The Economics of Building a Writing Career on the Web

In the article “The Internet sets writers free…to get new audiences, and also to ‘dive into a giant flaming garbage pile'”, Laura Hazard Owen describes the reality of an online writer’s career. She makes several interesting points and questions whether writing on the web should be taken more seriously.

A section of this article includes a list of opinionated “true or false” assertions about this issue. Some of them include “Writers should be paid for everything they write. Writers should just pay their dues and count themselves lucky to be published. You should never quit your day job; you’ll know you’re successful when you can quit your day job. Writing is an art, not a business. Digital technology has destroyed the market for writing.”

Is the Internet setting writers free or devaluing their labor?

Some believe that Twitter has allowed others to find new communities, such as women, people of color, and the LGBT people, on social media that maybe they haven’t had access to elsewhere. Other people believe that writing on Twitter is equivalent to just “working for free”. It is important for journalists to be on Twitter, especially when gathering news. However, sometimes Twitter can be a hostile place and some writers have argued that it messes with their heads.


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