Just the other night there was an episode of the documentary program Frontline about the new digital age. The experts postulated about whether we were better or worse off for our ultra-connectivity in this time of instant email, instant internet, instant everything. One such expert said we’re all about instant gratification, whether it be access to music, videos, emails, etc. I admit I’m probably one of those people the guy was talking about. I get to work and immediately log onto the internet and pull up my work email, my writer email, my facebook, and my spotify music. All day long I multi-task between all of those and I like it that way. When I get home I sometimes feel lost without the umbilical of access to the rest of the world.
The part of the Frontline episode that interested me most was the part when they were talking about how much we read. The experts say we’re reading less. Kids (specifically college students) don’t have time to read their assignments. They use the internet to cut corners, access “Cliff’s Notes” synopses of the material they’re supposed to be studying. They’re too busy multi-tasking to really read.
It occurred to me that this was a very narrow observation. I mean, what were the hottest buys for Christmas last year? Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers. People are sucking up e-books at an enormous rate and obviously those people are buying those books for a reason. For me, my Kindle has resurged my interest in reading. I can carry it almost anywhere and it gives me access to any number of books at my disposal.
This week I also read an article by a traditionally published author who basically suggested that e-books were trashy stories; that people like to access them on e-readers so no one will know what they’re reading. Part of her argument was that people used to purchase books as status symbols – in other words so that people could admire their bookshelves and see how erudite they are.
Really? Is that why people buy books? But even more than that, isn’t she missing a huge part of the e-book world? Social networking has a tremendous part to play in the success of e-books. When I click to purchase a book on Amazon I can tweet or facebook about my purchase. When I’ve finished my e-book I can click the link to tweet or facebook that I enjoyed it – or didn’t. A very small circle of people know what books are on the shelf here in my house – hundreds and maybe even thousands know about the ones I’ve tweeted and facebooked about.
I’m sure there are any number of reasons for people to worry about technology today. That’s the way of change. We always fear it on some level. Still, I can say unequivocally that I’ve benefited by a good many of those changes. Without them, I might never have become a published novelist and certainly wouldn’t have the honor of guesting on this blog today.
Find Olivia’s books:
Witch Way Bends is Available at Amazon
Bitten Shame is Available at Amazon ~~ Barnes & Noble ~~~ Smashwords
You can also get autographed paperbacks of both books from Olivia’s blog.
Olivia Hardin realized early on how strange she was to have complete movie-like character dreams as a child. Eventually she began putting those vivid dreams to paper and was rarely without her spiral notebooks full of those mental ramblings. Her forgotten vision of becoming an author was realized when she connected with a group of amazingly talented and fabulous writers who gave her lots of direction and encouragement. With a little extra push from family and friends, she hunkered down to get lost in the words. She’s also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and is sometimes accused of being artistic, though she’s generally too much of a perfectionist to appreciate her own work. A nativeTexasgirl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband Danny and their puppy Bonnie.
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