One of the most perceptive regulars in #FutureChat, The FutureBook digital publishing community’s weekly live discussion, is Carla Douglas of BeyondPaperEditing.com in Kingston, Ontario.
And in a recent doing of the discussion, Douglas pointed out that writing, while once among the most isolated and solitary of careers has been made one of the most social by digital communication.
Douglas is always more graceful than I am in these insights of hers.
My iteration of her comment would be that the imperatives of self-promotion through social media — that inexorable drive to be communal, communal, communal about every last thing — simply has blown the roof off the artist’s garret and left us unable to make a single sausage unobserved.
[pullquote]Something about the enabling force of the digital dynamic is causing us to want to expose our guts to all comers. Something about instantaneous global communication (my tweet is faster than your tweet) is making us tell all, confess all, reveal all.[/pullquote]
We just can’t shut up. Yakking is the chronic condition, and we seem to be incurable.
Look, I do honor and cheer the mighty millions of Wattpad who seem to want to “share” (boy, am I sick of that word) their every written word with every last human being who will look at it on any minute of every day. Me, I have no need to crowd-source my damned grocery list, but if they want to be sure that broccoli and sprouts have the approval of their peers, then, by God, I want them to have that approval.
But grocery lists will never be the same. No, let me rephrase that: grocery lists will be the same. And that’s the problem with all this.
Homogeneity — in the overused name of “diversity,” no less — is impossible to avoid when the trend-tracked hive-mind of “shared” creativity becomes life-by-committee and expression by critique group.
And I regret it.
That’s my provocation for you today. I’m not saying that you should stop or change anything you’re doing. It’s not as if you or I can stop or change anything the culture (a term used so loosely) is doing. And doing. And doing. Good God, we are doing so much. So much.
No, do carry on. You must. We must.
But I’m here today to say that even as we hurtle forward on this industry-wide crash course in the digital dynamo, I’m glad I didn’t have to see Emily Dickinson conduct #PoetryChat every Friday at 11 a.m. Eastern.