Inconsiderately Polite

College Students' Views on Etiquette Online

Bye Bye to Books?

The two readings by J.D. Bolter, from his book Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print,  allowed me to further understand the transition from print to the digital age, which benefits me greatly because this is the topic I chose to write about for Dr. Tweedie’s Big Assignment in my Intro to Writing Arts class at Rowan University. Both of these chapters have allowed me to further support my thesis in that paper, that the concept of reading has changed with every new technology and will continue to change. As we have already learned from the previous modules of the Intro to Writing Arts class, people always argue against the newest technology, but what really stuck out to me was when Bolter stated “ printing did displace handwriting, in the sense that the printed book became the most highly valued form of writing.” (2). He goes on to explain later that the same thing has happened between printing and technology, “Both as authors and as readers, we still regard books and journals as the place to locate our most prestigious texts” (3) but the shift from print to the computer is still happening at a rapid pace.

I enjoyed reading these pieces by Bolter because it put into words exactly how I feel about the change between print and technology. There change is inevitable, and maybe printed text will still exist in my lifetime, but I truly believe one day it won’t. I also truly believe that is okay. Reading and writing has continuously adjusted with every new technology, so there is no reason that should not continue. In fact, writing itself was once considered a technology. Plato

himself described the alphabet as a “techne” which is the greek root of technology (Bolter 15).

jban37lThe part of this reading that I found most interesting was when Bolter started to discuss the idea of writing being “virtual.” When I think of something being virtual, I immediately think of something that has to do with computers and the internet. However, Bolter states that, “ electronic writing may also be virtual, yet all previous writing technologies were virtual as well” (18).  I liked this thought because I feel that it further supports the transition from printed text to digital text is a natural transition for writing and should be a natural transition for humans.

My favorite quote from both of these chapters is when Bolter says, “Digital media are refashioning the printed book” (3). I believe that this quote sums up what I have read in these chapters. Digital media is changing how we read, how we produce written work, how we layout out written work, and many other aspects that relate to writing and reading.

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A Shift in Time: How Writing Technologies are Changing the Way We Write

Bolter talks about the change in writing that is occurring because of the introduction of new technologies.  In his article Writing as a Technology he says that, “It is not a question of seeing writing as an external technological force that influences or changes cultural practice; instead, writing is always a part of culture” (Bolter 19).  Throughout time, I have noticed that the space I choose to write in has changed.  I used to write drafts to my work by hand, and then go to a computer.  Now, I start typing drafts from the computer immediately.  I think for me it is easier because I can type as fast as I’m thinking, and I something I have wrote with more flexibility.  Bolter notes this flexibility as a quality that makes the computer different from printed material, and that we may begin to associate more with this quality as we use the computer more (Bolter 3).  While writing was always a part of my culture, the way and space that I write in has taken on a different form because writing as a technology is transforming.  I think another way that technology impacts the world today, as Bolter says in his article Writing as Technology is that, “the sum of the technical and social interactions that constitute a writing system” are changing the technology of writing (Bolter 20).

For myself, I think that social media has allowed me to see that it is not only the writer that writes something for people to see, but then the readers can respond, creating a world of connection and constant communication between people.  When I look on Twitter, I see all of the original tweets, but it is the reader’s responses that create the conversation and allow for more reader involvement than there is with printed text.  As Bolter puts it, “such tensions between monumentality and changeability and between the tendency to magnify the author and to empower the reader have already become part of our current economy of writing” (4).  This shows the impact that blogs and social media have on writing and how it is changing the way we communicate.  Not only that, but, electronic writings “permit the reader to share in the dynamic process of writing and to alter the voice of text” (Bolter 9).  What the writer initially writes may change due to the voice of the readers that join in while, the writing space that is formed by the computer is “animated, visually complex, and malleable in the hands of both the writer and reader” (Bolter 13).  This forms the social connections that not only myself, but everyone around the world has with each other.  When new media develops, they try to claim that they can improve our lives in some way or how we connect with others.  As consumers of this media, we fall in this trap, because I think are always looking for easier and faster ways to connect with others in this new age of technology.

More on Bolter from his book “Writing Spaces:  Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print”

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