Week 2 – History of Publishing

My confidence is high after my first successful blog post and I want to try and keep the ball rolling this week! Week 2 in the ARTS2090 course dealt with the history and transformation of publishing, from printing, all the way to the digital and networked media. Now smoke signals and hieroglyphs aren’t really my strong suit, but can tell you that older forms of publishing often left a large amount of power in the publisher’s hands, and often held a ‘monopoly of knowledge’ in terms of information. But now, that has changed, as the public is able to research their own information and make their own decision based on the publications that they see and can empathize with.

Elizabeth Eisenstein writes that with a greater abundance of information available, people have an increased opportunity to consult and compare different texts, whereas in the past, editorial decisions made by early printers helped to reorganize the thinking of readers. With the great technological shift of recent times, major media platforms such as the internet and  devices such as tablets have made publishing easier due to the wide variety of options available to the public, allowing them to make their own decision on the topic depending on what they have read, rather than what has been forced down their throats!

Digital and networked media has seen a complete shift in power towards society, rather than  a central media platform. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter dominate the publishing sphere on the internet as it is quick and easy to get your opinion across to both your followers and the general public. These sites have completely transformed the relationship between the publisher and the audience, as it is no longer a linear process, but a more organic structure that blurs the lines between being a part of the public or becoming a publisher yourself, altering the power publishers used to hold over their audience.


The alphabet in its simplest form!

Again, time to finish with our word of the week, alphabet. The only thing I can say about this is that we have to use it to publish our thoughts, and it is one of the only things that has remained fairly consistent through the transformation of publishing from past to present. I imagine it will be around for a little while longer too!


Eisenstein, E. (1979) “Defining the initial shift: some features of print culture”, in The Printing Press as an Agent of Change vol. 1, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 43-163


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