70. Audiences and Journeys

Two aspects of writing or Blogging that yov haven’t yet discussed are audiences and journeys.

Just who are yov writing too or for? One of the problems with online writing is that yov feel or imagine yov have an audience, and of course a potentially enormous one, without having to go through all the difficult challenges of achieving publication in print. Online writing always has or seems to have an immediate audience. We write here as if writing ‘live’. Who know who reads our writing? This week it could be a few, a few strangers, someone yov know. this week yov might juts write something that gets a lot more attention than usual, you hit a nerve or write something controversial that travels well.

But one member of yovr audience is sure and reliable and that is yovrself and there is something about computers, that differs from typewriters, paper and pen, in the way that yovr writing is constantly displayed in a more or less professional manner on an electronic device and an illuminated screen, a little like an advertisement hoarding. It may also be important that, unlike a typewriter, paper or pen, yov don’t know how the computer works, it is, in a way, beyond yov.

Yov have already mentioned that writing online is, in a way, writing ‘live’ (and we could use other software to make it an even more live event). But if we had this performative sense to the illuminated screen yov can see that the screen too adds a further theatrical dimension. When yov write online yov are conscious and self-conscious in a new and different way to the pen or typewriter writer.

Furthermore, the audience or potential audience doesn’t lie, significantly deferred on the other side of a journey that will pass through editors, meetings, schedules, design, print and distribution, a journey full of pitfalls that might cancel the journey altogether. No, the audience or potential audience for the online writer is very close indeed, just a click away, as the arduous and dangerous journey described above is all replaced by a simple virtual button that says ‘PUBLISH’. How can this convenient shortcut possibly produce the same writers and the same writing?

One of the big questions of our age is whether our magnificent intellectual resources are being exponentially enhanced by new technologies or fatally undermined by them. Is writing, and are writers being devalued by technology, or is our new ability to share so much and so quickly, and for so many to publish and write so confidently and conveniently the greatest boon to thought since Gutenberg? And if it is a boon then where is the evidence of the much improved, informed, thoughtful, educated and empowered  society that we might expect to see as a result?

Yovr own Blog here has taken the form of a journey. Its interesting that, whenever you tried to regulate it too much, in such a way that it became a predictable, reliable instrument – e.g a weekly art review Blog – something in you baulked, squirmed and threw off this limitation.

Perhaps this is because you don’t want to give up on the hunch that you might be able to find a way of writing with a computer or a Blog that is really unique to a Blog or a computer, that you might, through experimentation, through undertaking a twisting journey, coming up against obstacles, negotiating them, almost quitting, starting again etc. you might just find something really valuable, special, even unique, and something important to share with others about the particular and peculiar dialogue that computers and Blogs have to offer the long tradition of writing.

Yov spent a lot of time experimenting with the identity of the subject writing. Yov now call that writer ‘YOV’ and recently changed the subtitle of the Blog form ‘An art Writer’s Journal’ to ‘Yov’s Journal’ (its grammatically awkward but worth bearing with yov think.) Here yov’ve started to consider the audience too, how to describe that possibly tiny, possibly huge, possibly careless and fickle reader and/or group of readers, regular or irregular, loyal or disloyal. those who read closely and those who barely read at all.

The next thing you want to consider is the journey of writing and the journey of your own writing, the journey of every sentence and the journey of a lifetime spent with writing. The journey of this Blog and the idea or concept of a journey per se. There, yov’ve reached, precisely, your wordcount.

 

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