Because it’s easy to become overwhelmed by tech minutia, particularly if you hail from the arts, I thought it might be useful to step back from the discussion of SEO in the previous post and consider the internet in broader context. If you’re not into technology most tech-speak probably sounds like gibberish, but you probably also have faith that it all makes sense to someone somewhere. If the internet is a mystery to you as an artist or author, you trust that the smart, wonderful, benevolent people who created the internet in order to help you reach both your intended audience and your creative potential really do understand what it’s all about.
The internet is an amazing creation, and has come to dominate our lives in an amazingly short amount of time. Backed by hundreds of billions of dollars in investment, infrastructure and advertising, the internet is clearly the place to be, at least according to the internet. Beyond making a lot of people rich, however, the internet as a method of communication has democratized conversations that were previously controlled by self-interested if not bigoted gatekeepers, meaning voices that were perpetually overlooked or muted can now be heard on issues of critical importance. In every way the internet imitates life, and at times even imitates art.
The problem with that feel-good appraisal is that it ignores another fundamental truth about the internet, which is that is completely insane. And in saying that I do not mean the internet is exasperating or wildly avante-garde, nor am I being hyperbolic or pejorative. Rather, I mean that as a cold, clinical appraisal. If you are an author or artist the maze of technologies driving the internet may make it hard to perceive the systemic dysfunction emanating from your screen (though the phrase virtual reality is itself a shrill clue), but you are in fact better positioned than most to understand it. All you need to do is recast your conception of the internet in familiar terms.
If you’re a writer, think of the internet as having been authored by Joseph Heller or Kurt Vonnegut. If you’re an artist, think of the internet as a work by Salvador Dali or René Magritte. Which is to say that the internet is not simply the sum of its technologies and techniques, but a construct, space, and experience informed and distorted by human perception and imagination. [ Read more ]