When I write online I tend to be looser, more conversational, less liable to self-edit. I find that I’m able to write without obsessing too much about the ultimate form that the writing is going to take.
I’m not sure that I understand what you mean by ‘stakes’. I certainly think that things move more quickly, and people are visibly, vocally more obsessed with things like popularity – i.e. measuring the value of something by its circulation, both positively and negatively. I also think there is more at stake in terms of the possibility of your work being taken up or taken down more significantly, and harshly, and expected to account, or equally being lauded for it. But there is the equal possibility that you will be ignored and not seen! The internet is a big place. I have to admit, again, I don’t spend very much time in these forums, though when I do dip in, I am simultaneously fascinated, excited, repulsed, and terrified by the speed and breadth of communities online and they way they function. Which it seems to me is ultimately in a tautological fashion. I find this problematic, but arguably not surprising or very different from most disciplines, circles, new sources, etc.
I write almost exclusively for print publications. In fact, with few exceptions, in each case that something has appeared online, it has been altered or reformatted from what was originally intended to be a print piece. So it’s hard for me to say conclusively, although I suspect that I gravitate to writing for print because I feel that it is imbued with characteristics – re: form, content, and circulation – that might be more amenable to the manner in which I write, and what or how I want things to look, feel, etc. I acknowledge that these assumptions are likely out-dated and irrational, in that online writing is capable of many things, as well as great variety. (Just like all print isn’t the same, neither is all online content, obviously). That said – the cases in which I have written directly for something online, I have approached the writing (the writing itself, as well as the manner in which I worked on it) in a more casual, less belaboured manner. Perhaps my assumption on some level is that greater care and exactitude is required in print than online. Or maybe that print is for literature, and online is for journalism! As I write this, it seems absurd – but I suppose these are many of the material values associated and embraced, as well as distanced and rejected by forward thinking people in both print and online. Hopefully these are the people who will change and challenge both fields to expand, with regards to production and reception.
Yes. Which means the analytics themselves should be subject to more rigorous analysis. Psychoanalysis, even.
I think there are stakes to do with the sustainability of art magazines and writing as a profession – advertising models are changing, galleries and museums are less dependent on magazines for getting word out about their shows as they can use social media and in the case of bigger galleries, their own publishing wings, and nobody has found a model for generating revenue online that can help pay editors and writers a living wage, or recouping reprint costs – there was a time when you had to pay a writer to reprint their article, and now people copy and paste them freely. Print still, for some reason, has prestige for galleries – both in terms of advertising and press coverage – in ways that online coverage doesn’t quite (though this is not to say this isn’t changing) and this means that print magazines still get supported, but if that shifts in the same direction that has affected other forms of publishing, then there’s a danger that writing and editing will become something that only people with independent means can do as a job. I think there’s an implicit class problem in that which will effect how art gets written about.
There are stakes too to do with speed – you can get coverage of a major show or whatever out quickly online, but it’s going to be a different kind of critical response to the one published, say, three months later. Both are totally fine, and in some ways the ability to have both is great. You just have to recognise that they have different characteristics.
In general, no. Online allows for a certain kind of show-and-tell shorthand – for instance, you could write online ‘the painting was almost as bad as this’ and have a link through to an image, whereas in print you need to spell things out a bit more. But in general, my writing is only changed by the type of task at hand (e.g. a news piece as opposed to a review or monograph).
I guess to pick up on previous bits: it appears, and seems generally assumed, that there is less at stake online, when actually we need to treat it that more actually is at stake. When something is so volatile and highly circulate-able, then the quality and substance of the thing being shared should be worth it. Thoroughly-researched, well written, readable. Literature by any other form. So just to interpret your question slightly differently, there is a difference in stakes but in that there is a danger of misunderestimating the platform.
I guess firstly I should set out my stall: I think the main difference between online writing and print writing is mostly an outcome of expectation, and the stereotyped forms that people encounter on various sites. I don’t think it’s any inherent way of reading on the screen or distracted clicking that determines what happens in online writing. Which is to say, I don’t think there is any difference between online or print.
Essentially no, I think I write the same for both. But having said that, there are very few things written for print that aren’t online, and if they aren’t put online by the publisher/organiser, then I generally try to make a point for things to be available, downloadable or findable in some form online.
I think this relates to the earlier question about understanding the public and reading patterns online. There’s certainly an added pressure to writing online, in the knowledge that a piece can be measured both by number of visits and average time spent on the page, but I don’t think either of these metrics quite describe the influence of a successful piece. It’s easy to become obsessed with the analytics, to everyone’s detriment. Editors need to have confidence in their writers. Not sure if that quite answers the question.
I definitely think that the emphasis on measurable circulation is a real issue for the industry a large since it pushes a real race to the bottom. In a click-obsessed industry, the actual content becomes irrelevant once the “click” has been harvested. Reading itself becomes irrelevant. The result is often a race to the bottom.