Month: March 2014

140 Character Stories

Twitter is such an interesting device. I use it, mainly, to follow friends and favorite authors of mine. Among them is Maureen Johnson, YA author and resident silly-person. She actively fights for gender equality and basic human rights, as well as posting silly pictures of her puppy, Zelda.

She’s one of the main reasons I stay and visit Twitter often.

And when I had to contact a professional in the field, I figured it should be her. So I did!

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I haven’t heard back. But I’m still hopeful!

Technology and the Future of Writing – Prezi

I made a Prezifor our class. Below, is the narrative!

The auto advance should be at 10 seconds, but it doesn’t sync with the prezi after the second “slide”. It goes to the Bolter slide too early and I was unsure of how to fix it without having to  upload multiple recordings and make it so that it went along with each path.

Once upon a time, there was a princess. The princess had a story to tell about her cat, so she had a scribe come to the castle. She told him her story and he wrote it down and gave it to the bards so they could sing the story to the whole kingdom. Today, that princess has access to Facebook, Twitter and blogging sites like WordPress or Weebly. So when she wants to get the story of her cat out into the world, she can pick and choose any medium she wants.

So how do we survive in the world wide web where we have dozens of choices for writing technologies? The trick is that there’s no need to survive. We’re doing better than we ever have before in terms of publishing our stories. With millions of books and stories published annually, we’ve come a long way since the days of scribes and bards; the literacy rate has taken huge leaps in the last few centuries. As J.D. Bolter states in his article “Writing As Technology”, “…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.”

Bibliophiles will argue to their final breath over whether the printed book is superior to the ebook or not. But when it comes to getting a story, a message, or a lesson out into the world, what does it matter? When someone has something to say, they’ll find a way to get it out to others through any means necessary. So when a princess wants to talk about the silly thing her cat did, what does it matter if she calls the scribe or opens up Facebook? If Facebook gets the message out quicker and easier, it’s clearly the best choice.

So wouldn’t that make her her own scribe? Wouldn’t that, in turn, make every person who has ever posted to Facebook or WordPress a writer? That answer is yes. Our technologies are changing, literacy is becoming more and more prevalent in the world, so the definition of a “writer” changes too. Not everyone who uses Facebook or runs their own blog gets paid, but then again, not everyone who publishes their own book gets paid either.

No one can deny that things are different now in the reading world than they were ten, twenty and even thirty years ago. “On the Go” meant something completely different in the 20th century than it does now. Who would have thought that I could check my email, read the latest news articles, learn that we’re out of milk while I walked to my next class, all on the same device that weighs less than five ounces? I can buy and download five new books in under 2 minutes while stuck in traffic on the interstate. I can check any updates from any websites that I like through services like Zite or  Feedly. I can save things to read later with the Pocket app; I can share it all with Twitter. It feels like anything is possible now. And who knows what we’ll be able to accomplish in another twenty years?

Technology: What will they come up with next?

I made a Prezi, which for those who don’t know is a PowerPoint, but just a little more entertaining for my class.

The entire project provided background on what I think writing has come and changed to. Throughout the class we had to make Twitter accounts, for those who didn’t have them, and put it to use. I’ve always heard about Twitter and how useful it was but never took the time to find out for myself. This class has introduced me to a whole different world and I am thankful I’ve had the chance to do so. Here’s a sample of the things discussed within my Prezi.

-We as a society sometimes cannot handle the amount of access we have when it comes to information  and writing through technology. Technology is growing and slowly changing our meaning of what the definition of writing is to us.

-Throughout the years we’ve seen writing as something hand-written on a piece of paper or something that could be transferred through a type writer.

-Now-a-days our technology has taken over and replaced, in a sense, these old techniques into something most of us find much for complicated, but easier quicker and more useful.

-We came from old techniques such as going to the local library looking through many books in order to find certain information that you are looking for …

…Now simply going to the internet on either your computer at home or your cell phone and looking up information on your topic and having access to anything that relates to that particular thing.

-This fact that technology is growing has advanced our research techniques as well as ways to connect to people.

-We now have these things called social networks. I was not aware that we have as many social networks as we do. Some of which consists of : Facebook, Zite, Primastic,Twitter, FourSquare Linkedin,and many many more.

-I believe their goal was to create a community into specific topics, which are the ones we research, while connecting their social networks. This is a sort of message Nardi & O’Day express in their article “Information Ecologies.” The idea that participants of an information ecology can establish the identity and place of the technologies that are found there.

-We also now have places we can store these articles or information we have gotten a hold of for our pieces. Instead of notepads and voice recordings we have programs such as Storify or Feedly.

 What will they come up with next?! I will admit I am a little scared, but at the same time excited about what else can come from what we already have.

Tweets to/from Literary Agents

On February 15, 2014, I tweeted at 15 different Literary Agents/Agencies, asking “What is the best background to have if I want to become a literary agent?” 13 ignored me. The two who responded to me, Jessica Faust from Book Ends and Red Sofa Literary, were helpful and also short.

Jessica Faust answered my question point blank with the advice to get an internship at a publishing company. When I asked where Book Ends was located she just said New Jersey. Book Ends‘ website also only lists “New Jersey” but does not say where.

Red Sofa Literary, however, tweeted back many times and eventually gave me the website bookjobs.com, where I could find not only jobs in publishing but also internships.