Universal Authorship

Nearly universal literacy is a defining characteristic of today’s modern civilization. Nearly universal authorship will shape tomorrow's.

Nearly everyone reads. Soon, nearly everyone will publish.

Before 1455, books were handwritten, and it took a scribe a year to produce a Bible. Today, it takes only a minute to send a tweet or update a blog.

Rates of authorship are increasing by historic orders of magnitude.

Nearly universal authorship, like universal literacy before it, stands to reshape society by hastening the flow of information and making individuals more influential.
These are thoughts that come from both a research report and analysis from Seed magazine's "A Writing Revolution."  I discovered it on blogs like one by The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan whose post reposted the chart below:

chart via SEED

In that Seed article, they say:
By 2000, there were 1 million book authors per year. One million authors is a lot, but they are only a tiny fraction, 0.01 percent, of the nearly 7 billion people on Earth. Since 1400, book authorship has grown nearly tenfold in each century. Currently, authorship, including books and new media, is growing nearly tenfold each year. That’s 100 times faster. Authors, once a select minority, will soon be a majority.
What does it mean to be a "published author" in this digital world they are describing?
In our analysis, we considered an author’s text “published” if 100 or more people read it. (Reaching 100 people may seem inconsequential, but new-media messages are often re-broadcast by recipients, and then by their recipients, and so on. In this way, a message can “go viral,” reaching millions.)
Do I agree with their analysis? Yes and No. Like Nick Carbone, I question the leap in their example of United Airlines refusing to reimburse a musician for damaging his guitar, and that customer subsequently posting a song online called "United Breaks Guitars” as being the reason that "United’s stock dropped 10 percent."

This blogger also is not totally convinced. Maybe someone needs to examine their sources and methodology.

But, in general, I am with Seed on the idea of a radically changing authorship model that gives a much larger number of people the means to become published authors and actually have a readership that lends some authority to their writing.


Trackback specific URI for this entry


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.
BBCode format allowed
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.
To leave a comment you must approve it via e-mail, which will be sent to your address after submission.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.