Here is something Neil has written in response to your comments regarding his initial post. Neil encourages you to share your thoughts here in the comments.
the Long Form is alive and well at the creative research center.
and i, as a writer and author, have commensurately migrated more and more to the Web in everything i do.
or, i should more pertinently say, everything i produce (in the content sense).
to be sure, as many in your class pointed out, and as milosz says in his wonderful poem at the end of my post -- i still turn to The Books when i want a particular kind of respite or solace.
as a matter of fact, right now i am halfway through the cairo trilogy by the nobel prize winner nahguib mahfouz.
it's a thousand pages, and i hope it goes on forever....
the preponderant part of my day - as an author and, in the past five years, as a university professor - is spent either in class or at my desk - and when i am at my desk i am on the computer.
sometimes i might get up and walk around and take a break, but the pull to come back is strong.
occasionally, i feel guilty (if that is the right term) for spending so much time in cyberspace.
but then another side of my mind issues the corrective that i need to go where the actionis, in the fullest sense.
along with the desire to put a narrative out there comes the reciprocal desire for response.
i was going to say "feedback" but that is too distorted.
as a writer, i have always had a hunger to communicate, and that is a given in my life and work. but in the past fifteen-plus years since the Web entered my life, there is no question that my urge for a reply - in the widest cultural sense down to the most immediate "did you get my email?" sense - has increased.
i have ambivalent feelings about this mirror-effect, i.e., the more going out, the more i want to see and experience coming in.
one could adapt the metaphor and say it is as natural as breathing...but i would be remiss if i did not tell you and your students that it has a darker tinge.
i can't quite define this new synaptic mode. i think it is primal, archetypal.
i'll stop now with this final thought: i do not see the e-book 'explosion' in a darwinian way anymore.
i do not see an electronic tsunami crashing down upon us and carrying away the flotsam and jetsam of print.
i agree with the general sentiment of your class that the media will coexist.
the gradual atomization of TV, the music business, movies in multiplexes, interactive displays in museums, smartphones, and so on - - there is no way this surge could not effect and disturb the dynamics of the act of reading.
however, as long as human beings seek out manifestations of creative self-expression, books will remain."