With the introduction of social media into our society, the way people interacted changed. The phrase, "glued to your phone," comes to mind. The dynamics of relationships have shifted as social media has dominated conversations. Needless to say, social media has become an issue for writers, as well. Some cannot stay off of it, which is where isolated programs such as Scrivener come into play. So, if it effects even the production of writing itself, how does this new phenomenon effect the publishing industry as a whole?
For starters, we now have what most call Digital Literature. It has a certain ring to it, don't you think? In fact, this new wave of literature has swept the nation - the world - so quickly that I am already taking a college course on how it is directly effecting the publishing industry. The market, especially. We aren't too far into the course, having only read an article or two, but my curiosity propels me to investigate further.
In an earlier article, I may have touched upon my writerly roots. For a re-cap: I began writing online on a website called Quizzaz (now named Quotev) where people around my age bracket posted stories of varied lengths. I wrote stories, received feedback, posted updates, gained followers... The whole she-bang.
At the time, I was a middle school student with an interest in words, ie. what they could do and how they could make people feel. Looking back now, as a senior in college, my writing was horrifying. However, I noted other, more important aspects in my reflection.
While it opened up a platform for feedback and criticism, there were several detriments. Most writers on the website were young, inexperienced, and wholly satisfied with their current skill level; on this plane, there was hardly room for betterment since the criticism was — often times — laced with positives and pleads for the author to post rather than observations or notes for improvement. Overall, the state of quality for the stories on the website stayed the same with a few notable members rising through the cracks.
Fast forward to today, where dozens of these interactive, writerly websites exist, and I am brought back to the moment where I was — for a lack of better wording — searching through digital slush in order to find a story worth reading, be it from a technical, stylistic, or narrative standpoint.
I had to remind myself — force myself — to only spend my time on the crème de la crème of stories in order to further my skills the way I wished. I am conflicted on how to feel about this, especially in regards to the future of writing and what it means to publish. Amazon has a publishing feature with, essentially, no barriers. This allows anyone computer-literate to publish their work.
Having sifted through enough writerly sludge online, this saddens me. But it also makes me strive to work that much harder to rise through the cracks. So, that's what I encourage you to do, as well. Since this literary evolution - spurned on by technological and societal advancement - is largely out of our control, embrace it. Take it as another opportunity.
Discover what you can do through this new medium and ride the waves of inspiration.
As always, please share your thoughts with us below! How do you feel about the surfacing of digital literature? How does it effect you? And if there is any writerly topic or subject you wish to see discussed, please don't be shy!