Written expression has changed dramatically in the last fifteen years, bringing the world of authoring and publishing into a new era. Electronic versions of periodicals and books can now be found online and publishing can be an individual effort, with the simple click of a mouse.
Enter the ‘blog.’ In December, 1997, Jorn Barger, started Robot Wisdom, a website devoted to sharing annotated hyperlinks to other sites on the Web (Siles, 2012). This computer programmer referred to his new project as a ‘weblog’ or “a daily running log of the best webpages I visit” (Siles, 2012). In his first post, Barger reflected on information he had found online about gangs in Chicago and linked to several other web resources. Barger encouraged other people to do the same. By 1999, weblogs (or blogs) caught the attention of mainstream media organizations and were recognized as a type of website with a specific set of features (Siles, 2012).
Image Credit: Duncan Green / worldbank.org
According to many, blogging — albeit a form of writing — is a social and gratifying activity. Bloggers in the 90’s used software (i.e. Frontier) to create posts on their own hosted domains (Siles, 2012). Now, we have WordPress, Blogger, and more, providing the common user with free web space and the opportunity to instantaneously share with the world. This new technology changes historical ideas on literary, cultural, and intellectual exchange. Publishing has become, ‘so easy, a caveman can do it.’
But publishing is not just about writing, it is about delivering the entire experience. In the past, artists often created custom illustrations for books while designers created high resolution graphics for print media. Current technology allows skilled designers to create vector graphics, which can be reused to create new works. Graphic images can even be added by authors themselves or purchased pre-made from a selection of stock images. Whether the graphical pieces are added simply or custom, the graphics have a much farther reach, immersing the reader in rich content. Artists and designers largely influence the connection between cultural values, feelings, beliefs, and practices.
It is no surprise to most people, that internet publishing (i.e. blogs, e-articles, e-books) are on the rise. But what about print books? The future of the print book is complicated. According to publishing consultant Joe Esposito, “What you now have is a situation where the various venues for buying print are disappearing because they can no longer make money. Independent bookstores are closing and there is consolidation in the wholesale sector for books. E-books have become both mainstream and big business” (Herther, 2012).
Oxford University Press Canada’s President, David Stover (above), expresses that nothing will ever fully replace print books. My opinion? Unless society finds that we cannot, in fact, tame the vast world and possibilities of the internet, print books will eventually become a thing of the past. After all, technology continues to evolve and if for nothing else, print books are a waste of natural resources! As for blogging and our social sharing? Full speed ahead — it will be interesting to see where society finally draws the limit.
Herther, N. K. (2012). Future publishing. Searcher, 20(2), 13-17,49-54. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/927748874?accountid=13158
Siles, I. (2012, 08). “The rise of blogging: Articulation as a dynamic of technological stabilization”. New media & society (1461-4448), 14 (5), p. 781. DOI: 10.1177/1461444811425222