Writers seek validation. There’s no way to get around that. And no matter how humble you want to be, you’re going to have to brag about achievements. That’s easy for some of us, especially in a social media-based society where we’re used to telling everyone alive about our day, our mood, and the color of our poop (mine was light brown, just in case you’re curious).
But the plain truth is, nobody likes social media. Sure, we claim to love Facebook and Twitter, but that’s because they’re new toys. They’ll likely be eclipsed by something that’s easier to use, faster, cleaner. Your online presence is nearly impossible to erase, which is something the younger generations will figure out when they go job hunting and have to explain that picture of themselves at a keg party with a strap-on attached to their foreheads.
But more to the point, for the writer it presents both a blessing and a problem. Never before has access to publication come so easily. I can write something and post it, and in a matter of minutes it’s accessible to everyone with a web browser. Writers have tools we’ve never had before, tools that not only express our passion but build our market. It comes with a price though.
We’ve gotten used to instant replies. It’s ingrained in our culture now, and there’s no avoiding it. The older generation of writers could get by answering snail-mail and hiring publicists to handle their online presence. For the rest of us, the world expects Facebook, Twitter, blogs – expects near instant replies to e-mail. Writers of the future won’t have it easy.
Culture change is never easy, but it’s coming, and it’s unavoidable. In the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about the shift the publication industry is facing, and the (potentially) frightening impact it’ll have on the future of the written word. The novel was born in the 17th century. Will it die in the 21st? Only time will tell.