The Cat Writers’ Association Faces New Changes and Challenges in the Communications Environment of Today

Deb-BarnesLike it or not, our world is in a constant flux of change and this is a fact that is especially relevant to those of us who are members of the Cat Writers’ Association. The days of newspapers, film developing, hard cover books, and typewriters are virtually gone. Magazines are becoming thinner, often nothing but a billboard for ads, and journalism has been reduced to an instant, touch of the button world from the eyes of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and the like.

Many of us are of the in-between age where we have a love-hate relationship with this new world. We mourn the demise of the print world and hard hitting journalism, but we also realize that the technology of our computers and iPhones gives us a vast audience that we might not otherwise ever reach. For those in the field of cat rescue and advocacy, for example, we are able to distribute a wealth of information on the benefits of spay/neuter via videos, pictures, or written information – all in the click of a button. The likes of Grumpy Cat have become Internet sensations and while that might not appear to be journalism, the point is, social technology has brought cats to a mind boggling level of recognition.

I bring this all up because as our annual Cat Writers’ Contest comes up, the rules, categories, and submission requirements have to be re-examined to reflect the current times. The contest committee is doing their best to put together a compilation of fair-minded rules to reflect this new world in which print copy is being rapidly replaced by such entities as blogs, websites, and online magazines, but it is not easy. We are all caught in that vortex of trying to understand a new playing field that some of us are more familiar with than others while living in an old world that we do not want to entirely give up.

The bottom line is that regardless of our personal feelings or how little or how much we know about the new commutations environment, change will keep on happening and it doesn’t wait for us to catch up. We just have to make our own choice as to how we handle that. We can either embrace change – some of us taking the bull by the horns and defining the path, or we can adapt to it to whatever degree we are most comfortable with, or we can reject it entirely and live in a world that will eventually become obsolete as we know it.

It all reminds me of years ago when my Great-Great Grandmother saw television for the first time. I was in my pajamas in front of the TV and she was horrified because she was certain the people on the screen could see me. That is how I felt with Facebook – I didn’t like the concept – I found it invasive and I fought it tooth and nail until one day I decided to take the plunge and as a result I have enriched my life with people, friends, and information to a level I never thought possible.

But I am still not quite there – for me, nothing is better than the old-fashioned touch and feel of a real book in my hands and I have yet to buy a Kindle or Nook. But I am also in the throes of writing another book – unlike the first one I wrote that I stubbornly refused to offer as an e-book, this one I will… Nothing like the practicality of sales and readership to get a girl to jump on the bandwagon of change…

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