Month: January 2014

Writing Techne

In Bolter’s article “Writing as Technology” he cites the differences in cultural literacy. Our backgrounds with reading and writing contributes to our understanding “… that language can have a visual as well as an aural dimension, that words can be recorded and shown to others who are not present…” People who read often or who come from highly literate cultures reveal their literacy level when they are reading or writing. Illiterate people “are denied access to language” as educated people speak in combination of colloquial and literary terms.

Bolter’s also comments on the technologies related to writing, such as the pen, paper, parchment, quill, printing press, and computer and our relationship as writers to technology. If we were to distance ourselves from the computer we would still be connected to technology through the manufacturing process of the pen. He states that technologies do not invade the mind, technologies “are natural in the sense that they are constituted by the interaction of physical materials and human practices.” No computer can function as a writing space without a writer; computers are not generative beings, they required outside input.

Advancement in Writing Technologies

A response to J.D. Bolter‘s ‘Introduction: Writing in the late age of print’ and ‘Writing as technology’.

In our university, there is an Introduction to Writing Arts class, a class designed for Writing Arts majors with an interesting twist to it. The class is divided into three “modules”, where three separate professors teach three separate topics to three different groups of students within the class, on a rotation basis. Mildly confusing, but interesting. Currently, we’re in our first module, “Technologies and the Future of Writing”, which as you might have guessed, deals with writing on the internet and how writing is changed and is changing because of it. For our first assignment, our professor instructed to read two articles by J.D. Bolter, titled “Introduction: Writing in the late age of print” and “Writing as technology”. Bolter is a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he is the Wesley Chair of New Media, and he also is the Director of the Wesley New Media Center.

Writing has always been a malleable entity, though it never changed without a fair amount of fighting within the community; there are always the cries of how ebooks will destroy printed books, or how print books will destroy the chalk slate, and on and on for centuries back to when writing was first invented and threatened to destroy the oral culture. But, as Bolter states in “Introduction: Writing in the late age of print”, “Because of the tension between print and digital forms, the idea of the book is changing. For most of us today, the printed book remains the embodiment of text…we still regard books and journals as the place to locate our most prestigious texts.” (pg. 3) We, as writers and readers, will love the text more than the package it comes in.

Bolter also states in his “Writing as technology” paper that, “Our technical relationship to the writing space is always with us as readers and writers. Literacy is, among other things, the realization that language can have a visual as well as an aural dimension…” (pg. 16). He goes on to mention how as literate people, we know that what we say can be written down and continue to live there, even though what we have said is long over. Words will always be eternal, especially if written. Technologies of writing go beyond just the computer; it encompasses modern day pen and paper, medieval parchment and quills, and all the way back to ancient papyrus and reed pens. But it doesn’t stop there: it goes on to include the lips and tongue. As Bolter mentions, again in “Writing as technology”, “…however, oral poetry is no more natural than writing, just as writing with pen and paper is no more natural, no less technological, than writing on a computer screen….It is not the complexity of the devices that matters so much as the technical or literate frame of mind”.

As long as we have stories to share, writing will never become obsolete, even if the technologies to do so change. A good story will always be adaptable, and so it will always be eternal.

The Longevity of Literacy

In Bolter’s article he states that “Literacy is, among other things, realization that language can have a visual as well as an aural dimension, that one’s words can be recorded and shown to others who are not present, perhaps not even alive, at the time of the recording.” I loved this quote because it really is true. If you think about it, literacy and language have been around for far more many years than we, of the modern day, have, yet we use it every day. Life would be impossible without language. Every day language and literacy are somehow used. Whether it’s reading or sending a text, reading an advertisement, reading a street sign, writing your name, etc. there are endless ways that we use literacy every day. Thinking about how many years between the beginning of language creation and today may seem unfathomable  but what is even more unfathomable is that some of the language we use today is the same if not extremely similar to the language that was used then. Because of many ways of documentation, we are able to see that. From the very beginnings of literature ,there have been ways of recording it to share with others. Some works have been so well kept that we, people of today can still have the opportunity to read them long after their authors passed. That is the incredible thing about literacy and language. Each passing time period has it’s own progression in the documentation of literacy, but each new progression makes it easier and easier for the future generations to share the knowledge and writings of their ancestors. To me that is absolutely incredible, and one of the most exciting things about literacy and developments in technology. I also liked when he said “ No technology, not even the apparently autonomous computer, can ever function as a writing space in the absence of human writers and readers.” I completely agree with this statement. Throughout the time of literacy many advances in technology have been made, but no matter how advanced the technology may become, nothing will replace the human writer. The computer is an amazing piece of technology, but without the human, it would not be able to produce quality writing. The computer and other technologies are merely tools to aid the writing and reading process. The computer is just an advanced technology making it easier to permanently document thoughts. I agree that these writing and reading tools will never be able to replace the human writer and reader.

Technology: Taking Over

Technology is taking over little by little. It is growing all the while becoming more and more intelligent, in which soon enough it will be able to do just about anything for us. Just about everyone who was born in this generation knows how to operate anything electronic while some of the elder generations are still struggling to “catch up.” I know my mother is one of those, she wants to try to “fit in” by knowing all about her phone of iPad, but it is very hard for her, which is why it just results into her doing it her way and how they used to back in her day. Bolter stated in Writing in the Late Age of Print, “The computer has been consistently advancing since its introduction in the 1980s. It began as another form of production for printed books and types documents but now gives us the ability to stray away from print.” Many people will argue that it’s easier to read and portable when on the computer or a screen. Books have been made easier because of the computer and its advances. This may also cut down on the way we communicate with others. Although I find it a lot easier to communicate and read things in person or in-hand others can argue against it. Some may say that it is faster and easier to communicate or publish things this way. The older generations are not accustom to that, in which some still go to libraries to check-out books instead of downloading it online. In Bolter’s article Writing he mentions this issue again. He states, “Digital technology is turning out to be one of the more remediation in the history of Western writing. One reason is that digital technology changes the “look” and “feel” of writing and reading.” This newer generation does not take into consideration about how technology has grown. This generation has grown to be a lot lazier and impatient when it comes to technology and its uses. This can not only damage our/their health, but slowly breakdown the knowledge about on certain things. For example, spelling before there was spell-check we had to figure out exactly how to spell things and remember it. Now a days we simply begin to type a word and the  electronic device whether it be a phone or computer can correct it for you. I must say that I am a fan of technology, but at times I feel as though it may be dumbing me down.