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An End for Typewriters (and an important message about evolution)

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Yesterday, I read some bittersweet news – the very last typewriter manufacturing plant has been closed. Later, I read that there were still production plants in China, Japan, and Indonesia, but the fact remains that after nearly 300 years in existence (and nearly 150 years in mass-production), we’re seeing an end to this tool for writers.

It’s sad because I’m still nostalgic for the little typewriter my dad bought me in fourth grade that I used to peck out, key by key, my first attempts at fiction…but I think there’s an important lesson here about the publishing industry that can be summed up in three words: evolve or die.

For those of you who have been around for a few years, think about how quickly blogging has changed in just the past decade. Would you have ever dreamed that WordPress, Blogger, etc. would be the blogging tools they are today? Could you have dreamed the importance of Twitter or Facebook to bloggers? Heck, when I first started, blogrolls and “buy my a coffee” buttons were all the rage.

Could you imagine if I was still updating my html manually on a site and relying on donations to make money? At one time, that was how bloggers did it – but since then, the bloggers who have wanted to survive have evolved. And the bloggers who haven’t…well, they’ve faded away.

Blogging is still evolving every day. Think about how new plugins and widgets and social media tools are changing the way we share content and connect with readers. I think we have slowed a little since the first days of blogging, but this is still an extremely fast-moving industry.

And this is an industry that is not in the least self-contained. Blogging and social media is relevant to almost every other type of business out there – it’s a marketing and public relation tool for businesses, not just a publishing tool for writers. Companies that choose to ignore this marketing evolution are missing out on some awesome opportunities.

Perhaps one day, it will be more than just a missed opportunity – one day, it might mean that your business fades away, just like a blog that doesn’t evolve. Food for thought.

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