Once upon a time, the main tools for journalists and critics were nothing more than pen and paper, and perhaps a typewriter. Now, there are hyperlinks, Twitter, blogs, Google “hangouts,” a persistently personal online writing voice, e-books, and entirely new patterns of information consumption spawned via the Web. Our stable of production tools has greatly expanded — but what’s the qualitative result? How do social media and the blogosphere shape, improve upon, or detract from journalistic and critical work?
Join Construction magazine at BookCourt on Thursday, October 4th, from 7-9pm, to debate these matters in a panel discussion with four online writers and critics: Stephen Metcalf, Slate columnist and critic-at-large; Maud Newton, blogger and critic; Jacob Silverman, freelance writer (whose recent Slate article “Against Enthusiasm” suggests that social media’s ethos of “following” and “liking” diminishes critical capacities); and Emily Witt, former staff writer at The Observer. The panel will be moderated by Construction editor Masha Udensiva-Brenner.
In the spirit of examining social media and blogs as literary tools, we will live-tweeting updates from the panel using the hashtag #CyberAgeLit. The following day, Construction will publish a follow-up blog report. That week, it will also be updated with photos and video of the event.
Come thirsty for dialogue as well as for wine, which will be served at the event.
- Stephen Metcalf is Slate’s critic-at-large and the host of its weekly Culture Gabfest podcast. He has written for the New York Times, New York Observer, and New York magazine, and has worked as speechwriter for Hillary Clinton.
- Maud Newton is a writer and critic whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Bookforum, Narrative, the New York Times Book Review, The Awl, Granta, The Paris Review Daily, The Los Angeles Times, Swink, The Boston Globe, Barnes & Noble Review, and many other publications. She was awarded the 2009 Narrative Prize for “When the Flock Changed,” an excerpt from her novel-in-progress. She started blogging in May 2002, tweeting in June 2008, and her first website in 1996. In February of this year she co-founded The Chimerist, a site devoted to the intersection of art, stories, and technology through the lens of the iPad.
- Jacob Silverman is a freelance journalist and book critic in New York. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Slate, and many other publications. He grew up in Los Angeles and writes about books, the politics of culture, and, occasionally, TV, documentaries, and drones.
- Emily Witt is a freelance writer living in New York. She was a staff writer at The New York Observer and the Miami New Times. Her work has appeared in n+1, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Nation, Marie Claire, and others.
- Masha Udensiva-Brenner is an editor and founder of Construction magazine. Her work has appeared in Construction, Narrative, and Anderbo.com, and others.