Over at Print Is Dead, Jeffrey Gomez has posted a report from this week’s O’Reilly Tools of Change confab NYC. Depending on how devoted you are to the idea of the solitary writer/reader, you will find it either bracing or alarming.
According to Gomez, one panelist, Stephen Abram, talked about how Wiki-style creation (context, in other words) has displaced the idea of content. Another, Douglas Rushkoff, took it a step further:
Rushkoff’s idea is that the main point of content is to offer people the opportunity to socialize. And it’s that socializing, or socialization, that’s the real point; it’s the contact that’s important, not the content in and of itself. He summed up his point by saying that “Content is an excuse for people to interact.”
Wow. So why do I feel so wonderfully alone when I write? Isn’t that necessary, at least to a certain kind of (grad-jive alert here) “literary production”? If I just wanted to socialize, I’d throw a dinner party. Then again, unless you’re Emily Dickinson (and maybe not even then), a writer wants some answer back from the vasty deep (or the frozen expanse of cyberspace).