Richard Nash’s Social Publishing


2 October 2009

In the writing and publishing worlds, in the context of digital digital everywhere, we all seem to be looking for the way  forward.  Or out.  Or backwards, perhaps.  And Richard Nash seems to be someone we’re watching, and listening to, for his sense of the possible.

Here, he writes/talks about his new social publishing venture, Cursor.

I’ve read the description — a kind of manifesto (part philosophy, part business plan) — but don’t really know what to do with it.

I am in student-story commenting mode, and the most frequent comment I make is the familiar “show, don’t tell.”  You have to incarnate this abstraction, make it concrete.  (In my mind, when I need to entertain myself while making said comments, I imagine Cuba Gooding, Jr. bending his knees to the imaginary hip-hop beat, dancing around his house, screaming at Tom Cruise on the phone: SHOW ME THE MOOOONNNNNNEEEEEYYY!)

So we’ll be seeing how it all it fleshes out, so to speak.  Everything about the digital and social networking worlds feels that way to me, i.e. complete abstraction in the summation, but once you “get in there,” it starts to mean something.

Like for instance, in the earlier days of this blog, when 10 people were reading it and I wasn’t really sure what this blogging thing was all about; and I posted a response to Dan Baum‘s Twitter-essay about being fired from the New Yorker; and Dan Baum got wind of the post, and commented on it, then Twittered a link to it; then suddenly 600 people came flooding to my blog (which was a little like having 600 people show up at your house before you’d brushed your teeth or gotten dressed or washed last night’s dirty dishes).

Ah, that’s what linking and blogging and commenting are all about, I thought.  A non-abstract incarnation of digital connection.

A friend who is helping me think through the social networking side of book promotions was making the case for why Twitter (i.e. me Twittering) is meaningful in this context, and after a few minutes of, “It’s kind of like… no, it’s more like…”, I finally said: “Never mind, it’s one of those things you just have to do to understand.”  For me, the Twitter jury is still out; but should the empirical experience summon me, you all will surely be the first to know.


2 Responses to “Richard Nash’s Social Publishing”

  1. Lisa Peet Says:

    I have to agree with your friend’s explanation of Twitter. I was very skeptical/disdainful when I first signed up for the express purpose of live-tweeting (oy, I hate all the tweet-speak) BEA for Readerville. And there are a lot of times when the whole dynamic still makes me roll my eyes. BUT I’ve also made some really good, interesting contacts there that I’d never have met otherwise. In the end I think the return is a good one.

    And the good thing is that even when you find yourself succumbing to the 2 a.m. urge to post “My cats are sooo cute and make me laugh!”, nobody thinks less of you.

  2. Richard Nash Says:

    Send me your email address, and I’ll send you an invite to the beta, likely to occur around the end of this year…

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