Monday, October 6, 2014

Living In An Age Of Digital Disruption

Are we living in an age of digital disruption? An ebooks LinkedIn discussion this past weekend centered on the Authors Guild meeting with the Department of Justice seeking an investigation of Amazon’s business practices.

As I wrote on this blog last week, cries among “literary lions” and others with a vested and established interest in traditional publishing claim that Amazon borders on creating a monopoly in the ebook market.

Yesterday as I trolled The New York Times, I found the paper's public editor, Margaret Sullivan, putting the controversy into context in this article: Publishing Battle Should Be Covered Not Joined.

Sullivan writes: "It’s important to remember that this is a tale of digital disruption, not good and evil." 

Then I saw this article in SayDaily on the "democratization of content."

"The One Percent Rule of Internet culture goes something like this: One percent of users in any given community actively create new content, while the other 99% only view it. But on the new social-mobile Web, everyone is a creator."

Yes, anyone can create a book, publish a blog, “tell their brand stories and market their content.” Thanks to pro-level digital tools like Smartphones and mobile apps, non-professionals have at their fingertips tools to make professional-looking visual content.


While I love blogging and was recently cited by bestselling author, Madeline Sharples as having one of her favorite blogs, I often feel the pressure to come up with a more digitally savvy blog. 

This blog/website is set up much like the old-fashioned magazine. It offers written content in the form of an essay or journalistic Q and A. No videos here, no bells and whistles, nor have I hired a professional webmaster.

I’m comfortable and at home with the simplicity of the written word, and the photographs that enhance the commentary, not just my own, but the other wonderful bloggers and writers featured here.

That’s not to disparage all the great new tools out there, but the learning curve, the investment in time and money, just isn’t there for me, at least not now.

Interestingly, at a recent Constant Contact workshop I attended on email marketing, we heard that the fastest growing segment of people using Facebook and Twitter are over 60 years old. 

My own sons, their friends and other Millennials I've talked to, deride Facebook. They don’t have much interest in it or Twitter since they have no business to promote and no grandkids to show off. Or maybe they're just turned off by all of it.

Which gets back to the idea that Sullivan is right. We are living through an age of “digital disruption.” It is changing and upending everything from how we go about branding and marketing ourselves “just as regular people” to publishing and selling ebooks. And for better or worse, it’s here to stay.

It’s a choice now whether to accept it and move forward or continue mourning over a way of life that is no more.

Are we living in an age of digital disruption? Your thoughts on the digital world and its impact on writing and publishing are most welcomed.

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