How to Stop Worrying and Love the New Media
June 12, 2007
The Printers Row Book Fair occurred this past weekend, and I went to pick up some cool new books (there are tons of major book sellers and small presses there, as well the opportunity to shop for rare books) and to listen some of the authors on the program speak.
I picked up a really interesting book called Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times. It’s a collection of essays from young writers (the writers who grew up with the web) and edited by Kevin Smokler, a writer and expert on the future of the technology and the arts (hint: he thinks they’re inextricably intertwined and that that is a good thing).
The cover says: “A collection of all original essays from (and tomorrow’s) young authors on the state of the art – and the art of the hustle – in the age of the information overload.” I had never heard of the book previously, but I had to buy it! Kevin himself wrote an excellent forward about how the internet has altered the publishing world. This book has made me even more optimistic (if that’s even possible) about my future as a writer/blogger/new media maverick.
Back to the book fair -besides being very crowded (thousands of people attend every year), I noticed that the attendees included people of all ages. This pleases me because one of my pet peeves is people who insist that my generation doesn’t read, except for maybe US Weekly.
We do read – maybe not necessarily newspapers (online sources beat print by a mile in my opinion) or even books, but the web – my generation’s main media outlet – is built on words. Yes, there is YouTube, DeviantArt, Flickr, and the many, many music sites, but written content will remain the backbone. And the quality of the content rises all the time – from all the great bloggers and online magazines to the web versions of traditional media like nytimes.com.
What I love is the immediacy of it and how the ease of self-publishing on the web is democratizing the media – and making them accountable by giving consumers almost infinite options. Yes, not everyone can write well, but the the cream will eventually rise to the top, and it’s not like everything in print is quality writing anyways (I think that Harlequin romance novels have got to be the literary equivalent of melodramatic livejournals). Besides, didn’t some people predict that the television would be the death of literature too?