A couple of years ago, I spent three months playing World of Warcraft – partly as research for a short story I was writing, mostly because I became addicted to it. This convinced me of one thing: If the computer games which exist now had existed back in 1979 I would not have read any books, I think; I would not have seen writing as an adequate entertainment; I would not have seen going outdoors as sufficiently interesting to bother with.
Similarly, I find it difficult to understand why any eleven-year-old of today would be sufficiently bored to turn inward for entertainment."
I have to say…. I disagree with most of what this article is saying. Maybe my view has already been ruined by the technology I spend most of my time attending to, but I don’t think it has. I love to write. I think I can honestly say it’s what I enjoy doing most. I love to read, too, although I don’t spend nearly as much time doing so these days as I would like. (And, lo and behold, I read the whole article, left to right, top to bottom, no skimming.)
Maybe other youth are not reading as much, and maybe that’s at least partly because of technology (although I might add that it’s not just technology that’s speeding up; the whole world moves too fast), but we nerdy kids who might one day become writers will still be reading and still be writing. And the internet actually helps me with that. It gives me ideas and inspiration, and it gives me access to others with whom I can write and bounce ideas off of. One of these days I plan to start writing my own things, but I’m betting that when that day comes I’ll still be mulling over the ideas with my friends.
And I agree with one of the people who commented on that article. Including new technologies within writing isn’t a bad thing, either. A horse drawn carriage is technology, too, you know, and it gave more speed than walking (though if you want to have a character walk, you can still do that, too). Every new insight we get with science, every step forward with technology, just gives us more to write about, a new spin to add to stories, new depths to explore.
So I think writing as a meaningful and potent art from and expression isn’t going to die out just because the world marches on. Not in the immediate future, anyway.