Writers Guild applaudes as speaker tells them the Web is NOT a publication
I have just come across an old article, still after all this time on the writers guild website. It is in fact the only one I could find about web writing on the site. The web is not a publication
In Tom Smith’s talk he stated, "The web is not a publication". I will have to take issue with this. By definition a publication makes information available to the public. Is the Writers Guild really allowing people to say the web does not do this? How silly they are. (toned down comment for publication) Tom’s further statement saying, the web is a conversation, may be true for some readers, but not all readers use it this way. I personally look for reasearch material on the web, not comments by joe bloggs and co.
Although the web is a new medium, it is publishing. You may wish to be be pedantic and say "you are not writing a book". However, books are now being published on the web. If a publication is in hard copy, how does not make it any different? Apart that is, from making it less accessible to the public and killing more trees. It is much easier to go to your computer and find information than it is to go out and get a book from a library.
According to government figures, in 2006 67 per cent of UK households own a home computer and 59 per cent of households have an Internet connection. (Available online http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget.asp?ID=868&Pos=&ColRank=1&Rank=374 last accessed 26/02/2008) Even if there were 6 books issued per member of the adult population in 2001/02. It would seem plain that more web sites are accessed than books taken out of libraries. (Available online http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Expodata/Spreadsheets/D7766.xls last accessed 26/02/2008)
Time for the Writers Guild to update their concepts.
So why have the writers guild come down on the web so hard? Simple, they have no power over it. It involves people, just as book publishing does, but not as many wealthy people to take issue with through the courts.
A writer, like myself, makes a living from their publications. Whether that is in book or on the web it does not seem any different to me. The information is made public for the same reasons, survival. A web page must have updates to survive in the SERP. In turn the writer to survives, especially if he / she is selling anything. A writer of books or newpaper article must likewise produce new text to make funds to live.
In my mind he guild seems to be stuck in the past not wanting to move forward. Well, as a trade union for my own industry, this makes me both ashamed and a bit scared. Who am i going to go to when my stuff gets ripped off?
The writers guild is sounding like doctors in the NHS. All hell broke loose when the NHS computerised. This meant doctors would be more accountable for their actions. Every record, memo and prescription would be easily accessible. Who ever wrote it and acted on it would also be there and thus be accountable for it. This improved the NHS for us the users of it. The web improves accessibility to information. It also improves the speed which information can be accessed. Although it may not have improved the quality of all information available, one day quality writing will take it place at the top of search engine rankings.
The guild really needs to get it’s act together. The world is not going to wait for them.