Well, things change. The world moves on. Technology has taken over our lives. And so today, the saying should be changed just a wee bit. "If you throw a rock in Jerusalem, chances are you will either hit a writer or a cat."
Everyone I meet these days is a "writer" or an "author". I do not say this with any embedded cynicism by the way. I think self-expression is a very good thing. But recently while I perused the pathways of the Internet, I have come to amend that statement once again.
"If you throw a rock on the Internet, 99% of the time you will hit someone claiming to be a writer. The other 1% of the time your rock will land in a no-man's land."
Recently with a bit of tongue in cheek I talked about the new Internet craze, Facebook. (The Book Will Not Make You Succeed - You Make The Book Succeed). And in truth Facebook is somewhat fascinating, in that gadzillions of people secretly found a way to waste their time by throwing kisses, hugs, booze, cats, balloons, and every object you can possibly think of at each other. They flirt, they take virtual showers together, they talk and they babble. It truly is a fascinating aspect of human culture in our day and age. And every time they do something you get hit with an email!
On Facebook there are groups. Much like the "old technology" of Yahoo groups and Google groups. Anyone, as far as I can tell, can start a group, about any subject under the sun. So of course one should not be surprised that there are quite a few "writing" groups on Facebook as well. Some have already garnered a few thousand members. And what is actually interesting, is that there is no snipping, no foolishness and certainly none of the Absolute idiocy one finds on other writer Absolute writer forum boards these days. Isn't it amazing that when people from all over the world get together, in a decent forum, they can actually deal with the topics at hand?
But back to the point. So these groups allow many of the writers to emerge from the closet as it were. Some of course, make the major boo-boo of posting their work on Facebook itself. Others publish it in their blogs.
But the major lesson is this:
Everyone is becoming an author these days!
To be sure I myself got into trouble when I joined a group whose Administrator had begun it to give some more PR to her own business. I did not realize this at first, however, it is perfectly legitimate to do such things. So when this person started posting about the great possibilities of self-publishing, I posted back a reply not in favor of it. Well I got smacked down! OMG! On Facebook yet! I still cannot figure out if the person is a PR company, or offering her services to be a go-between. One of those people who promises to get you an agent. Is this individual legitimate or just a shell for a scam?
But you know what? Everyone is an author. And no matter how many times we write about scams and such, grown people will often do childish things. Simple as all that. And they are often parted from their hard-earned money.
Back to the point... yet again!
Sites like Facebook (Gather as well) are slowly making inroads into our way of acting, reacting and thinking. It is a very swift exchange of information, and there is certainly an ever-increasing "information overload" going on. The trouble is no one person can cover it all. Trends come and go, but the art of writing certainly is loved and cherished still, if one is to judge by the numbers.
I assume, and this may be a faulty assumption, most of the writing is just for fun though many have professional aspirations. Still if one wants to get a handle on things that interest people today, and write about it, I can think of worse endeavors than to spend a few days looking at Facebook and Gather and studying the actions and reactions of people. You are not going to get famous on Facebook. It wont raise your Google ranking for your name. But it will allow you a peek into the changing world of things.
So when you do your research, go to Gather and Facebook and throw a rock. Make it a light one and don't hurt anyone. But chances are you are going to hit a writer or a would be author. Chances are as well, you will end up wasting an enormous amount of time. But it is better than watching and episode of Law and Order or CSI for the fifth time! And besides, on Facebook if you do publish your latest chapter, you can at least get all your listed friends to read it! Just throw them a hug and a kiss and a balloon!