This opinion-editorial argues for the positive developments of online publishing.
|The Advent of Online Publishing|
“Conversation is an art in which a man has all mankind for his competitors, for it is that which all are practicing every day while they live.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
However, all of mankind does not equally compete. Some have louder voices than others: writers. Traditionally, to be a “writer,” one would need to have published material, such as a novel, script, or article in a magazine. Those that publish their writing are read and heard by others, and consequently contribute more to the conversation. However, all this is changing with the phenomenon of the Internet, which provides a forum for anyone to write publicly. Online publishing is a positive development, expanding the “conversation” to anyone who wishes to participate.
First, online publishing gives more people than ever a chance for their voice to be heard. In the past, a person would have to be a trained writer with a good editor in order to be published. Even those who considered themselves professional writers could have a hard time getting their material published in print. However, the Internet allows for publishing without the need to print the writing. Because virtually no resources are needed to publish material in the cyberworld, publishers are more lenient in determining which writers get published and which don’t. Furthermore, the Internet has led to the rise of more publishing companies, such as NCoW and thisibelieve.org. This is due to the minimal cost of online publishing as compared to the publishing of printed materials. Nontraditional publishers have risen as well, such as Facebook and blog sites. On web sites such as Facebook, anyone can create an account and make their writing public. On blog sites, writers publish their own writing, and can create daily columns which many times accumulate a large reader base. Another major advantage of nontraditional publishers is the immediacy of the publishing. When a piece of writing is published on printed material, it must be edited, approved, and sent to the printing press, taking months or even years. Conversely, when a piece of writing is published online, in some cases it can literally be published the instant it is written. The immediacy of publication, in addition to the ease, has led online publishing to grow exponentially.
What’s more, it has immensely increased the availability of reading materials to readers. Internet users have access to publications that would be nearly impossible to retrieve were they only available in printed form. It diminishes geographical barriers, allowing people to access materials from other countries and continents. This directly increases the amount of material available to read. A reader is no longer confined to shelves of his or her local library or bookstore. Online publishing has also increased the speed of research. Many established encyclopedias and dictionaries have made themselves available online. Rather than perusing through volumes upon volumes of encyclopedias and the like, an Internet user merely has to type in a search word, and is instantaneously presented with a multitude of information on that subject. Another positive aspect of online publishing is its power to connect people. Web sites such as Facebook allow people to publish poems, “Top 25 Things About Myself,” and the like. Never before has there been such an accessible way to publicly publish oneself. Such opportunity can only serve to foster creativity.
In addition to encouraging creativity, online publishing expands the capacity to obtain new knowledge. It does so by creating easy and immediate publication, an increased volume of reading material, and an easy way to connect with others. The benefits of this new phenomenon are too rich to be overlooked. Everyone should take part in the multitude of ways available in the new culture of online publishing. We may not all be Emersons, but at least we can all compete in the art of conversation.