Eye strain, obesity, thrombosis, cyberbullying, and shortened attention spans. According to a certain crop of critics, that is technology in a nutshell. Of course, this innovation has transformed some parts of our lives in less-than-ideal ways. However, I have serious doubts I would have the burgeoning writing career I do today had it not been for the Internet.
For as long as I can recall, I’ve had an undeniable penchant for writing. During my elementary school years, countless notebooks – shreds of my soul – littered my bedroom floor. My sentiments aligned with those of beloved short story writer Toni Cade Bambara, who described writing as a “major tool for self-instruction and self-development.”
However, somewhere along the spectrum of transition from a child to a teenager, writing morphed from a medium of self-expression into a medium of communication. I no longer wanted my essays to be a personal treasure trove tucked deep in my backpack or bedroom. Rather, I wanted these gems to be shared with the world.
Unfortunately, for a teenager, entering the world of journalism isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Without any formal degree, training, or nexus of convenient connections, it’s challenging to get one’s foot in the door. You could have all the passion in the world, but without a distinguished byline or weighty awards to boast of, chances are you won’t be given the time of day.
It escapes my memory now how many emails I’ve received beginning in this fashion: “We thank you for your submission to ________. However, we regret to inform you that we will not be using your piece.” I’m also unable to recall how many times I’ve lamented that my prospects of getting published in an acclaimed national newspaper or magazine were gradually diminishing.
It seemed so easy for someone sitting in a cubicle somewhere to click a button that sent me a rejection email. As a result, I often found myself contemplating, Why couldn’t it be so easy as to click a button that published my work? Then one day it hit me. It was! Comically enough, staring at my email, I remembered that I had a computer. And my computer had Internet. And the Internet had blogs!
Today, there exist millions of blogs on topics as diverse as art and animal science. Blogging is arguably the easiest way to share articles, photos, and videos with people across the globe. According to recent estimates, more than 6.7 million individuals blog, and 77% of Internet users visit blogs – figures that make sense considering sites such as Blogger and Tumblr offer their services for free.
Suffice it to say, I haven’t wasted any time delving into the world of blogging – and digital writing, for that matter. I’ve blogged for platforms including Sparklife, the Huffington Post, and now Platform for Good. I’ve also published my work on websites such as Yahoo! Voices, Teen Ink Magazine, and VoiceAmerica Press Pass. I may be too young to vote, but thanks to technology, I can express my visions, views, and perspectives to people all over the globe.
No doubt, the blogosphere and Internet writing platforms are burgeoning day by day. Folks who never imagined they could have a far-reaching impact – myself included – now can. Technology may have influenced some facets of our world in a manner that isn’t particularly peachy keen. However, I strongly believe that we cannot neglect the positive. The Internet has kindled dreams, sparked careers, and changed lives. I enjoy a life of endless possibility today thanks to the magnificent technological terrain laid out before me.