Technology consistently upgrades our standard of living, often in ways that we inevitably take for granted shortly after.
One of the best upgrades of the past few decades for so-called individual contributors like myself has been the extent to which we can now publish our work, receive feedback, and move forward in the process of perfecting our art. All within a few days or weeks rather than months or years.
In the old days, people like us worked in solitude or with the feedback of only a few confidants. A wider audience would evaluate the work only at major milestones: when a story was published, when an illustration was printed, or when a piece of software had passed through so many internal hoops and jumps that a publishing company agreed to release it to the open market.
These days, people who are confident they can do good work face one primary obstacle: the challenge of doing that good work. When the job is done, or even half-done, a dozen, hundreds, or thousands of eager constituents stand ready to judge it.
That’s terribly frightening and terribly enlivening. No more waiting for permission to share your thoughts, arts, or inventions with the world. And no more excuses for holding back. Got something to give? Put it out there and see what sticks.
Of course this freedom of expression comes at a cost: anybody can publish anything at any time. Most of it will be terrible, and much of it will be of lower quality than the highly-edited content of yesteryear. On the one hand, it encourages flippant blog posts like this, where perhaps the content should have gone through more than a ten-minute review process. On the other hand? Nobody with something profound to share should ever be silenced again.