August 18, 2014 § 2 Comments
On sites like Medium, Longform, Narratively and The Magazine, longer essays and journalism that goes deeper than a listicle are alive and kicking. Medium functions as a blogging site + famous writers, categorizing articles to make it easy to connect from one writer’s perspective to another. Narratively and The Magazine feel similar to printed issues, scheduling groups of new stories and notifying free and paid subscribers via email. Longform links to new and archived material, with most of their pieces coming from the websites of print journalism sources like Vanity Fair.
But are essays and essayists served by the new emphasis on longer forms in ephemeral and yet minutely trackable media?
In The Essay and the Internet, Orit Gat argues
…what we need is a shift in attitude toward reading online. Look at the language we use: the verbs we associate with reading online, like ‘bookmark’ and ‘scroll’, come from the physical word of books. ‘Longform’ and ‘longread’ are actually some of the first web-specific terms associated with reading that we have come up with. And with that comes the interesting assumption that rigor is built into length.
Ms. Gat questions whether we are reading less and publishing more, and asks, just because we can publish on the internet, should we?