Aw man. I’ve had the stuffing knocked out of me. Have not been feeling well at all. Couple that with work that needs to be done and bills that need to be paid and it’s a bit of an annoying combo. Life is like that sometimes though. You have to take the bad with the good. Plus, there’s nothing like a bit of adversity to highlight just how lucky we are, right? Or how lucky I am. That’s what I meant, really.
Today I did an interview with a bit of a foggy brain. I was talking about something that I don’t talk about much: the legitimacy of writing online vs offline as part of an upcoming event on digital writing (more on that another time!) I’m not sure if I made much sense, but it all got me thinking about some things, and I thought I would ask you what you thought.
The interviewer wondered if digital writing was more widely accepted, more legitimate now than perhaps a few years ago. I think that it is. I think even a year or two ago, people were still talking about online writing as though it was ‘less than’ some other forms.
I don’t think of digital as being any less legitimate that other forms of publishing – but that’s just the view from me.
Certainly the democratisation of publishing – being able to publish online and have it widely read, rather than relying on ‘being published’ has given us writing of varying types to read. My thinking is that good writing usually finds its audience. Yep. But I also think that ‘bad writing’ can find its people too. Sometimes the intention behind the writing is what rises to the top. The palpable feeling behind the words can make it compelling, even if it’s not traditionally ‘good’. I’m okay with that (in case you care!)
I think we’ve seen this intention/convention face-off with grammar and evolving language. Some feel that if your grammar is not spot on, you’re diminishing your work. Others feel that it’s the tone and intent that matters more than ‘the rules’.
Writing online is often judged in a similar way. Some people are okay with intention. Some sticklers for convention. Others see quality/legitimacy somewhere in between.
I also think there’s something going on with experience and legitimacy – for someone like me who’s published thousands of posts over the last eight years – I’ve created my own TINY sub-culture online and have apparently earned my stripes. (I know this because people interview me about this stuff. Also because I get to write books and speak at events and things!) Back in the day, blogging was a new thing. It was meant to fade away like scratch n sniff t-shirts. Except it didn’t and now some bloggers are celebrating ten years or more of this flash-in-the-pan that is writing online. Legit schmidt.
We (luckily) have wonderful information and inspiration from trusty, online sources served up to us for free, in a super timely manner. Medium, Brain Pickings, Science of Us and other great sites are gifting us well written posts on things we want to know right now… RIGHT NOW!
The ability to respond quickly, in a lightly edited or non-edited voice, has been an ace ninja move when it comes to digital writing. It’s so easy to write something and hit publish, making it super-simple to be swiftly relevant.
Don’t get me wrong – I love to smooth the pages of a magazine or newspaper with all my heart too – I’m just saying that digital publishing has speedy moves that analog/print does not.
But wait. At the same time, though, we’re chomping through wonderfully written digitally published work at a rate of knots. I guess that’s a whole other thing. Perhaps the ease of access makes us less likely to value what we read, though? Perhaps that’s where people read in some kind of wavering legitimacy?
Or maybe it’s just the proliferation of allegedly ‘bad’ writing online that’s meant some people consider it less valuable?
I’m really not sure of the answers to those questions, but I do know that some of the best writing I’ve read has been in the digital realm. How about you? What do you think? Is the stuff you read online as legitimate as the stuff you read offline? What do you read more of? What are the strengths of each, do you think?