I was talking with a friend today about the San Francisco Writers Conference and the need for writers to be skilled (or able to afford to hire the skill) to build a website, blog, Tweet, and use Facebook. My friend didn’t think it was fair. Writers shouldn’t need to deal with this stuff.
But are things really worse than in the days before the Web? A few decades ago, a writer needed to be a skilled typist, either that or hire a typist, in order to submit a manuscript. Learning to type on a typewriter must have been tedious. It’s not like a computer, where you can just backspace or move a mouse to correct an error. You needed to avoid them in the first place. That took skill, skill that was a lot less fun to acquire than skill in social media.
Was it any better before the typewriter? I don’t think so. How many people would have the proper penmanship to handcraft an entire manuscript by fountain pen? I certainly don’t. If I had to submit a handwritten manuscript, I wouldn’t stand a chance. Not even with a ball point pen. It was even worse before the fountain pen. Can you imagine writing a manuscript with a quill pen, dipping it in the ink well every few moments, constantly blotting your manuscript to keep it from smearing?
I’ll take the web and social media any day.