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January 04, 2005


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» Long Tails and Open Source from Blogalicious -- Science & Technology & Culture -- Steve Damron's Blog
Sometimes there are soft of whispers you hear in blogland, whispers that might turn into a conversation. Here are two whisp... [Read More]

» Long Tails and Open Source from Blogalicious -- Science & Technology & Culture -- Steve Damron's Blog
Sometimes there are soft of whispers you hear in blogland, whispers that might turn into a conversation. Here are two whisp... [Read More]

» The Long Tail writes: "The distinction between 'professional' producers and 'amateurs' is blurring and may in fact be ultimately irrelevant." from Wagner's Weblog
"We make not just what we're paid to make, but also what we want to make. Both can have value. Once, with high barriers to marketplace entry, only the professional work found an audience. But now those barriers are dropping." Read.... [Read More]

» Pro-Ams from Preoccupations
I blogged about this last November, but it's good to see that the Demos publication ius now getting some wider attention (The Long Tail). To repeat the Demos summary:From astronomy to activism, from surfing to saving lives, Pro-Ams - people [Read More]

» Pro-Am or No-Am? from blahgKarma
I've lived this in Public Safety, albeit many moons ago. The lack of personal availability, folks commuting to jobs, and economics of these businesses and the attendant complexity and liability have certainly caused a transformation away from pure... [Read More]

» Revolution of the ants from Brij Singh's Random Musings
Pankaj points me to the post by Fred Wilson on how everything is opening up and there is a huge democratic force working silently. [Read More]

» Long Tails and Open Source from Blogalicious -- Science & Technology & Culture -- Steve Damron's Blog
Sometimes there are soft of whispers you hear in blogland, whispers that might turn into a conversation. Here are two whisp... [Read More]

» Chasing The Tail Again from Ed Driscoll.com
Technorati, the blog search engine, appears to be functionally normally again, so I just restored it to the sidebar. (Last week, it was causing pages to load very...very...slowly.) As to what the above title means (well, I can think of... [Read More]

» RedMonk's Business Model from James Governor's MonkChips
Tim asked so: We are a service business, primarily. We consult with vendors and users on their problems using open intellectual property models where appropriate. We help large companies like BMC, IBM, MS and Sun to better understand the industry... [Read More]

» Sunshine Week and the blogosphere from chez Nadezhda

A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps ... [Read More]


Mike G

I agree with what you say and yet even there I think the distinctions are less than they seem at first. Charles Krauthammer (to pick one at random) has a nationally syndicated column and yet I bet he feels he couldn't afford life in DC, that school the kids go to, etc., on his column income alone-- he's glad for the speaker fees, scale for TV appearances, book advances, whatever. And from there you go to somebody like Stanley Bing, who has a steady gig and a big corporate day job which is surely his main source of income; and from there to somebody who has a day job and a less well paying steady gig (but can nevertheless say they're a professional, based on where that gig is), and so on. What's the difference between the professional writers on that continuum and a blogger? They're all patching together a living out of multiple sources and using their writing in multiple areas to advance their names and marketability (and influence and policy positions). Or to put it another way, my first and last book came out eight years ago. Am I still a professional, or am I a pajama-clad nobody commenting in a comments section? Where's the judge who rules on that?

Ultimately, in the Internet era professional journalist is sort of like "professional first-time novelist." We're all amateurs until we have readers, and more professional the more of them we have-- and how we get them is pretty irrelevant.

Joshua Wood


I just wanted to thank you for the link to my blog at long-tail-marketing.blogspot.com.


David Brin's been banging on about this sort of stuff for a while -- there was stuff on the Age of the Amateur in "The Transparent Society" well before the dawn of the blog. Can't see a specific reference, but there's probably a relevant essay or two at his site.
The Demos report, FWIW, was by Charles Leadbetter.

James Governor

it goes further. content owners have NO CHOICE but to get "amateurs" to provide the metadata required to enable long tail models.

for some reason my entry wouldnt trackback but...

"The digitized world will require an awful lot of tending (garden metaphor), categorizing and indexing (library metaphor). Who will do that? Amateurs, professionals or pro-ams. No company is going to be able to afford to hire enough gardeners or librarians to do the work. That is why enterprise haves no choice but to encourage participation. You won't be able to digititize and usefully annotate your own data; there is just too much of it and more being generated all the time. Its like fast food-customers pay restaurants to clean up their own trash after they eat.

Successful business models will be built on seeing us not as consumers but as metadata creators. One term i dont really like but which has some currency in this regard is prosumer."

from Software Development Meets The Long Tail


Someone (wish I could find the exact quote and attribution) once defined being a professional as doing what you love to do, even at those times when you'd rather be doing something else.

Maybe orthogonal to this discussion, but to me amateur means being able to say, "Not today, I'm not in the mood." When you've made the commitment--either to someone else or to your own finances--to deliver some product on a certain schedule, you aren't an amateur any longer.

And yes, I know this means that college basketball players aren't amateurs. Not by any stretch of the imagination...

Doug Stone

The poster child for me in the pro-am arena is the backyard astronomer. With lots of time available to him or her, image processing software, and internet connections to large telescopes and cpu's, these are no longer amateurs. My favorite book on the subject is Tim Ferris' Seeing In the Dark - How backyard astronmers are probing deep space and guarding earth from interplanetary peril. www.timothyferris.com/sid.html

David George

Sorry to comment on this a long time after the event.

I consider myself one of the band of pro-ams. My website covering backcountry skiing in France had around 1.5 million page views over the last 12 months. With Adsense and Affliate Advertising this meant I could work on it full time with a supplement from other writing (by work that means 60 days spent in the mountains - well someone has to do it, sigh). The information is now extensively used by other mainstream media sources trying to understand some high profile incidents in the mountains.

At the same time professional bodies are still taking a hands-off approach although the reality of visitor numbers and a large international audience are beginning to garner interest, even in Old Europe.

Aurelius Tjin

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Very interesting - makes me think during a crossroad for me.
The ability to make "microdollars" from music or programming that may or may not turn into a full time (making a living) pursuit is an amazing power of the Internet. Also being an amateur 'store owner' online.The world of work/leisure is changing.Thanks.

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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

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