As a junior in college and soon to be twenty-one year old, you would think that by now I would know the in’s and out’s of the ever-evolving digital world that surrounds me. I am afraid to say that is surely not the case. While I am completely submerged in writing (especially having a minor in English and Writing Arts), communicating through the use of technology is still fairly new to me. At times it becomes extremely frustrating having to accommodate a professor’s request of using Twitter and other social media sites in order to keep up with the vast resources that link the community of writing together.
…all the while I remain to practically be a cave (wo)man when it comes to this form of communication. (Indeed, I am poking fun at myself. Professors: please take my sass as a form of comic relief! Peace and love.)
Whether one likes it or not, change is inevitable and that is a common theme in Jay David Bolter’s essay Writing as Technology. Writing is no longer limited to past materials. It is constantly expanding and adapting to the needs of writers and readers. As Bolter expressed, “The writer always needs a surface on which to make his or her marks and a tool with which to make them, and these materials become part of the contemporary definition of writing” (Bolter 15-16). This being said, whichever material is in use at one given moment quite possibly could be replaced by another in a matter of seconds. If we consider technology as today’s standard material used for writing (i.e. blogs, social media, apps, texts, web pages, etc.), we can infer that yes: currently technology defines writing. Thus, we can also infer that in our lifetime an ever-greater form will surpass this choice of medium, hence redefining the “contemporary definition of writing.” The way I see, the purpose of writing— no mater the culture or generation— is to document and express thoughts, ideas, feelings, concepts, and stories. I agree with Bolter when he says, “Electronic writing may also be virtual, yet all previous writing technologies were virtual as well, in the sense that they invited writers and readers to participate in an abstract space of signs” (Bolter 18). To put it more bluntly, changing the way we write is like reinventing the wheel: same concept just a different way of going about it.
After reading Bolter’s essay, I suppose I should quit feeling so overwhelmed by all the new resources that are so conveniently available on my laptop and smart phone. Instead, I should embrace these “techy” devices and use them to their utmost capabilities in order to enrich, develop, and gain a better understanding both as a student and writer. To quote the great Bob Dylan, “The times they are a-changin’.” He may not have tweeted this from his iPhone or MacBook, but hey! I am sure he would’ve if he could’ve. http://williamwolff.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/bolter-writing-20011.pdf