Published 29 July 201026 March 2011 · Main Posts The democratisation of publishing (and a bit of Clay Shirky for good measure) Jacinda Woodhead A brandspanking new Meanland post: The idea that the printing press democratised reading, writing and ideas is widely embraced. This is not to suggest it was – or remains in its internet incarnation – politically progressive or, indeed, revolutionary. Matthew Battles reminds us: The printing press never only produced the kind of deep reading we admire and privilege today. It also produced propaganda and misinformation, penny dreadfuls and comic books offensive to public morality, pornography, self-help books, and much that was generally despised and rejected by polite culture. Any account of the history of “The Gutenberg Era” that lacks these is incomplete — just as any picture of the Internet that privileges LOLcats and 4chan is insufficient. We must consider both — for pornography, misinformation, and sheer foolishness have thrived from the age of incunables to the advent of the Internet. Yet it did bring the written word to the people. During this current age, one of increasing mass literacy – which is unparalleled when we pause to reflect that never before have more people across the globe had the capacity to read and write and actually are reading and writing – it has been suggested that whereas the printing press democratised ‘the written word,’ the internet has democratised publishing itself. In other words, we find ourselves in a time of (potential) universal publishing or content production for anyone who owns or has access to a computer. And the internet. Which, despite their ubiquity, still belong to the realm of the privileged. ‘Here’s what the Internet did,’ posits Shirky, ‘it introduced, for the first time, post-Gutenberg economics. The cost of producing anything by anyone has fallen through the floor. And so there’s no economic logic that says that you have to filter for quality before you publish’. Read the rest of my piece over at Meanland. Jacinda Woodhead Jacinda Woodhead is a former editor of Overland and current law student. More by Jacinda Woodhead › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202311 November 2023 · Subscriberthon 2023 On the final day of Subscriberthon, Overland’s most important members get to have their say Editorial Team BORIS A quick guide to another year of Overland, from your trusty feline, Boris. I liked the ginger cat story, though it made my human cry. I liked the talking cat, too, but I’m definitely in the “not wasting my time learning to talk” camp. But reading is good. And writing is fun, though it’s been challenging […] 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 9 November 20239 November 2023 · Subscriberthon 2023 On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, Overland’s co-chief editor Evelyn Araluen speaks truth to power Editorial Team To my friends and comrades, I’m not sure if there’s language to communicate how this last month has utterly changed me. This time a few weeks ago the busyness and chaos of bricolage arts and academic labour had so efficiently distracted me from my anxiety about the upcoming referendum that I forgot to prepare myself for its inevitable conclusion.