Saturday, January 12, 2008


I guess the most important message to take home from Part One of this blog is that getting published has never been easier. Whereas in the past, before web 1.0 and before there was any web at all, disseminating any kind of work was limited to those who followed stringent writing standards that antedated them, with so-called web 2.0, being read, viewed or heard has become something within the reach of almost anyone with a computer and an internet connection. There is no unattainable technical knowledge to speak of that could stand in the way of communicating or transmitting content of any type. In a way, there were all those watchdogs, panels, editors, gatekeepers, who had for themselves a say on what was to make it to print and what was to be ditched. And you couldn’t do much about that either.




At this juncture, you are your own arbiter, to a very comfortable extent. It’s up to you to decide what you want to publish, when you want to publish and how you want to word, or, if you prefer a more general term, how you want to package what you want to publish. At a bare minimum, we can all do chatting. You might want to call that an informal, standard, and unmarked way of getting published. Then we can also comment on someone else’s writing, write a blog, make a podcast, or upload a video. You don’t need a cutting-edge digital camera to do that. Your regular webcam can do the job. Barring that, you can shoot video with your or your child’s mobile phone camera.


In this wide and easy sense, getting published means leaving a visible or audible footprint or mark on the web as digital global theater. And instead of submitting your content to editorial filterers, you now have a community of intelligent and informed consumers to prop you, to give you feedback, to offer you alternative views, and to engage with you, albeit negatively. Actually, the term ‘consumers’ is not a correct characterization of today’s readers and viewers. As Dan Gillmor aptly remarks, the term ‘audience’ has now given way to ‘participants’, in the sense that the relationship obtaining between you as content producer and the viewer/reader is no longer one where viewers are passively watching or listening. They too, are actively involved in interpreting what they come across, and you are very likely to see them respond to your input.


Nor is internet space to host your production at a premium either. In the early days of the web, one needed to get webmaster certification to start your one's own website and many tutorial hours on how to use html, how to upload pictures, how to tweak the margins, how to pad cells, how to upload files into an FTP, etc. Now, you really can do without much of this stuff. Space is free for those who want free space. Otherwise, it’s no longer prohibitive. Ready-made, free and open-source templates are available, big time. We can all become citizens of the web, or as Peter Coffee puts it, ‘webizens’.


There are other signs of ease, averaging an internet-rich environment. The fact of the matter is, these days, all opinions count. You needn’t be versed in esoteric theory to publish. There is like an unwritten rule which says that when you publish on the web, you are indeed publishing to communicate. Your target is to touch Mr. and Ms. everyday person in the street, in the field, in the locale, and anywhere people walk or talk. Actually, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you decided to speak ‘above people’s heads’, if you pardon the expression. In the new medium, you publish to be read, to be heard, to be viewed. Also, anything counts. Your opinion is as good as anybody else’s. Your views matter. They may not matter to everyone who comes across them, but they will matter to some people, those that are interested in the issues of concern to you, and there should be no dearth of them, planet-wide. Seeing eye to eye on these issues isn't a precondition for communication either; in fact, quite the reverse is very often also true.


Before I’m done for this post, I must stress that the web, as is, may be furnished with possibly 85% of stuff English. But whoever said you can only publish in English, or only in the major languages of the world, those that boast more than 100 millions speakers. The web is decidedly multilingual, and thankfully so. There are translation and localization engines all over the place, and interesting content will make its way to those who find it interesting across languages and despite language barriers.


Ultimately, the object of this blog is to tackle the question of why one should wish to get published at all. I think I will leave this for Part Three. Subsequently, I hope to look into the implications of this irreversible trend for communication and curriculum.


KEYWORDS: Web 1.0; Web 2.0


Dan Gillmor. We the Media. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, January 2, 2008: http://www.authorama.com/we-the-media-3.html

Peter Coffee. Webizens of All Ages. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on January 4, 2008:http://blog.sforce.com/sforce/2007/06/webizens-of-all.html.


A.A. said...

You blog is so very useful . You are a very fantastic teacher . God bless you Ali .

Ali H. Raddaoui said...

Thank you very much a.a. for your comments. You are an overly courteous person, but you can still engage me on certain issues where you think I might have gone off the mark, or issues that deserve further elaboration. You might even want to draw my attention to other ways of getting published on the net. For my part though, I may have to learn to disassociate myself somewhat from my role as teacher so I can create a different rapport with my readers. Thanks anyway.