For writers who want to write and publish their own work, it is not enough to simply make it accessible online, writers now are involved in their own publicity, and that is done increasingly through knowledge of how to use social and/or connective media. The urgency for greater digital knowledge for communicators is clearly evident in the leaked NYT memo – http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/225939/internal-memo-shows-nyt-under-siege.html – For writers who get employed as journalists or in public relations, knowledge of how to use social apps is an increasingly required skill. TV and radio announcers now routinely use material found on the web, and politics and elections are shaped by Twitter and other web apps that contribute to “going viral”. Nobody who aspires to be a writer or have a position that requires writing should be without at least a basic hands-on knowledge of the interactive ecosphere of the internet.
As the social and connective aspect of the web is both relatively new and constantly evolving, the way to learn about it demands constant research, especially of routinely updated and emerging apps. Just the reference to apps implies that what needs to be researched would be primarily based on mobile use of phones and tablets. (Mobile devices are about to become the dominant mode of access to the internet.)
Writers need to discover people and curating services to follow. We need to regularly check RSS feeds, social blogs such as WordPress.com and Tumblr, podcasts, curations such as ScoopIt, personalized collections such as Zite, and digital or paper newspapers, magazines and TV. Learning where and how to keep abreast of emerging changes would allow writers to be constantly engaging in professional development.
With a working knowledge of a variety of social sites and apps and practise in keeping current in the areas they specialize in, writers can be confident they can survive this tsunami of information.
*Started on a tablet, in a browser, but finished on a laptop