Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch
cbertsch

I Think I'm Turning Into Tocqueville, I Really Think So

I've been experimenting, fitfully, with other "delivery systems" for my words over the past month. Getting a new phone and an unlimited data plan to match has radically changed the way I relate to the internet. I'm not sure I'm happy about that, though. Or, rather, I'm not sure that I like what this reorientation of my approach has done to my reading. My sense is that phone-based communication, which puts word count at a premium, is doing the same thing to social networking that tighter word counts at newspapers and magazines did for journalism. It often feels to me like reducing missives below a certain threshold evacuates them of substance to such a degree that the world would be better off without them. Mind you, I have rationalized the virtues of economy. I can see the appeal of OULIPO-style constraints on my own writing and those of people who share my conviction that prose should strive for effects, like poetry, that can't be wholly retranslated into factual data. But I struggle to live up to that standard in my own micro-communications and get the sense, further, that a lot of the people who favor that mode of exchange aren't even trying to write creatively within those constraints. And that saddens me, both because I miss the sort of extended Live Journal entries from which I could extract nuance even in the absence of good writing and because I fret that I'm becoming the sort of elitist I have historically submitted to withering critique. Still, I wonder whether the latest round of "democratization" in the domain of new media, in which word counts make it hard for all but the most adept stylists to publish consistently captivating material, isn't propelling us into a future where aesthetic judgments become harder and harder to sustain.
Tags: blogging, new media, writing
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  • AdSenseless

    One of the strangest things for me about starting up Souciant is that the site was designed for running ads. In all the years that I was involved…

  • For Those Who Care a Lot

    One of the things I was doing during the time I was mostly absent from Live Journal was trying to get a new publication off the ground. I kept…

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