Great piece from 2005 where Goldsmith tries to convince academics (“not painters, potters, printmakers, book artists or metal workers. Yet.”) to make all of their work freely available online. He cites the fact that he’s never made any money off of his experimental work, but by having it online, he’s been exposed to a wider readership and received numerous invitations to speak and travel:
I make sure to post everything I publish on paper on the internet. While I have never received one cent from my experimental writing, due to the web, I have traveled the world extensively with all expenses paid, garnered honorariums and, most importantly, I’ve connected with an interested readership — a peer group, really — in an admittedly obscure endeavor. Without the internet, a writer in my position would never exist in quite the same way.
He then encourages his colleagues to put aside their fears of getting ripped off and start blogging:
Blogging opens up instantaneous discourse with a group of like-minded thinkers. We all know of colleagues who post chapters-in-progress of their latest books on their blogs. Older proprietary ways of thinking would condemn this practice with the fear that your ideas would be swiped, brought quickly to the marketplace, rendering your efforts useless. On the contrary, what happens is the opposite. Like any twelve-step program alumnus knows: words are deeds. By showing your commitment to these ideas publicly, they are acknowledged by a given community as being yours. If it’s available to the whole world, then anyone trying to swipe your ideas will be outed by the public knowledge that you’re the one who has been working on this subject. Academic bloggers find that their community of readers often act as fact-checkers or engage the blogger in instantaneous debate over specific points before the book reaches the concretized state of print. Instant feedback on your work: does it get any better than that?
Finally, he “drop[s] a real secret” and claims that “the new radicalism is paper”:
Publish it on a printed page and no one will ever know about it. It’s the perfect vehicle for terrorists, plagiarists, and for subversive thoughts in general. In closing, if you don’t want it to exist — and there are many reasons to want to keep things private — keep it off the web.