Dr Tanya has shared this quote for Blogging Insights this week and asks for our thoughts.
“The Internet destroyed most of the barriers to publication. The cost of being a publisher dropped to almost zero with two interesting immediate results: anybody can publish, and more importantly, you can publish whatever you want.”Dick Costolo
Well, yes, this is true. The internet has made it possible for anyone with access to it to publish their thoughts and ideas. Of course, it is not totally inclusive. There are people in many parts of the world who don’t have access to the internet. What about them? Are their thoughts less valuable or interesting? Of course not.
We now have a huge quantity of information to sift through and this is both good and bad, I think. It is good for readers because from an entertainment point of view there is more choice. There are so many online journals and magazines, websites, forums and so on that whatever your field of interest you will be bound to find something to read. If you are a writer, it is a way that you can quickly and easily publish your work and make it available to many people without the trouble and expense of trying to publish a book.
So, what is the downside to this? Quality is the biggest loser. Some of us self-edit harshly but most people, I know I am one, love their words and find it hard to throw them away. As a result, a lot of material that is published on the internet could be better than it is.
Isaac Asimov, who was a very prolific author, often used to write forewords to his stories explaining how he wrote them and got them published. Frequently he would write about a story being rejected, sometimes on multiple occasions. He would often have to rewrite a book to suit the publisher and he usually felt that he ended up with a better story in the process. Sometimes he recognised that the story was just bad and no amount of editing was going to fix it.
Most of the blogs that I read are written by people who have a good grasp of spelling and grammar, who do their research and can make their points clearly. However, that is not the case for everything you read on the internet.
Censorship is a tricky subject. I do believe that people should have the freedom to express their thoughts and ideas but what about if what they are writing is badly researched, full of errors or hatred? As many people will believe what they read without checking the facts there is more misinformation going around than ever before. There are more opportunities to incite hatred and violence when it is so easy to reach a large number of people at little or no cost.
On the whole though I do think that the internet has been a positive thing for writers. It has allowed ordinary people like me to communicate with people in a way that I would never have thought possible before. It allows like-minded citizens to find each other which can be both good and bad but, in my case, I feel it is good.