A good session on creativity is underway, starting with author Paulo Coelho, who is also optimistic about the impact of the internet on writing. He talks about how the internet is changing language: we write “4” for “for.” “Aren’t you afraid the internet is going to destroy the langauge?” he asks himself. “Well, no, a language is a living thing.”
Then he talks about copyright and says the horse is long out of the barn. He put up a book on the internet that has passed 100 million downloads. Yes, I got the number right. He loves alledged pirates who spread his books because it gives him readers and, he says, improves sales.
But the most important impact of the internet on his creation is social. “For the first time in my life i can interact with my readers,” he gloats.
He blogs and Flickrs and Facebooks — more than Martha Stewart, I’ll wager — and is working on a collaborative movie made with the public with Burda.
He tells a story about the party he throws once a year in an out-of-the-way place in Spain and how he decided to invite 10 blog readers, the first 10 to respond to his blogged invitation. They responded from all around the world. He got nervous that they’d think he was supposed to fly them in. No, they wanted to fly themselves in, one from Japan, another an American soldier in Iraq. He had a great time and is doing it again.
You see, he explains, 100 million readers are a mere abstraction when you sit and write and create. The internet lets him meet and speak with these people eye-to-eye. That makes any change in language or fear of copyright well worth it.