Week 6: The Democratization Of Literature
Hi everyone, this week I explored the concept of the democratization of literature.
While meeting with my project advisor, Mr. Hansen, he explained to me the conflicting process of democratIzation, or in other words, giving the people what they want. I had expressed doubts about my project in that I felt I was being too critical about TikTok and its effects on literature. While I do believe it results in extreme polarization and a decrease in general book diversity, I also noticed how it encouraged people to read more and exposed younger audiences to various book titles. Therefore, I felt uncomfortable advancing upon the critical stance I had previously aligned with. Mr. Hansen advised that I analyze on a basis of overview, rather than on a basis of judgment, which I will try to do so from now on.
Giving the people the power to choose has a shiny and rusty side, in that on one hand it’s always good to deconcentrate power and knowledge, but on the other hand this may lead to unwanted consequences. For example, while more people have started reading because of ‘BookTok’ and more authors are able to self-publish because of ‘BookTok,’ making entering the literary world much easier, genres are abandoned and cliques formed as people follow their natural instinct of banding together. Because it is now completely up to the regular individual to determine which book tops the bestselling list and subsequently earns the most money, authors and publishing houses are starting to write following such trends, churning out thousands of low-quality, unoriginal novels all of the same formula and genre. Those who specialize in genres such as literary fiction and classical poetry are given the short end of the stick as authors such as Colleen Hoover and Rupi Kaur reign king. Because entering into the humanities is not a lucrative field by itself, many authors may become disillusioned as they find they may not be able to become published simply because their novel is not marketable in a digital world. I believe that while ‘BookTok’ may be beneficial as a casual source for book recommendations and for generally younger audiences, people should try to be aware of the types of media they consume and strive to diversify their reading habits and support ‘non-trendy’ book type, especially as they mature.
Ultimately, with the rapid advancement of all sorts of technology and the digitization of everything in sight, change within the literary world is inevitable. ‘BookTok’ is especially interesting because it is promoting an ‘intellectual’ activity that requires active attention on the very platform that eats away at the ability for one to focus. Because of its sheer popularity however, ‘BookTok’ is far from being the worst change to occur. Only time can tell how deeply it will affect writing and reading trends.
Next week I will focus on creating a quote outline for my final paper and analyze the case of Jonathan Franzen.
Thank you for reading!