Sunday, November 29, 2009

Writing in a digital future

As a dyslexic author, I have a somewhat conflicted relationship with the written word. Most authors and publishers are quick to say that people will never give up books and reading. And whilst I do believe that is true, I am convinced that other modes of creative expression and information transfer will grow in significance.

In our pre-literate past dyslexics were not disabled. And in a future where recorded image and sound are given more weight, our present sense of disability will recede. Indeed, I believe this is already happening.

Imagine that I wanted to find out what it would take to install solar panels on the roof of my house. Twenty years ago, I’d probably have headed off to the library to find a book on the subject. Ten years ago, I might well have searched the Internet for an article to read. Today, I’d go to straight to YouTube or Vimeo and find a video tutorial.

We live, as they say, in interesting times. None of us know how writing and digital media will develop in the coming decades. But change is happening. Change is accelerating.

Hang on to your hats.

(Irony warning – yes, I have noticed that this article comes to you via the very medium that I appear to be dissing. No need to point it out.)

1 comment:

siobsi said...

I think you are so right Rod. I do believe that written fiction - for instance the form of novels - will change profoundly in response to all this hyper-talk. And how can that not be when we're reading it off e-books, pdf files and webscreens? I'm kind of excited to see how new forms will emerge. The blog and even tweets will surely be somewhere in the alchemic brew of this new word art.