I found the essay by Brian Hieggelke, “Everyone’s A Critic: Yelp, Twitter and the end of Western civilization?” the most relevant to some of the discussion in class. I thought this was the best writing in the collection of assigned readings. For the most part this essay reminded me of our discussion pertaining to whether or not old jobs will be saved as new technology renders them unnecessary. In blaming the internet for the demise of old critics in magazines and newspapers, Hieggelke argues that “not only has the perception that its rise means print’s demise gutted newspaper and magazine ad revenues, forcing the draconian budgeting decisions, so has the rise of its new modes of “reviewing”—social-media applications like Twitter and amateur review sites like Yelp at the forefront—led to an increasing notion that old-fashioned criticism has lost its audience and its relevance” (Hieggelke 2010). Hieggelke is suggesting just what we brought up in class: that people are losing jobs as the internet revolution builds more and more momentum. However, I would counter this idea with the fact that as a new medium becomes a bigger market, so then does its potential to create new jobs.

One point Hieggelke brings up that was important to realize was that internet critic websites like Yelp are fundamentally flawed. Because it is not a professional job for people to critique a place no matter the experience, what inevitably happens is “most of us are only inclined to go to the effort to put forth our views when our experience is far outside the mean. That is, when we have an extraordinarily great or, more likely, especially bad experience” (2010). This is very important to remember, especially when most of these sites provide a star rating manifest from the average scoring of its reviewers and thumbs-up, thumb-down-type systems. Hieggelke then mirrors the same idea Stephen had when arguing the validity of a published work versus an internet published book: “The meta-critic is not new on the internet. Why follow a particular critic you like, or have access to via the local paper, when you can get a quick fix on the aggregate opinion of hundreds of critics via sites like Rotten Tomatoes” (2010). I understand the point he is making: why listen to one particular person’s or a small group of person’s opinion, when you have the sum of many average consumers like yourself on the internet? It does seem to make more sense that way.

Overall, I really enjoyed this piece. However, I am no fan of any type of criticism. As an artist, I love to hear feedback and critiques of my work, so that I may possibly make corrections in order for them to really understand my work the way I did (some exceptions of course will always be there). As a consumer, I could give a damn about reviews or what critics say. The one time I really listened to critics was for the movie “Shutter Island.” Even though it was Martin Scorsese’s and DiCaprio’s latest work, I felt compelled to listen to the televised review as I was about to leave to see it. The review was scathing…they basically hated it, and because I was familiar with the people reviewing it, I listened and decided not to see the movie. Turns out I should have listened to my gut because many of my friends who saw it loved the movie. I had always been reluctant to let the taste of one person decide how I would enjoy something, and the one time I listened they let me down. So, I am on neither side of this debate. I’m not even on the fence. I just don’t care.


About Joseph May

I am one semester away from graduating at Sonoma State University with a bachelor's degree in English (education concentration). I am very passionate about music, and am currently the drummer for a band called Open Market. When I'm not playing music with them, I am producing my own stuff with ableton live.
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