Digital collaboration is changing the writing world from that of isolated individuals to participators who share information and the financial rewards of their work.
According to Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, authors of Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, no matter what the profession, digital collaboration is the key to success in an ever changing world. It puts all writers on an equal playing field because whether novice or old hand, information and opportunities are available at a keyboard linked to others across the globe.
Uniting Writers and Sources of Information
One of the best examples is Help A Reporter Out, (HARO), a free service that unites writers with sources of information. The reporter or writer fills out a request for information about a particular subject or the need for a quote which is then sent out to people who have registered their credentials in a particular field with HARO.
Instead of just searching Google on a topic, going through a long list of sites, a concise, to the point question entered in the query form is sent to who ever has registered their subject of expertise. The inquiries go directly to Peter Shankman, the owner of the website, who sends them out to the appropriate source. For example, “Need a quote about a hotel that has been LEED certified” query would result in many e-mail messages from hotel marketing personnel with that information.
Eliminating the Search for Publishers
According to Deborah Mitchell, author of over forty books, many of which have been co-authored with medical professionals, including The Wonder of Probotics, digital collaboration for some articles has saved hours of tedious research in finding a publisher. She sees Suite 101.com as a different kind of digital collaboration, one that serves as the middleman between authors and advertisers. Suite 101.com publishes two on-line general interest magazines which offer authoritative articles, reviews and expert commentary written by freelance writers and journalists who, instead of a one-time fee, receive a direct share of lifelong advertising revenue obtained by Suite 101.com
There is no doubt that the Internet and collaboration are major forces in the way research and writing is being done today and will become a more important strategy for evryone involved in the publishing world. The combination is providing opportunities for writers at a time when print magazines and newspaper readership is shrinking and fewer assignments are being offered. For those who grasp and understand how the Internet and collaboration fit together, the future is here and the best is yet to come.