The Internet -- and the World Wide Web specifically -- has radically altered the world of the freelance writer. To the detriment of that profession.
Obvious changes -- perhaps the single greatest change -- can be found in the alteration of the basic and formal elements of communication.
Our attention and consideration turns to this -- particularly to a relaxing of the barriers that once existed between the writer and his audience and even more significant, correspondence between the writer and editor.
It is, naturally enough, through that process that the traditional relationship and its potential, good or bad, is still formed.
As a point of fact and, in the interest of transparency between writer and audience, you should know that this entire piece was prompted by and flavored with impressions formed in reflection -- and the contents of a daydream -- both of which were entirely prompted by a number of email messages received that are in every sense of the notion a modern interpretation of the word “correspondence.”
It is certainly draped in a critical analysis of the necessary vehicle by which modern relationships are established; that is to say, through which they might mature, and along the way strengthen into something greater.
Clearly -- and to its detriment -- the now instant communication found in email eschews a threshold of art and reason where, in place of a previously formal process, is now replaced with the most informal of protocols: empty pleasantries void of emotion, sincerity, or meaning.
It is fair to say that today this entire process begins and ends with ideas of a formal structure where no such structure actually exists.
The privilege to build upon an initial meeting -- as part of the process by which a relationship is formed -- and to share in a gradual strengthening via what should be a safe avenue of pen and paper, has instead morphed into a risky highway of fast-moving electronic messages.
The result of “progress” is the stripping away of the real-world, first replaced with phone calls and written correspondence, finally replaced by an alchemy obtained through mutually glimpsed still images on personal and professional web pages augmented by all too brief and largely meaningless email exchanges.
This then has become the exclusive media through which information and ideas are now exchanged; identity that can only be verified by the presence of an “@” and the certainty of blind faith.
All of the above has replaced the smile, the handshake, small talk, and any sense at all of who it is that you are actually speaking with.
I don't own a formal business suit! The last time I needed to have a tailor measure and fit one was in 1994 and the last time that I wore it was for a meeting with a new editor that took place in 2005.
That sort of meeting, these days, can be attended naked or, if in mixed company, in sweats and a T-shirt since it is now commonly taking place online via a VOIP session.
Can you imagine any circumstances under the present state of the industry in which the provocation of Franklin and his unusually well-informed if not wise Silence Dogood faces any risk at all of being discovered? I can't.