Is the 'net good for writing?

Via Kottke.org I came across this RU Sirius blog post on 10 Zen Monkeys, “Is the Net Good for Writers?” wherein RU (just “R” for short?) asks some writers this question. It’s kind of interesting, I guess, I’ll have to read it more closely later for the BAWS thing, and it might be useful for teaching. But I think the answer is kind of obviously yes. I like how Clay Shirky turned the question; here’s a quote:

Dear Mr. Sirius, I read with some interest your request to comment on whether Herr Gutenberg’s new movable type is good for books and for scribes. I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about the newly capable printing press, and though the invention is just 40 years old, I think we can already see some of the outlines of the coming changes.

First, your question “is it good for books and for scribes?” seems to assume that what is good for one must be good for the other. Granted, this has been true for the last several centuries, but the printing press has a curious property — it reduces the very scarcity of writing that made scribal effort worthwhile, so I would answer that it is great for books and terrible for scribes. Thanks to the printing press, we are going to see more writing, and more kinds of writing, which is wonderful for the reading public, and even creates new incentives for literacy. Because of these improvements, however, the people who made their living from the previous scarcity of books will be sorely discomfited.

Exactly.

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