you have enjoyed my paper and learned new things at the same time.

  16. I really enjoyed your paper, as a content creator i can strongly relate to the points you illustrated. Keep it up cheers

    1. Hi Morgane.
      Being a content creator nowadays is really about self learning and many people can relate to this aspect.

  17. Hi Ignesh,
    Your paper helped understand a lot new things about online communities as i am unfamiliar with the topic.
    Good job

    1. Hi Sanjana,
      I am happy that the paper was insightful for you. Learning new things is indeed very helpful.

  18. Hello Ignesh,
    I agree with the points about amateur and professionals, its hard to distinguish between them on Instagram.

    1. Hi Daanish,
      Thank you for checking out my paper
      I agree with you, amateur are dominating the Instagram platform.

  19. I enjoyed your paper, i do agree with the points you made about the aspect of social media

    1. Hi Lovenish,
      Thank you for reading my paper and i am happy that you have enjoyed my paper.

  20. Hello Adish,

    Good concept, I enjoyed the reading, somewhere I felt connected to your paper, as I believe I do belong in the content creators community. However, do you think that amateurs are trying to compete with the professionals on the YouTube platform by making remediated contents?

    1. Hi Avneesh,
      Thank you for reading my paper, there is definitely a clash between amateurs and professionals on the YouTube platform as stated in the paper. An example can be memes which are remediated contents, the original video might receive a poor engagement while the remediated video made by an amateur goes viral and gain more viewership. This renders the job of a professional content creator pointless as they do not receive recognition for their hard work and are overshadowed by remediated contents that saturate the platform.

  21. Hi Ignesh,
    You have chosen a very particular topic to tackle on which you have managed to do so fluidly. I really enjoyed myself reading your paper since it is a theme I am not at all familiarized with and I got to learn some new concepts as well. Great job.
    However, in this digitalized world we are living currently, with any people having the liberty to create any products, whether they are professionals or not, don’t you think it is actually promoting creativity leading to new discoveries?
    I agree with the fact of drawing a line between amateurs and professionals but don’t you think in a way, amateurs could surpass the professionals?
    Pros tend to work under certain guidelines but the amateurs have no limit. Instead of drawing lines, what would you think if both decide to collaborate?
    Because a professional was once an amateur..
    I would love to get your views on this,
    Awaiting your reply,

    1. Hi Temul,
      Thank you for checking out my paper

      – Certainly the liberty of creating contents lead to new discoveries, with emerging new platforms new trends are created that proliferate across the social media platforms.
      – Amateurs will surpass professionals at a point in time where professionals will not be needed for providing knowledge while amateurs will be the one teaching the skills to newcomers.
      – Collaboration often happens on YouTube as the amatauers channels are more popular than professional channels. Professionals join in videos such as podcasts, interviews, tutorials and documentaries.
      I hope that I have clearly answered your questions

  22. Hello Ignesh,
    Thank you for this piece of work. The part that you wrote about Discord or Reddit is indeed a fact, as you can easily connect and communicate with people while playing games. These online communities have provided a very authentic sense to talk to people which are beyond the same status as well as people who don’t even know. It is through social media itself that a person can submit any newsworthy information which is considered to be important to the public. I really like the way you have presented your work with has all the details in each paragraph. I completely understand the fact that it is mandatory to make use of creative commons and fair dealing.

    1. Hi, Tiloshna
      I am happy that you have enjoyed and understand the paper. Creative commons and fair dealing provide new pathways for amateur content creators to evolve without encountering any copyright issue

  23. Hello Ignesh, thank you for this paper. I really like all the information you included in your writing, they are so useful and educative. We do form part of a generation that is so well acquainted with the Internet and all, but there are so many basic things that we tend to miss out. Amateurism and Professionalism are topics that actually come up so often these days. I believe that nowadays it is a bit difficult to distinguish between both, a very basic example would be photographers. The amateurs work according to their own preferences and on the other hand, the professionals have to follow a certain rules!

    1. Hi Chitrakshi,
      I am happy that you enjoyed my paper
      It is in a way unfair for professionals to be restricted by rules. Thus, there are many professionals who leave their jobs to become entrepreneur and they do not need to abide by any rule.

      1. Your paper was actually a joy to peruse, undoubtedly with the ascent of digitisation and union we have had the option to see the strengthening of amateur makers on the advanced scene. This has been predominantly because of digitisation and combination. Besides, it could energize a huge gathering of online clients to have a grip on this drawing in subject of Amateurism and Professionalism. These online networks have given a genuine sense to converse with individuals which are past similar status just as individuals who don’t have the foggiest idea. It is through web-based media itself that an individual can present any newsworthy data which is viewed as imperative to public. I totally comprehend the way that it is obligatory to utilize imaginative center and reasonable managing.

        1. Hi Tarun,
          Thank you for reading my paper, the topic is indeed insightful for many people as social media is a vast and complex.

  24. Hi Ignesh,

    Your paper made me think a lot about the concept of prosumers where people are being able to consume but also produce content online. We seem to be living in a golden age of amateur media production, a development frequently attributed to how digital media platforms like YouTube make it easier for people to create and share content online. The ongoing attention that amateur makers have recently garnered raises the question of whether or not it is still relevant to distinguish between professionally created content and the work of amateurs. If so, where should the line be drawn? Audiences recognize quality when they see it, so what does it matter if it was produced by a professional or an amateur?

    I also discuss about content creation and community on YouTube. It would be interesting if you read it and we could discuss about it. You can find the link to my paper here:

    Overall I really liked the flow of your paper it is very engaging and we see the deep research that you did. Good Job

    1. Hi Camille,
      Thank you for reading my paper

      You ask if does it matter if it was produced by a professional or an amateur?
      I would say yes because professionals are still the one who are teaching amateurs. A line should be drawn because the original source of knowledge comes from the professionals and amateurs are merely mimicking the process but adding their own style. Thus, we must always credit the source of the original idea.

      I would be more than happy to check out your paper

  25. Hello Ignesh.

    This is a really wonderful piece on Amateur and Professional content creators. You clearly highlighted the contrasts between them. Indeed, professionals are barely being credited for their hardwork while some ‘amateurs’ are potentially being praised for the efforts they put in their content creations be it on TikTok, Instagram or YouTube. This has been mainly due to digitisation and convergence. Furthermore, your paper is definitely worth the read which could encourage a large group of online users to have a grasp on this engaging topic of Amateurism and Professionalism. Other than that, do you firmly believe that amateur content creators will be able to take over professional content creators in terms of quality rather than just promoting contents to the audiences (given the fast development of technology and Internet usage), in the next 5 to 10 years?

    1. Hi Divesh,
      I am happy that you enjoyed my paper and I do strongly believe will be able to take over professional content creators in the next 10 years. Here are some supporting idea:
      1. Mobile phone quality are getting better every year and even surpassing DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Right now the latest Samsung S21 can shoot up to 8k which compared on a price point to professional cameras which cost 5000$, a 1000$ is matching the resolution but in terms of sharpness and color reproduction still cannot compete with a professional camera.
      2. Social media platforms are getting even more popular than traditional media consumption platforms such as cinema. This means that amateurs can easily create and promote its brand without the need of a physical platform
      3. Online communities and the aspect of collaboration further boost the amateurs content creator to be even more active on the online platform and therefore, they tend attract more attention towards their contents

      I hope this has clarify my belief

      1. Hey Ignesh.

        I completely agree with your points here given that in 5 years time, there will be no doubt that mobile phones or even professional cameras will offer more than just quality.

        Online branding also plays a significant part in promoting better contents through the inclusion of digital economy and gig economy which I believe, are better than the traditional method of marketing strategies in reaching the target market. Thus, this will definitely attract more audiences and accommodate more and more content creators.

        Thank you.

  26. Hi Ignesh,
    Your paper was really a pleasure to read, indeed with the rise of digitisation and convergence we have been able to see the empowerment of amateur producers on the digital scene. You are making some interesting points by mentionning that with digitsation we are presented with more and more user generated content indeed they are overshadowing professionals, and this helps in the creation of communities as well. Concerning your paragraph on citizen journalism, you mentionned very interesting points and indeed this rise does provide benefits for people but don’t you think that citizen journalism does have certain drawbacks that need to be considered though, like for example fake news?
    You also made really interesting points while arguing about the role of amateurs on YouTube and other social media plarforms amybe you could have addressed the concept of vernacular creativity to your argument as it does fit your topic very well.
    On the overall, I found your paper engaging and interesting whereby you treated a subject characterising our current digital era. Looking forward to your response.

    1. Hi tania,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper
      You are totally right that one of the drawbacks of citizen journalism is fake news, as I mentioned above professional journalists perceive the act of citizen journalism as unethical as the public do not abide by the ethics and media laws when publishing news. However, government across the world has enforced laws against the propagation of fake news, as a result the public is reluctant to post fake news and they proof read their articles before publishing. Citizen journalism is more helpful to the community and society than detrimental

      I did mention the aspect of vernacular creativity but I agree with you that a further analysis of this topic would be a great supporting example to my argument

  27. Thank you Ignesh for such an interesting paper.

    I definitely agree that social media and online communities created a blurring of the lines between amateurism and professionalism however I would like to add the following:

    Participatory culture plays an important role in social media and online communities as Henry Jenkins brings light to. Because we have more access to communities local and global our participation in these activities has increased. When I think about the amateur I am thinking about the need to belong, engage, participate, etc, whereas the professional’s activity is more about marketing, promoting, working, etc.

    If you consider TikTok a social media platform that uses a video program to assist its users to participate, can we really compare and contrast with that of a professional. Yes, the way the end product looks may compete with that of a professional however it brings me back to the point made above about the purpose behind each of them. If the application (TikTok) is removed there is no longer competition right or comparison?

    So yes, social media and/or online communities enable this blurring , but is due to the platform or globalization?

    1. Hi Tyrone,
      You made some excellent points, thinking that amateur just do basic things when compared to professionals is debatable. Amateurs are actively replacing the professionals in the sector of marketing, promoting and working. They strongly control the attention economy and as a result companies sponsor them with products that they market on their planforms. Furthermore, sites like Fiverr give the opportunity to amateurs to receive genuine work from clients world wide.
      TikTok is also an interesting platform to analyze as it is one of the most accessible platform available. TikTok offers a pathway to becoming a content creator with all the tools and effects readily available within the application.

      Coming to your question I would say it is both due to the platform and globalization. The platform merge both amateur and professional contents together while globalization further help to proliferate knowledge and content distribution. Thus, both platform and globalization are strongly interconnected in blurring the lines between amateurism and professionalism.

      I hope that this was helpful

      1. Thank you for your reply.

        I think the next step would be to investigate how companies employ. You make mention of Fiverr and I would not disagree with your point, but when I think of Fiverr I think about gig work/once-off projects. Perhaps these are organizations (or better yet, small enterprises) who are looking to go viral quickly with their content and rather employ those amateurs who seem to know how to use the technology better. I may be assuming here but it’s worth the look-up. I say so because I would highly disagree that the top 100 companies would employ an amateur to do a marketing campaign when we consider brand image. So perhaps there is a space for both amateurs and professionals as you mentioned how media companies work together with citizen journalists?

        1. Thank you for the follow-up
          I partly agree with you, you are right to say that professionals still have importance in the field as they are the one who are providing knowledge to the amateurs. We can point out that amateurs are not fully independent as they rely heavily on the knowledge and techniques of the professionals. However, in the future professionals wont be of any great importance as the amateurs will be the one to pass on the knowledge. As a result, the top 100 companies will have to employ amateurs to direct their marketing campaigns.
          I would like to know your opinion on my view of the future for the amateurs, I hope to hear from you soon.

  28. Hello Ignesh,

    Your paper was interesting and helped me understand more things regarding the thin line between amateurism and professionalism. While referring to citizen journalists and professional journalists for example, long ago, news or the sharing of information was only done by the ‘professionals’ but nowadays it can be done by anyone.
    A good example of citizen journalism is the person who recorded the murder of George Floyd in America. Anyone who has a phone is capable of sharing any news, but as you stated above, ‘professional journalists’ often find that what is done by the amateurs does not always follow the code of ethics or might not be reliable…

    I think that professionals, unfortunately, have some barriers which work against them for the creation of contents, compared to an amateur who does not really have any rules to follow. Thus, the amateur has a larger possibility of producing something which is more creative.

    We are seeing more and more amateur being recognised for their work which is amazing, but do you think that ‘amateurs’ have greater chances of having more recognition later for their work compared to professionals?

    1. Hi Tatiana,
      Thank you for reading my paper

      The case of George Floyd is a perfect scenario where citizen journalism has shed light on racism against the black community in America. This caused a massive movement, #BLM, to spread across the world and gaining more people to support the cause. Without the use of a smartphone the world would not be able to see such atrocities happening as nowadays people will not believe you unless there is proof.

      Definitely amateurs have greater chance of having more recognition for their work because citizen journalism shed light on truth that certain regime want to suppress. Amateurs content tend to go viral and it gains the attention of the entire world and even world organization take action upon viewing their articles. The case of George Floyd can be used again as the one recording the video was Darnella Frazier who testified in court.

  29. Hi Ignesh,
    Thank you for such an informative paper. The digital era has indeed helped the creation and expansion of communities by shifting to the online platforms. Moreover, social media has been one of the main actors in connecting people around the world whereby they share their opinions and interests.

    However, I do have some questions for you. You mentioned that Youtube consists of both amateur and professional video creators. You also said that the most subscribed Youtube channels are both professionals and amateurs. As per what I have understood, amateurs are the ones with little to no experience in the process of video production and have inexpensive filming equipment. As they grow in subscribers, they become more and more popular after some years or even a few months and their quality becomes better and better. On the other hand, professionals, as you said, are those with a university degree, expensive gears and licenses, so they have a greater knowledge but faces a lower popularity than the amateurs. So, in the list of the top 3 most subscribed channels, T-series and CocoMelon which are owned and controlled by companies are the professionals followed by Pewdiepie, an indie content creator, is an amateur. But would you still consider T-series as a video creator on Youtube? For some context, it is an Indian music record label and film production company and their Youtube channel redistributes their own Bollywood soundtracks and movie clips. I highly doubt that T-series is even in the produser community. And, what do you think about Youtube becoming a platform that was supposed to be for a community of independent, amateur content creators to be filled with company-owned channels with the highest number of subscribers?

    You talked about how Youtube is now more strict about copyrighted contents. I would like to hear more about the flawed side of their copyright laws. There have been several cases where Youtubers have wrongly received copyright infringement of their own song with their voice. Or even a Youtuber who sang a rather popular song (Artist A) for 3 seconds but was copyright claimed by another artist (Artist B) just because the Youtuber sang some words similar to the artist’s (Artist B’s) song (I don’t remember who were the Youtuber and song, my bad!).

    I look forward to your feedback! 🙂

    1. Hi Elisa,
      Thank you for your constructive feedback
      I will gladly answer all your questions:
      1. would you still consider T-series as a video creator on Youtube?
      Ans: I would consider T-series as a video creator because this channel follow the patterns of other YouTubers in terms of how they create specific content for their YouTube audience. T-series channel is not just a platform for redistributing their own Bollywood soundtracks and movie clips, it also promotes the sub channels, share news and make compilations.
      2. what do you think about Youtube becoming a platform that was supposed to be for a community of independent, amateur content creators to be filled with company-owned channels with the highest number of subscribers?
      Ans: YouTube is a free video sharing platform and open to anyone to join. It was never supposed to be for a community of independent, amateur content creators as a matter of fact YouTube makes more money with company channels as they gather even more users on the platform. Thus, YouTube in a financial view is even more profitable as the audience further grow. It is fair to say that company channels plays an important role on this platform.
      3. the flawed side of their copyright laws
      Ans: I do strongly agree with you concerning the unsolicited copyright infringement. As I stated above YouTube had to abide to the laws enforced by European Union, their algorithm for detecting copyright infringement is not 100% efficient due to the fact many content creators has not used the correct licensing when uploading a video. Thus, YouTube will flag the original creator because he/she has used the incorrect licensing type such as Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY).

      I hope that I have answered your questions as clearly as possible
      Let me know what you think

      1. Thank you for answering.
        Let’s put aside the financial performance of Youtube, what about the community? I agree that it was made for anyone to post any video content they wished. If we look at the earliest days of Youtube back in 2005, there were only amateurs and they are the ones which made Youtube become what is right now. They address/include their audience/fans in their video, like the comments or even reply to the comments which make the whole sense of community real between the fans and the creators, making it a two-way interaction. Each creator has their own community in which they can interact with each other. A great example is Mr. Beast’s community page in which the creator is very informal and friendly.

        In contrast to T-Series, their community page is only about promoting either their produced songs, movies or a radio show which are already part of the mainstream media. It is only a one-way interaction and the business/marketing intention behind it is very strong. It can be observed that it uses the community feature just for the sake of it being there.

        An example of a company channel that has adapted to the online spaces is Nintendo. Despite having the mainstream media as their main platform to promote their products, they create content specifically for Youtube and interact with their audience on their community page.

        My question to you is, company channels like SET India that is purely redistributing their TV Shows (I swear there is no other contents for Youtube specifically) and using the community feature just like T-series, do you think that these types of channels are blurring the line between the amateurs and professionals? Indeed, amateurs are on par with the professionals with the video process and so on but I think in terms of how they connect with the community, there is a definite line of division.

        Hope to hear back from you.

        1. These channels are blurring the lines as they operate with the sole purpose of content promotion and not because of their subscriber count. Even though that SET India has at the moment around 102 million subscribers its fanbase/community is inert. Most of the videos of this channel barely exceeds 100k views or even 10k likes due to the fact the subscribers are not even active on the channel. Often referred as ghost followers or bots there are many channels across YouTube that pays a lot to boost up their subscriber count. Pertaining to these facts we cannot judge a channel’s success by their subscriber count but rather by their level of engagement. Channels like SET India, in the professional category, do interfere with the amateurs content as most of the amateurs are more willing to create show reviews and voiceovers than just plainly resharing broadcasted contents on YouTube. When comparing Mr, Beast with SET India one would say SET India is more successful but in the reality Mr. Beast is the one in control of the attention economy as he has more viewership and interaction. In the end, the success of a brand depends on the market share, the dominant one always win.

          I hope that this has been insightful

          1. In the perspective of content creation, yes, the line is blurred between amateurs and professionals.
            I agree that the number of subscribers does not mean the success of a channel. The interaction between the producer and the consumer and quality contents are what make a channel very successful.

            The community engagement is not the same for amateurs and professionals. And I think this is where it draws the line between an amateur and a professional, despite both producing contents. A community is where people build an ongoing, permanent relationships and talk about common interests. In the context of Youtube, it is the creation of a relationship between the producer and consumer, a relationship between creators and fans. For an amateur, social media is about building a connection or like you said, an opportunity for self-branding. For a professional, this is just another marketing strategy to increase their online presence and building brand image. For news channels like BBC, Youtube is just another platform to share the news like in the mainstream media and no interaction is done between the creator and the audience. Amateur news channel do chime in sometimes to reply people in the comment section. Like I said earlier, there are some exceptional cases like Nintendo who adapted their contents to the Youtube audience. This is probably going off on a tangent as your main focus is on content creation but surely a topic to be touched on.

  30. Hi Ignesh
    Your paper was very interesting as a matter of fact I can totally relate it. I agree that the line between amateurism and professionalism has blurred, but there are also limitations to what a professional can do compared to an amateur unlimited exposure but not respecting laws such as copywriting. A qualified (professional) content creator at some point reach a saturation of creativity as well as respect the political norms of the society, and the amateurs don’t usually follow the ‘normal’ process, they are always on the go. Let us take ‘meme’ revolution as an example, it was term introduced back in 1976 by a biologist to define Selfie Gene. However the cyberculture and rise of digitalization allowed amateurs to manipulate political statement to produce humorous contents by the public sphere who were mainly amateur. But who would have thought that ‘meme’ would go viral that brands, movies and songs are using it. On the contrary, a professional would never go beyond of what he learned because they have to respect laws and values to be respected towards the States or brand entities. I agree that amateurism will overtake professionalism but how far would a brand or any organization go to employ an amateur with who do not possess a digital tidiness knowing that great power of digital comes great responsibility ?

    1. Hi Ruby,
      Thank for you this constructive feedback
      I do agree with you that at a certain point a qualified (professional) content creator reach a saturation of creativity as well as respect the political norms of the society, and the amateurs don’t usually follow the ‘normal’ process. As I stated above using journalism as an example there is a clash between citizen journalism and media companies as the public barely abide by the laws and ethics of journalism. Memes are also a great example showcasing how remediated contents spark a revolution within the digital era. Memes form an integral part of the Web 2.0.

      Responding to your question of how far would a brand or any organization go to employ an amateur with who do not possess a digital tidiness.
      Well, this is where freelancing plays an important role on Web 2.0, there are sites such as skillshare where an amateur can learn the basics but also in-depth aspects of content creation. As they become a freelancer, they use social media platforms to promote their portfolio and use attention economy to their advantage to gain popularity towards their created contents. Brand are actively looking for such accounts where they can also gain popularity by using freelancers as a medium for promotion.
      There are sites such as Fiverr where amateurs post sample of their work and companies actually pay them to produce contents for them.

      I hope that my insights were helpful
      Let me know what you think

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