This afternoon, I was down at The Auburn for an interesting discussion on social media and publishing in the digital age. In attendance were Lynn Coady, JJ Lee and Emma Ruby-Sachs. They talked mostly of Facebook, twitter and blogging, with each offering their opinions on each medium, their future and their effect on the future of publishing.
In a way, I suppose my writing this blog, and my twitting about it when I am finished, makes this post like a song about singing or a movie about making a movie.
As is always the case, everybody has a different take on social media, and often those thoughts are quite different. Some dislike twitter, but love Facebook; others are the exact opposite. Then there are people who embrace every new technology, and those who fight each change with every thing they’ve got. One panellist described these people, saying “they become so angry when the topic comes up, their hands shake and they spit as they proclaim it to be a complete waste of time.”
Myself, I’ve embraced most forms of social media. I enjoy blogging and I think twitter is great, and while I don’t use Facebook very often, I don’t bemoan it. And I think all three panellists seemed to feel the same way, each maybe not be totally on board with every medium, but nor were any of them against certain tools.
I always find this type of discussion gets me thinking about other forms of entertainment or other forms of information. I’m sure this was the same discussion that happened when the printing press was first invented. Surely it will be the end of books as we know them! No longer will there be elaborate and beautiful artwork found in the pages of a book; only printed black, block letters.
And when radio came along, it must have spelt the end of the printed word, for why would anybody read when they could listen. Come to think of it, why would they listen when they could watch, as must have been the thought with the introduction of television. The music industry feared the Internet would be the end of their industry, as people would no longer need to purchase their works, because of napster and Bearshare.
But of course none of these doomsday predictions ever came true, and nor will any predictions of the end of the printed word come true either. Entertainment and information may change, or rather evolve, and the mediums we use may change, but the messages will continue to be enjoyed for centuries to come. That is until they invent the holideck from Star Trek: The Next Generation. With those puppies, we won’t need TV, music, or books, or the Internet. They’re awesome.
Okay…I’m heading downstairs, below The Auburn now, to see tonight showcase featuring Linda Grant, Lev Grossman, Dany Laferriere, Lisa See and Miriam Toews. The same Miriam Toews I was briefly stuck in an elevator with on Tuesday night.
Don’t forget to follow the Official WordFest hashtag on twitter, #wordfest2011