Do You Write in the Cloud?

by francine Hardaway on November 30, 2009

This week on Leo LaPorte's  excellent podcast about Google and all things cloud, there was a conversation among Mashable's Pete Cashmore, Jeff Jarvis, Gina Trapani, about how they composed their blogs. Almost all of them were composing  in the cloud, with an occasional look back to a text editor. Pete composes in WordPress, Gina composes  in MediaWiki, and Jeff also composes in blogging software. Only Leo even talked about a text editor. No one would dream of composing in Microsoft Word — online or off –because Word doesn't translate well to blogging tools.

That let me to think about the fact that I'm now composing my blog in Gmail. Most of the time, if I don't have illustrations, I compose in an email to Posterous and just send it along from Posterous to my WordPress blog! I don't even go to WordPress anymore. The only time I use something on a desktop is when I'm live blogging a conference and the wi-fi sucks (surprisingly often)–and then I use Evernote, sync it to the cloud, and move it to WordPress.

Why is this important? Because 50 years ago, I started composing on a manual typewriter when most other people composed in longhand and transcribed.  Many famous authors wrote in longhand their entire lives. People thought I was crazy for going straight to the typewriter. But I've gone seamlessly from the typewriter to the word processor (we could dictate into a  Digital Equipment Corporation word processor in the Maricopa Community Colleges in the 70s, when I was a professor.)  They thought I was crazy for dictating instead of typing when I did that.

In 1980, when I got the Apple, it was Bank Street Writer and MacWrite.

And now I'm composing in the cloud. Do you see where I'm going with this? There's a lot of futility and not much benefit in resisting change. Things have gotten easier and easier for me, and I'm writing more and more. Technology hasn't impeded my devotion to the humanities –quite the contrary. It has made both producing and consuming them far more accessible. We will be in the cloud sooner than you know. Even Office Live may be behind the times, especially for publishing..

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