Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The world wide web is really quite amazing. An understatement, yes, and I'm about 10 years behind schedule in saying so but, dangit, it's true. Let ye ol' vent session begin, thusly and swift, and hopefully, to the point!
Today, I Googled my daughter's name, wondering if there are any other girls named Clarashea out there nowadays, and lo' and behol' - I get a USA Today link to a movie review I wrote about Narnia! That was surprising, kind of neat, and mostly weird. I'm a fan of CSP and these past years have enjoyed writing a thought or two for the site, and now I find my daughter's name in print all over the world ... and other sites are picking up on it off this very site! Cool!
So many new writers today are concerned about how to get published. I googled that the other day and wound up in my backyard of Fargo, ND, where a fella over there says, "Wanna get published? Go to myspace.com." His point: we're in a new world and publishing is nothing more than having your work read. I suppose that's true. Yet, I'm sure the vast majority of writers today are not exactly looking to see their names in a Google search. Rather, they're looking to sell a screenplay or to win a Tony or Pulitzer. Mostly, it's safe to say they just want to get paid for doing what they love. I would be one of the latter! Yet, the road to get there can, and usually will, be a long one.
Publishing on the world wide web seems like a step in the right direction. Still, the other day a fella writes me an email saying my article on Verbal Poop was disgusting, and could possibly keep potential new clients away from me -- far, far away (for I run an old shoppe de marketing and media services: www.comm-corps.com). He referenced my reference to "tap-dancing around the truth for money" and "mine most fear'd, yet commonly requested bequest" from so many a former client: "Tap-Dance now fool -- tap like there's no tomorrow if ye want ye paycheck!" Also, he said poop was not a pleasant thing to think about. True he was.
He wrote of a hypothetic situation where a potential client of mine, perhaps Googling (which at this late hour sounds sort of sexy for some reason) and seeing my description of said hog-washing verbal techniques and how that might offend that hypothetical potential client, or right out convincing him or her that I could be that very same "tap-dancer" of whom I speak, who might just tell you whatever you want to hear for money. He opened my mind. I had never thought of my work in such terms, and became suddenly very elated I had very recently hesitated in posting pictures of myself nude whilst doing laundry and singing Billy Joel songs.
You see, one night, after a client basically told me I needed to "tell him what he wanted to hear if I wanted to get paid," I came home and wrote said article. Never did I think a reader might infer that I was condoning tap-dancing. In fact, I meant to draw out how I hate that type of thing, and rather try to be the type who might -- even when the truth hurts -- tell it. And, yes, that often requires an occasional "fine, you're the boss--I'm just letting you know what I WOULD DO." So what? I'm human. That possibility of misinterpretation did make this writer think twice, nay, three times before the dawn hour.
Have you ever had someone say, "Maybe I misinterpreted the tone of that email?" Emails are a terrible way to tell someone how you feel. Voice to voice is much better. For example ALL CAPS to some means yelling, but to my dumb way of thinking I use them to emphasize words, forgetting it might mean something else to someone else. (editor's note: I'm the internet-savvy dude who cleans most of that stuff up ;-) So, one night, I was thinking of situations where people say not what they mean when wanting to get paid... and, hence, out did come this article I did write on human excrement. Verbal Poop was it thusly dubbed and, thanks to one Sir David J. Nett the 11th, I was "published."
Hooray! Wait -- or, nay, perhaps, perchance, "Boo?"
True it is, I was both showered with hoorahs and hoorDONT'S for the duration of said article's shelf-live, even contacted by one old friend of mine saying "hello" after she Googled me that day. She liked the article and was happy also to hear I was a daddy now! That was a wonderful reunion, and all because ... published was I! Yet, for the better? I would contend, through thick and thin ...yes!
However, as my friend's email kindly reminded, my words (chosen one night when venting to mine spouse settled not my angry state, but typed-out on artificial electric paper set in an odd looking man-made box which tells me "I have mail" in the basement of my house and sent to David J. before editing myself did make me feel better) may have, true to my friends advice, tainted the opinions of those who might have hired me in the future had not I words of waste-related similes made one night and published on CSP.
The question then becomes, "what price do we pay to use this thing called the web and how cherished shall it become in the future?" Will it be novel in 20 years or made a mockery of in retro films starring the offspring of the Dukes of Hazzard movie cast? Will the internet be a tool of mass communication for business, pleasure and necessity? Or will it be what the 405 freeway at the 101 have become for "getting someplace quick in Los Angeles" today? Will it be the gateway to any information you need or will it become what crack cocaine is to a speed junkie: just another quick fix that will require one more hit and in the end and perhaps disease and a bad twitch?
I contend, for the 3rd or 4th time now, that,for now it is a masterful, glorious, bizarre, complex, amazing and quite disturbing place where I, for one, will be more careful, precise and concise ... and yet remain liberated, knowing that my little voice, sitting here in Minot, in this summer of 2006, might be heard, if for only a brief click.