Every day, we collectively produce millions of books’ worth of writing. Globally we send 154.6 billion emails, more than 400 million tweets, and over 1 million blog posts and around 2 million blog comments on WordPress. On Facebook, we post about 16 billion words. Altogether, we compose some 3.6 trillion words every day on email and social media — the equivalent of 36 million books. (The entire US Library of Congress, by comparison, holds around 23 million books.)The digital age has confirmed Sturgeon's Law: "Ninety percent of everything is crud" or "Ninety percent of everything is crap."
a global eruption of unedited, everyday self-expression is even more likely to produce this 90-10 split — an ocean of dreck, dotted sporadically by islands of genius.But there's hope. The digital age has exposed millions of writers to public view, thereby elevating the quality of their product:
When students were asked to write for a real audience in another country, their essays had better organization and content than when they were writing for their teacher. When asked to contribute to a wiki—a space that’s highly public and where the audience can respond by deleting or changing your words—college students snapped to attention, carefully checking sources and including more of them to back up their work.Readers, take heart. Despite all that you must wade through---yes, that statement applies to this humble journal, too---there's a pony in here somewhere. © 2014 Stephen Yuen