This is a question I plan on spending a few weeks researching because this not only because it fascinates me and relates to my future, but also because it isn’t a simple answer. In this post, I will present two resources, one from each side. However, I plan on spending some time finding out which side is more accurate during the upcoming weeks.
Perhaps, this is not a question of “how much,” but rather, “to what degree” is the publishing industry effected by technology. However, I pose this argument as a matter of how much because on the surface of this issue, on the surface of how much technology has or hasn’t changed altogether, this is a question that comes up first and needs to be addressed, to some degree.
Both articles mentioned a common point, which is that readers now don’t have the patience to sit and read long content. However, “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” claims this is so, and “The Publishing Industry Isn’t Dead — But It Is Evolving,” claims this is false. (For convenience, I will refer to, “Is Google Making Us Stupid” as article 1, and “The Publishing Industry Isn’t Dead — But It Is Evolving” as article 2.) I find it ironic though that Article 1 spends a great amount of time talking about how much Carr, the author, and others quoted in the article, cannot sit and read long content like they used to, meanwhile the article is quite lengthy itself. I myself found it quite tiresome and tedious to get through although the argument is interesting. Now, though, interesting doesn’t always cut it.
Carr advances his article by arguing that the way we read now is a different kind of reading and that “we are not only what we read, we are how we read.” The way reading is done now has changed. And to this point, the author of Article 2, Hyrkin, also agrees. However, he sees this as an advantage.
In Article 2, Hyrkin says that technology has changed much of our world, but the publishing industry is changing with it and doing quite well, too. He says, that on the contrary, people are demanding longer content, and this is due mainly to the ability to take our content on the go on tablets, e-readers, and the like.
The disagreement between the two is natural. It’s based on who they work for and/or what they’re advocating, personal views, or simply a time difference. Nicholas Carr published this article in the summer issue of 2008 in The Atlantic, and Joe Hyrkin published his in June 2014 on The Next Web. This is not to say that technology wasn’t as advanced and involved in our lives in 2008 as it was in 2014; however, the change seems backwards. Article 1, which claims that we don’t want longer content, came out before article 2 with the opposite view. Either we have adapted to the technology and embraced the longer content which for a while we were resisting, or these views are based on different sets of data.
My point is not which one is right (because obviously there’s more than one view on how much technology is affecting the publishing industry), but rather which one is closer to “reality”. There might be data saying that the publishing industry and writers are benefiting from technology and the changes it’s brought, but the majority of the people feel that that’s false. Article 2 suggests that it’s a matter of perception. My question is why is there a gap between the perception that technology is hurting the industry and the “truth”(yet to be proved) that it’s not? Hyrkin writes, “Consumers already have the wherewithal to read long-form content on-the-go, right in the palms of their hands. New research indicates that three in 10 adults read an e-book last year and half own a tablet or e-reader.” My immediate reaction to this statement is that I know a handful, at least, of people who have tablets, kindles, nooks, etc, but don’t use them, and if they do, it’s not for reading. I’m not convinced that our attention span has not been affected by technology constantly in our faces. I do think, though, that there is a balance, and without one, the perceived might never meet reality. This balance comes through in Carr’s idea that we are reading differently rather than less.
This is an endlessly fascinating binary between technology and writing or just artistry in general. As my blog title suggests, could there have been a time (perhaps not so long ago) where artistry “died”? By “died” I specifically mean that now it’s in an “afterlife,” a new stage? Could it have changed in its course, become completely different from what it was before, whether for better or worse, took on a completely new and distinct form? I hope to find clearer beliefs in the next few weeks; I restrain from using the word “answers” because there might not be one answer, one right or wrong, though these articles have definitely wet my appetite for some.