In a world where everyone’s a critic because otherwise they wouldn’t quite exist, isn’t it inevitable that we will someday soon begin to review each other? Shteyngart’s Lenny, freshly returned to New York after spending a year in Rome, scrambles to get caught up on the latest social technologies, terrified that he’ll lose his job if he seems old and behind the times. “Learn to rate everyone around you,” a colleague barks, “Get your data in order.” This is, of course, a vamp on the bewildering instructions every novelist gets from his or her publisher these days: You need to be on Twitter, on Facebook, blogging. The fact that authors are able to write books precisely because they aren’t spending hours every day online tends to get lost in the hunt for new ways to shore up sales.
That is Laura Miller writing in The Guardian.
It goes partway in explaining why I am spending my weekend in Addis finishing a paper I’ve been trying to write for six years.