For the third consecutive year, I had the pleasure of doing a presentation on social media for my friend Peter Costanzo’s M.S. in Publishing: Digital and Print Media class at NYU last night, and while preparing for it, I was surprised by how much has changed since the first time, and how much hasn’t. Pinterest and Tumblr are bigger deals now (or at least perceived as such), while Twitter is steadily maturing (from a business perspective), Facebook changes its approach every six months, and email is still the underrated king of the hill.
That “Local First” angle is what disturbs me the most, latching on to a legitimate movement whose most compelling hook focuses on locally sourced goods and sustainability, to support booksellers whose primary focus is usually selling the products of multi-national corporations who treat them like second-class citizens. The bookstores that are true pillars of their communities don’t need hollow slogans and dreams of going viral on YouTube, because they prove on a daily basis why they matter to their communities.
While many book publishers and academy types might argue otherwise, poetry has always been an oral form, first and foremost. A poem on the page is theoretical, incomplete; like a promising idea not yet vetted. Reading your work out loud is also one of the best forms of editing, and not just for poetry, but straight fiction and non-fiction, too.
Now, with a new job serving a new community that doesn’t officially (or unoffically) require my writing skills, there’s an exciting light at the end of the tunnel and I’m seizing the opportunity while trying to find the right balance to ensure it’s all sustainable.
All good things do eventually come to an end, and for me, on the heels of an amazingly successful DBW11, I realized I was coming upon a crucial fork in the road, and while the DBW path will surely continue to be an exciting one for those continuing on, it’s one I realized would ultimately take me away from my true passion: Books, Authors, Readers and the myriad connections still to be made between them.