69 Comments

Congratulations, Hamish!

Great Name

Great Topic

Great Host

JUICY STUFF!!!

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I think Ted Gioia would be a fascenting guest for this podcast.

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Good stuff. Keep providing us writers with more and more support, so that we can grow and you can thrive 🎉

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The guest list sounds amazing. I'm excited to listen!

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Love this, Hamish! You actually spurred me to deactivate my Twitter account today. Mission accomplished!

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Oct 20, 2022Liked by Hamish McKenzie

Hamish I so appreciate what you’ve written here and the conversation you’re bringing to the podcast! It’s a subject which is has been very present on my mind of late, in fact my newsletter last week was on the effects of social media. If you’d perhaps like to read, here it is:

https://open.substack.com/pub/rainedunn/p/is-social-media-rewiring-our-brains?r=sleg5&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post

I’m so looking forward to listening. Wishing you great success with the podcast.

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Oct 20, 2022Liked by Hamish McKenzie

good stuff. I would also love it if you invited writers of tv series or Netflix-streaming services. Today a lot of great stuff gets appears on streaming, these are people who do not necessarily write books. but keep up the good work

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Sounds great! And Elizabeth Gilbert would make a great guest! She’s had a complex relationship with the internet/ social media (who doesn’t?!) and she’s actually no longer active on those channels anymore. I’m curious to hear from authors who limit or have gotten off most platforms and how they still manage to promote & sell their work. It’s easy to imagine for a popular author like Gilbert but what about emerging artists? I see this trend of people (myself included!) wanting to spend less time online (especially “social” platforms) but not finding alternative ways to connect, work etc. It’s weird the internet, like money, was meant to be a tool yet it’s become the end-all, be-all. 🤔

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Please put Dan Rather on the top of your interview list.

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Thrilling. Haven't been this excited about a podcast in a long time.

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"how great writers reckon with the only thing in the last 17,000 years to challenge the technological supremacy of writing: the internet."

If that sums it up, I'm in. Deciding on length, topic, attention holding techniques, it's TOUGH! Thanks for the assist.

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Reading the non-fiction book “Content” by Kate Eichhorn, and she say internet writers are the equivalent of day laborers standing outside Home Depot compared to what writers used to be paid by print publications. 😢

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This book sounds super interesting too

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Some of it is a bit basic, but it does contain fascinating gems and is a quick read. I’ll be sharing a full analysis of the book on my Substack—Charlotte Dune’s Lagoon—soon.

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Says* please excuse my thick finger typos!

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Use the three dots to edit.

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Good idea thanks. Interesting we are unlikely to have ongoing chronicles of these plague years as much writing will be subsumed within the ginormous memory hole that is the internet. SubStack provides a better alternative in providing for many types of expression (voice, text, music, visual arts) to be collected within the stacks. The E-book of the future will be fascinating.

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Remember when people laughed at Amazon and their e-books? Crazy to think about a world without them, or audio books!

A part of me is super hopeful that Substack will be first to the VR Book/Story market - I keep having daydreams about me walking through one of my novels, as it's being read to me, kind of like a 3D graphic novel experience - imagine the movie 300, but you get to be Leonidas inside the story.

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Hamish, I think I can contribute. I'm a retired English teacher (high school), journalist and author (and grammar Nazi!). I was originally recruited to teach seniors how to write effective essays in various writing forms ... personal narratives, expository writing, persuasive essays and analyses. Different purposes, different styles. I taught how to navigate through voice (tense), and improve in syntax and precision (diction). I'd be happy to lend my expertise. For examples: jim.geschke@substack.com.

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I taught English as an adjunct in college for 25 years. I also studied internet language and culture and the linguistics of internet chat. Now I participate heavily in Story Club with George Saunders and am finally pursuing my writing dreams. This podcast will be of particular interest to me.

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I *love* George Saunders's Substack! It's one of my faves - I also hope you get a hold of Chuck Palahniuk, it would be super interesting to hear his take. Looking forward to all the other episodes, thank you for creating this!

I'm really rooting for Substack to be successful!

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I enjoyed the excerpts from Hamish's interview with George Saunders, but what the heck does this mean: "the only thing in the last 17,000 years to threaten the technological supremacy of writing: the internet."

I can think of several interpretations of this statement, but none of them seem true. Can someone (Hamish?) please explain? Thanks.

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I took it to mean - writing (which is a technology even in its crudest form of pen or pencil on paper, another technology) has been the intellectual behemoth that has forged human advance. The internet has that same force but to a much greater degree and has spread to most every corner of the world and filled our times with even greater intellect (or access to intellectual thought) as well as sown chaos and discord. The internet isn’t just writing though. It’s community, computer programming, a hybrid of writing and speech. It’s not the passive transmittal of ideas one person to another through a static text. It’s active. The title “Active Voice” is brilliant. Texting, for instance, isn’t writing per se. It’s “fingered speech” to borrow a phrase from Linguist John McWhorter. Texting really is more speech like than writing. Anyway. Im letting my excitement help this post get away from me. This is a great topic and a prime time to tackle it.

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Hi Marcia, I believe Hamish was referencing how the creation of algorithmically curated news feeds have made content ephemeral and diminished connection.

Many times the algorithms are tweaked so as to display certain types of content based off of how users engage with that content. When the goal is maximizing engagement the 'quick take', the cutting insult, and all of the other elements that drive the outrage ecosystem are given preference because the corporate overlords realize that those types of posts will cause people to spend much more time on the platform.

That type of content is much stickier than a 5000 word essay on grief and loss. That essay might stick with someone far longer and they may remember parts of it decades later, but it doesn't offer the instant attraction or engagement that a really devastating (but clever) pejorative might have. In my opinion, Hamish was talking about how this attempt to get users to stay on the platform by appealing to their baser instincts has diminished and more importantly discouraged good writing.... because they can't profit off of it as easily as they can if they make you angry/sad/depressed.

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Couldn’t agree more John. I actually touched on some aspects of this topic in my newsletter last week, entitled ‘Is Social Media Rewiring Our Brains?’

If you’d perhaps like to read, here’s the link:

https://open.substack.com/pub/rainedunn/p/is-social-media-rewiring-our-brains?r=sleg5&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post

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Hamish clearly refers to the conjunction of the ineluctable modalities of the visible and audible.

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Yeah, no (as they say). Explain Hamish's "active voice" double entendre.

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Hi Marcia, maybe this refers to use of podcasts and audio over the written word - not to mention the decline of 'good handwriting' ...?

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Perhaps. But from what I've observed, the Internet has also made written communication more important than before. Think about the number of people who write emails and texts now compared to how many wrote letters in the old days.

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True, so maybe it would be more apt to say it 'amplifies' the technological supremacy of writing rather than 'threatens' ...? Still, my handwriting never was much to look at - hardly a calligrapher's dream - definitely worse since I now can type what I have to say ... not so personal, but definitely not so messy!! Looking back, I wonder what impact the transition from spoken word to written word had on communication and culture ... and maybe the use of podcasts and audible tech might be filling in that gap ...?

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In some ways, even with dominant language forms like writing, our culture is re-oralizing. Radio, TV, Movies, podcasts are exert influence as oral/aural media into writing rather than vice-versa. That’s part of what’s behind “bad grammar,” though I’m no prescriptionist. Our natural language is spoken so that exerts more influence in language forms than any other. There are thousands of languages in the world but not that many are written.

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Well. ... the printing press is the technology that spread writing. Radio and TV also quite influential. Agree. internet is in a direct line from those other technologies.

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