Research article
Issue: № 1 (55), 2017

 Почкай Е.П.

ORCID: 0000-0002-2053-9148, Кандидат филологических наук, доцент, Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет



На сегодняшний день любительская интернет-журналистика в полной мере институирована как часть информационного пространства наряду с системой профессиональной журналистики, ее роль в информационном сопровождении действительности постоянно растет. В статье рассматриваются мотивы обращения пользователей Интернета к любительской журналистской деятельности. В качестве стержневого рассматривается такой мотив, как стремление к самореализации. Выделяются также такие категории синонимического ряда  как самоутверждение, самообозначение, самопредъявление, самопрезентация,  которые все вместе и каждая по-своему вовлекают автора-любителя  в процесс создания медийного продукта.

Ключевые слова: любительская журналистика, хобби, социальная активность, самореализация, самоутверждение, самообозначение, самопрезентация.

Pochkay Е.P.

ORCID: 0000-0002-2053-9148, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Saint-Petersburg State University



Nowadays, dilettante online journalism is completely institutionalized as a part of the information space, along with the professional journalism system, and its role in the reality’s media support constantly grows. The article examines the motives which make Internet users turn to the dilettante journalism. Desire for self-actualization is considered as the key motive. Self-affirmation, self-designation, self-presentation categories are outlined, which all together and each in its own way involve a nonprofessional author in the process of creating a media product.

Keywords: dilettante journalism, hobby, social activity, self-actualization, self-affirmation , self-designation, self-presentation.

Not only dilettante journalism accompanied professional journalism since its appearance, but in general from the beginning journalism was dilettante. It happened gradually, step by step that dilettante journalism, or, in other words, civil communication has evolved into the professional journalism [1]. Dilettante journalism could not be considered as an independent phenomenon until the advent of the Internet. After the Internet appeared, it became possible to regard dilettante journalism as an independent and parallel field producing information, with its own rules, methods and manner of work.

The definition of dilettante journalism is an important factor in the understanding of this phenomenon. There are various names for this phenomenon in the scientific literature, for example: new media, online journalism, social media and citizen journalism. And it's not the end of the synonyms list; the following names could be added: public journalism, alternative journalism, media-2, WEB 2.0 and even self-made media. English name to describe this phenomenon is media maker, the person who creates the media without setting themselves up as a professional journalist.

Any definition brings connotations, sometimes altering the basic characteristics of the designated word. Regarding the definition of dilettante, originally chosen for the article, we believe that if to ignore some connotations (unprofessionalism and free-of-charge basis), the essential characteristic of this phenomenon – the dilettante hobby, journalism as a hobby – would be defined in the end. Hobby is something that reaches the soul.  The desire to be yourself, this inaccessible need, is actualized through a hobby. It is no coincidence that psychologists call hobbies the “Alladin” of the desires. Hobby is people’s free world where they find a complete freedom of their ego, sincerity of their true desires and no limits for creative expression. This need for a hobby (as a symbol of freedom and creativity) is one of the most attractive and strong needs[10].

The desire for self-actualization is admitted by scientists as the main motive for starting hobby activities, especially, creative ones. The difficulty of this phenomenon study is that such category as self-realization, on the one hand, is characterized by a large number of determinations [13] and, on the other hand, has a large number of synonyms. In our case, along with the stated category, we will consider such motivations of dilettante journalism as desire for self-affirmation and self-designation.

Among the many definitions of self-actualization, we have chosen the most general one: self-actualization is revealing by a person of their abilities (talents) and their development in some particular activity. Such definition allows us to identify those connotations that we can determine in different synonyms of the self-actualization category.

Self-actualization intention in terms of dilettante journalism usually includes two motives: self-actualization of creative abilities and realization of the desire to use these abilities in a certain direction. By the way, the latter distinguishes dilettantes from professionals who work as assigned by their editors. For this reason, many journalists become freelancers to develop their favorite topics for different editorial teams.

Dilettante journalism can cover different spheres of life. For example, one of these spheres is related to professions. An online producer, the author of Runetologiya program Maxim Spiridonov in his interview with one of the creators of the collective blogs Jovan Savovich emphasizes the need to focus on the people who know the topic better than anyone else. According to him, in the future, in the media, issues and topics will be revealed by those who understand them and want to open them to other people and not by journalists who do it for work [7]. Texts of such authors now cover numerous thematic pages in social networks, purpose-designed dilettante websites Habrhabr (information technology), Koliosa (website for automobilists), Vinsky’s Website (website for tourists). In terms of facts abundance and details of reporting, as well as verification features content these websites are sometimes better than works of many journalists writing on the same topic on the instructions of the editors.

The next sphere which dilettante journalism covers is social area, our everyday reality. Authors who have proactive attitude in this area of life start their journalism activity on the principle of "I cannot remain silent". This honorable principle is the basis of so-called citizen journalism (in two of its meanings at the same time: civic journalism and citizen journalism) [9]. The first meaning refers to the author's desire to connect to the solution of today's social problems. The second definition emphasizes the fact that it is not professional journalists who are engaged to journalism but citizens.

The question of self-actualization of social activity arises here. Materials of active citizens can be diverse as well as sites for their placement, such as thematic pages in social networks (All-Russian Parent’sresistance), blogs articles, comments, opinions, statements in non-professional news aggregators (Media 2), performances on civil journalism websites (Kursk website of informal journalists Citizen journalism, Tyumen website Golosa.info, web information-analytical publishing Free journalist), conduct of activists of various social movements. For example, the movement The piggies are against (Хрюши против) objects to bad quality service in stores and markets. Every performance of The piggys is filmed and then posted on the Internet. The same approach is used by the movement StopHam (СтопХам) arguing against violations of the traffic laws by drivers. This movement has been repeatedly criticized, up to the pretrial proceedings for misconduct against violators.

The story of the StopHam movement, as well as an aggressive and rude behavior of activists of another scandalous movement The lion is against (Лев против) confronting smoking and drinking alcohol in public illustrate the transformation of the self-actualization motive into self-affirmation desire. Activists of The lion is against are called state hoodlums (гопники) within the Internet [3]. Proneness to conflict, rudeness and permissiveness, though limited by abusing smokers and drinkers only, clearly indicate the desire of the movement activists to increase their self-esteem by humiliating others.

The most common definition of self-affirmation is a person’s intension to have a high assessment of their personality and caused by this intension conduct. Self-affirmation is defined exactly as a man’s conviction that they are worth something, that they possess certain value and that this value is their own ego. If self-actualization is found in the sense of your own competence, self-affirmation appears in the feeling of self-importance [8].

A rigid form of self-affirmation by humiliating others on the Internet is trolling. E. R. Yuzhaninova, a professor of Orenburg State University, calls this phenomenon false self-actualization. She finds it socially and psychologically dangerous and relates it to crimes against the person [13. P.87]. The core of trolling is to write provocative offensive messages inciting conversation partner (or partners) to reply (often in a quite aggressive way). Trolling as a mass phenomenon is a serious problem of the Internet.

The desire for self-affirmation can manifest in milder forms in the dilettante journalism. Such methods of self-affirmation are applied both individually and in groups. Despite being truly attracted to some field of interest, participants are mainly concerned with the opportunity to express themselves and show their socio-cultural activity [5]. Such mild forms of self-affirmation via the Internet information flow are referred to another motive which is desire for self-designation.

In real terms, this manifests in self-presentation on the webpages. Self-presentation can be described as one's readiness to express and present themselves to the others [8, p.69]. Every second, hundreds of people post texts on the Internet in which they describe their thoughts and feelings about current events and themselves hoping for a response. Such Internet sites as Twitter, Pikaboo, Instagram, Periscope and social networking websites (Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook) are full of stories about small life events of users who describe or show them by posting photos or videos. It is no coincidence that the scientists of today conclude that ХХI century has started as the century of self-presentation which turned into a show of global scale and which is regarded by many people as an essential element of self-actualization [2, 12]. Researchers point out that eager enthusiasm for this way of self-affirmation stimulates creativity and puts it on stream. This is especially true for the Internet and other media which have made many ambitious people join – people who want to designate and affirm themselves at the creativity (and most of all, at  various simulations) [6. P.52-53].

Apparently, the majority of self-presentations, as a rule, are made to maintain a self-worth sense, to distinguish one’s personality among others, to call attention, or by the definition of one of the authors of the Orthodox portal Protoinfo, “to stick out” (оттопыриться) [11]. However, in general, online self-presentations have many positive features. Apart from accomplishing creativity functions, they accomplish social ones. Self-designation is not only a part of the communication process [4], but it is also an integration and closer contacting. Nevertheless, what we want to highlight as the main feature is information-cognitive function: a modern world view is reflected in numerous verbal and visual self-presentations as in mirror chips. And it can be affirmed that to some extent, this world view, despite being mosaic, is more complete than the one offered by the professional media.

Psychological motives of journalistic hobby activities – desire for self-actualization, self-affirmation, self-designation – all of them together and each in its own way involve a dilettante author in the process of creating a media product, influence the choice of the Internet site, place of the realization of their set, affecting the quality of a product.

Список литературы / References

  1. Бартелдс В. Гражданская журналистика. Использование приемов гражданской журналистики в профессиональной журналистской деятельности // Press Now, Хильверсум, Нидерланды, 2008 /Перевод с голландского Кузнецовой М. //http://www.studmed.ru/bartelds-v-grazhdanskaya-zhurnalistika_f3e11ff1377.html
  2. Дубских А. И. Современные концепции самопрезентации и ее роль в обществе // научная база данных: «Scientific World» //http://www.sworld.com.ua/konfer29/898.pdf
  3. Ковалев Д. «Лев против»: государственные гопники? // http://kolokolrussia.ru/vlast/lev-protiv-gosudarstvenne-gopniki
  4. Мизгирева М. Ю. Взаимосвязь самоотношения и самопрезентации в интернет-общении у юношей и девушек//Тезисы докладов конференции «Ломоносов  2015» (13-17 апреля 2015): Москва // http://lomonosov-msu.ru/file/uploaded/3000/report/uid82644_report.pdf
  5. Организация творческой деятельности в учреждениях культуры. http://bukvi.ru/obshestvo/kulturologia/organizaciya-tvorcheskoj-deyatelnosti-v-uchrezhdeniyax-kultury.html
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Список литературы на английском языке / References in English 

  1. Bartelds V. Grazhdanskaya zhurnalistika. Ispol'zovanie priyomov grazhdanskoj zhurnalistiki v professional'noj zhurnalistskoj deyatel'nosti [Civic journalism. Using the techniques of citizen journalism in professional journalism] // Press Now, Hilversum, Netherlands, 2008 /Translated from Dutch by Kuznecova M. //http://www.studmed.ru/bartelds-v-grazhdanskaya-zhurnalistika_f3e11ff1377.html [in Russian]
  2. Dubskih A.I. Sovremennye koncepcii samoprezentacii i yeyo rol' v obshchestve [Modern concepts of self-presentation and its role in society] // nauchnaya baza dannyh:“Scientific World”[Scientific database: “Scientific World”]//http://www.sworld.com.ua/konfer29/898.pdf [in Russian]
  3. Kovaliov D. «Lev protiv»: gosudarstvennye gopniki? [“The lion is against”: state hoodlums?] //http://kolokolrussia.ru/vlast/lev-protiv-gosudarstvenne-gopniki[in Russian]
  4. Mizgiriova M.Y. Vzaimosvyaz' samootnosheniya i samoprezentacii v internet-obshchenii u yunoshej i devushek [Connection of self-attitude and self-presentation of boys and girls in web communication]//Tezisy dokladov konferencii [Abstracts of the conference] “Lomonosov  2015” (13-17 April 2015): Moscow // http://lomonosov-msu.ru/file/uploaded/3000/report/uid82644_report.pdf[in Russian]
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  13. Yuzhaninova E.R. Internet kak novoe prostranstvo samorealizacii molodyozhi [The Internet as a new space for young people’s self-realization]// Vestnik orenburgskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [Bulletin of Orenburg State University]. Orenburg, №7, 2013.[in Russian]