Thursday, April 5, 2012

Assignment 3 - I'm my own publisher

I’m my own publisher 

Aldous Huxley, 1930.

 “In the days before machinery men and women who wanted to amuse themselves were compelled, in their humble way, to be artists. Now they sit still and permit professionals to entertain them by the aid of machinery. It is difficult to believe that general artistic culture can flourish in this atmosphere of passivity.” (Huxley, 1927).

New media publishing (social media publishing)
New media publishing can also be synonymous with social media publishing as the majority of online publishing covers a myriad of virtual and mobile mediums like: websites, eBooks, blogs, twitter feeds, videos, podcasts and articles on an endless sea of subjects. When googling ‘new media publishing’ the first hit is for an online publishing service called Newmedia Publishing that enables anyone to publish and distribute their written word and/or creations online. Newmedia Publishing sells their service as, “This is your site, if you are an author, content creator or publisher, which most of us are, even if we do not think of ourselves as such, in a conventional sense. Whatever you create on or with your computer today is a candidate for publication and online distribution.” (2006) Contrary to Aldous Huxley’s quote, the access to online publishing services implies that people are extremely creative, do not remain passive and now are seeking out methods to publish their creations by-passing traditional publishing houses. 

The content creator becomes their own publishing house gaining more freedom of creativity as they are not stifled by the rigidness of a publishing house. Web 2.0 has affected how publishing is carried out and has changed the rules; no longer wholly controlled by a select few. As Ianto Ware stated in 2008, “with the rise of Web 2.0 a whole range of literacies that used to be defined as “private sphere” or “everyday literacies,” everything from personal conversations and correspondence to book clubs and fanzines, have become far, far more public.” The Web has increasingly becoming a canvas where more than one user can contribute, “provid[ing] a richer tapestry for the next user to modify or build on.” (Tapscott & Williams, 2006, p 27) 

Johannes Gutenberg's printing press
As history indicates change occurs with the introduction of publication technologies first with Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press in the 1400s, the household printer and now with online publishing technologies like eBooks, blogs, videos and podcasts. Ware continues to mention that the idea of a ‘traditional publishing house’ continuing to remain fixed is naive. 

“What the rise of Web 2.0 has done is simply to bring every day, private sphere dialogue driven literacies into the public sphere in a very obvious way. The kind of discourses once passed off as resistant youth subcultures are now being shown as common place. Keen is right to suggest that this will continue to impact, sometimes negatively, on traditional gatekeepers. Yet the change is inevitable. As our reading and writing practices alter around new genres, our understandings of what constitutes legitimate fields of publishing will also change.” (Ware, 2008, paragraph 20)
In addition to the online changes occurring with publishing services; the advancement and increased access to ‘modern’ technology also increases the creative freedom for the everyday Joe and Jane to publish their contributions. Virtual and mobile technology has provided the tools for more creativity and wider distribution.

MarshallMcLuhan favored the technological humanism perspective  because it sought, “to renew technique from within by releasing the creative possibilities inherent in the technological experience ... [and] will create the conditions for a new ... condition.” (Kroker, 1945, p 14) This ‘new condition’ implies that more individuals will interact on the virtual stage contributing to a cultural shift in how society views publishing. This shift in how society views publishing is creating new literacy practices amongst writers, content creators and artists. 

Some view this shift as a revolution like Andrew Keen who is renowned for his disapproval of removing the ‘gatekeepers’ (publishers and certifiable experts) enabling the non-professional to contribute. “[Keen’s] His definition of “publishing” is essentially one in which a few, carefully groomed producers express work seen as relevant to the wider community.” (Ware, 2008, paragraph 4) 

Men and women are not just idly sitting still (well they are probably sitting) but they are not inactive, “permit[ting] professionals to entertain them by the aid of machinery.” (Huxley, 1927) They are utilizing the machinery to create their own messages a good example would be blog writers or bloggers who are creating a genre of online journal writing. They are millions of blogs on a myriad of subjects ranging from political, academic, artistic and social commentary to mention a few blog genres. One that blog that made a big splash in the blogging world and eventually crossed the threshold to become a published book and a wide release movie was the Julie/Julia Project blog written by Julie Powell . Unfortunately the original blog is no longer available due to the blog service updating their programming. The Julie/Julia Project blog is a good example of an online publication creating a network and community for interested readers. 

Stine Gotved's Triangle of Cybersocial Reality
Reviewed through Stine Gotved’s The Triangle of Cybersocial Reality the Julie/Julia Project blog is an example of an interactive online network. The basic Triangle Approach (the inner triangle) includes three basic sociological categories of culture, structure and interaction framing the cybersocial reality created by integrating technology and social networking. “The triangle symbolizes the condition for the construction of social reality ... eyes are drawn to the center of the triangle, where all the different factors and categories convene and where the cyber social reality is constructed.” (Gotved, 2006, p 170) The culture side would include the common understanding of Powell’s blog as a study of Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering ofthe Art of French Cooking. Julia Child is a well known chef who had a huge impact on the American creating recipes that brought French cuisine to average American family. 

“On the triangle’s structural side, the organization is in focus....where the social structure and organization are intertwined tightly with the technology’s interface and underlying design ideology.” (Gotved, 2006, p 171) The structure of a blog involves the blogger writing posts that are published via blog server like Blogger these blog posts are then read by the reader who may or may not write a comment. Interaction occurs when the reader responds to a blogger’s post, “interaction occurs not only between humans but also between humans and computers and between computers.” (Gotved, 2006, p 171)  The online social complexities covered in the basic triangle include: surfers, networks communities and the dyad indicated with the triangle. 

The online community established with the Julie/Julia Project blog illustrates the interaction between writer and reader but also illustrates that people are doing more than just being entertained. They are actively participating from their computers with a variety of contributors creating online communities. Social media publishing is allowing everyone, with the technology to have access to becoming published authors or creators.

(2004 – 2012). [image]. Gutenberg’s Printing Press, Clipart ETC, Florida Center for Instructional Technology. Retrieved from

(2006). About Us. Newmedia Publishing. Retrieved from:

(2010, September 3). [image]. Mentoliptus: Show GRUB2 Menu Only If Shift Key Is Pressed in Multi-Boot System. Retrieved from

Agnihotri, S. (2010, August 10). [image]. Gotved’s Triangle. Digital Tribes: Superfan 2.0. Retrieved from

Flood, A. (2011, April 12). [image]. Brave New World among top 10 books Americans most want banned. The Guardian, UK edition. Retrieved from
Gotved, S. (2006). The Construction of Cybersocial Reality. Silver, D & Massanari, A. (Eds.). Critical Cyberculture Studies. (pp 168-178). New York: NYU Press. 
Huxley, A. (1927, August) The Outlook for American Culture: Some Reflections in a Machine Age, Harper’s Magazine. 

Kroker, A. (1945). The Canadian Discourse (pp 7- 19). Technology and The Canadian Mind. Montreal: New World Perspectives.

Tapscott,D., & Williams, A. (2006). The Perfect Storm. In Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (pp. 34-64): Portfolio.

Ware, Ianto. (2008). “Andrew Keen Vs the Emos: Youth, Publishing, and Transliteracy.”


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. (Second time without typos:)

    Thank you, I really enjoyed your posting. It would seem to follow that an outcome of Gotved’s triangle where culture, structure and interaction meet would be knowledge creation. When people interact with information, it becomes knowledge. Gotved’s triangle shows the preconditions for that to occur – on a blog, people don’t have to be passive recipients of information – they can respond, follow links or just argue in their own head with the views being presented. Perhaps part of it is that a feature of the genre is that most blogs have a conversational tone?

    Another aspect of self publishing is its role in creating popular authors. Authors are e-publishing, self- marketing and using distributive networks like Amazon to sell their works. They make way more money if successful because agents and publishers don’t get a cut, they can cut a year or more off the publishing process, and if they do well, they attract the attention of the traditional publishing industry and can command bigger advances because they come with a track record and an audience (Sullivan, 2011).

    Sullivan, R. (2011, June 27). The new midlist: Self published e-book authors who earn a living. [Web log posting]. Retrieved from