Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Digital Consumer of 2013

A good friend of mine, David, just moved into a new place and he told me he didn’t get phone service.  The cell phone is just fine.  He also didn’t get cable service.  He will download stuff from online and watch it on his TV set.  He doesn’t buy printed books, thanks to his e-reading device, and he gets newspapers digitally on his iPad.  He reflects the new generation except he’s not 20.  He just turned 46.

He made choices that save him money and will be just fine for his needs, but he may be lacking in certain areas.  For instance, without a landline, in emergencies, his cell phone may lose power, get overloaded, or run out of juice.  For cable-less TV, he can’t see certain live events, such as sports or news.  Certainly, there’s a trade-off to everything.

Truth is, there’s no end to how far we may go to live in a digital world to the point we will ive on in a digital box.

Some people no longer collect physical things and instead look to capture things online.  I don’t just mean movies, music, or entertainment, but things like coins, stamps, cards, magazines or even art.  It seems like people spend more time amassing photos of their lives and archiving and sharing them.  We collect time on social media platforms.  Our national hobby is Facebooking, Tweeting and Instagramming.

One day we will live in a world of holograms and projecting images.  We’ll mask our bodies, cars, and homes with digitized visuals that will hide our real selves.  We’ve begun by hiding who we are and talking with an online persona.  We text more than we talk.  We e-mail more than we meet people in person.  We blog and connect with strangers and bond over filtered pieces of our fragmented lives.

Am I guilty of this too?  Writers have always lived dual lives – a world of the imagination and a world of reality.  Life on paper or a screen is often more ideal than the world of death, disease, crime, loss, and pain.  But we don’t really get to choose whether to avoid life or not – it goes on without our permission or involvement.

But it seems every aspect of our lives has a technology component, both good and bad.  For the coming decades, it seems we will be confronted over how we coexist with or exist for our technology.

I recently went to visit some potential sleep-away camps for my son.  They all had a no e-mail rule.  Kids could have a camera, but no other devices were allowed at one place; another ruled out Internet-dependent devices.  None of them had televisions.  My son was shocked.  He must think such an Amish existence is unthinkable.

But when I was a kid, save for a Jetsons episode, his world today was unthinkable.  What will tomorrow bring?

We’re an ever-expanding world living amongst the zeroes and ones of a computer analog.  Maybe we are living inside The Matrix or are on the brink of a Terminator-like war with Robots.  But the Revolution today seems little opposed.  We literally have opened our homes, wallets, and minds to let technology be a part of us, like air, water, and blood.

I just hope we don’t become what we consume, where we become less human as a result of all this synthetic life around us.

I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, only instead of saying “I’m melting, I’m melting,” I will be crying, “I’m deleting, I’m deleting.”

Interview With Author D.W. Carver

What type of books do you write? Somewhere between mysteries and thrillers. My heros and heroines often have to solve major problems in their lives that involve threats to their existence. My female lead characters are all self-starters and take very little crap from people, not a wilting violet amongst them

What is your newest book about? I have just started a follow-up to 'Desperation'. I'm not sure where it's going right now beyond Kate and Vickie getting into trouble with the 'lurking menace' left over from the first book. I have just completed a section on Kate's media interviews. I did many of those myself back in the back and had some fun with it.

What is the writing process like for you? I think through scenarios in the broadest sense then sit down at the keyboard. I do most of my development work while I'm typing. I tend to work every day unless some member of the family tells me to stop.

What did you do before you became an author? I was a mental health community counselor in East London, working for a charity. We tended to see those who didn't fit into what was available on the health service so my 'take' on mental health is a little different from most.

How does it feel to be a published author? Nothing special really. I used to write self-help books for my
employers and they sold very well without me taking much notice so it has been a fairly painless transition.

Any advice for struggling writers? Put time aside to do the work whether this is a few hours a week or
every day and be ready for rejections - lots of rejections 

Where do you see book publishing heading? E-books are big business and I don't see that changing. I think most publishers will end up with a hard copy and e-copy section to their output.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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