October 24, 2017
Professor Sarah Kersh
Does Digital Writing Matter?
In 1981, the first IBM PC was introduced to the public. In 1989, the world wide web was created. In 1992 a 22-year-old sent the first text message to wish someone a “Merry Christmas.” And in 1997, Nokia became the first manufacturer to produce a cell phone with a full keyboard. All these inventions would soon launch a world of technology and introduce the world to digital writing.
Writing itself has been around for quite some time. So, what exactly is “digital writing?” What makes Digital writing so different? Digital writing is the creation of the internet and technology and all that those things encompass. When I say encompass I am talking about all that technology and the internet offer. Some of their offerings include hypermedia. Hypermedia “includes graphics, audio, video, plain text and hyperlinks” (Diagostino 96). Hypermedia is what I would argue makes digital writing because it has advanced and become widely available. It has created a world where the web is “not just communication but for interaction.” (Diagostino 97).
That is what digital writing is all about. It is a world where writing is done to connect and interact with others. We see digital writing everywhere from text messaging, blogs, social media and so much more. It has quickly become popular and a part of our daily lives because of this reason. But, everything apart of our lives is not necessarily important or good. Does digital writing even matter?
Digital writing comes with its pros and cons. As stated before digital writing does a great job at helping people form connections with one another and interact daily. However, digital writing also does a great job at keeping people less engaged.
To start off, Digital has helped us form connections and interact with one another daily. Through text messaging, comment sections, blogs, and more, people can be far away from others and still connect and communicate. “The Driver in the Driverless Car” notes that technology and digital writing “are enabling rapid communication and processing of information, ushering in unprecedented shifts—in everything from biology, energy, and media to politics, food, and transportation” (Wadhwa, Salkever 11). Digital writing is advancing our society one blog, one message, at a time. Digital writing has impacted every field and will continue to do so. It is embedded in our society. It is how we communicate.
Although digital writing brings people together, it also distracts us. This can be said for technology in general. However, when digital writing includes hypertext, graphics, pictures, and occurs on social platforms that are easily linked to other social platforms by a click these things distract us on a whole new level. If you were to observe any blog, you are most likely to see multiple ads on the side that cater to your interest. These things easily disturb people from taking part in what they are using digital writing for, to begin with. This is especially the case when reading and or writing blogs. We no longer pay attention while reading and writing digitally Dagostino says, “For anyone who imagined that computers would make writing easier, the irony is that by making a host of individual tasks easier, computers have dramatically expanded options for writers and probably have made writing, and learning to write, more complex” (Diagostino 100). Because so many things are accessible to digital writers they cannot focus as much when writing. In ” Writing Resilience in the Digital Age” Wilkins admits that some of the writers she surveyed said that they could not focus. One writer admitted”‘Facebook. I am addicted to the “room full of people” it presents’;‘I GET SO DISTRACTED’” (Wilkins 72). Diagostino points out, “The nature of reading for online platforms is actually “scanning,” described as looking at words, headings or sections of pages, often out of order, focusing on only some of the words and skipping the rest” (Diagostino 97). Ultimately people of the digital writing age have become lazier and less attentive.
Even so, digital writers are still engaged in writing regardless of how lazy they have become. “In defense of writing: a social semiotic
perspective on digital media, literacy and
learning” argues that digital writers are still very much creative. It states, “To sum up, we can say that the study shows that digital media open up two simultaneous possibilities for pupils. Firstly, the possibility of creating a more advanced (multimodal) text and secondly, the possibility of creating this text with less semiotic work than before.” (“ In Defense”5). So, although digital writing may hinder readers and writers throughout the process of writing, it does not hinder the end goal of successfully reading or writing digitally. Digital writing is still done well.
Some may automatically conclude that while digital writing can produce so many benefits it does not matter since it produces a wide range of negatives. Digital writing has made us lazier and distracted. So much so, that we cannot even engage in digital writing or reading digital writing to the best of our ability. However, digital writing still matters in our society today.
When discussing the effects of technology, “The Shallows” argues that it is not the technology that matters but “how we use it that matters…we’re in control” ( Carr 3). I think the same thing for digital writing. Digital writing is being used in a beautiful way. It connects us all globally. It keeps us informed. It helps us act in cohesiveness. That outweighs the negatives.
Digital writing is embedded in our society today. It has become our main form of communication. It is how we interact with one another. It has become a part of everything we do. It is how we tell our stories, how we find love, how we educate ourselves, how we find jobs, how we learn needed skills for our jobs. Some may argue that digital writing is not like traditional writing. I would agree with that. However, that is purposeful. As beautiful as traditional writing is, it did not and does not have the power of digital writing. Digital writing transcends. Digital writing is this generations form of traditional writing but in a more expansive way. For those who are against digital writing and technology overall, they may need to step aside. Because digital writing is here to stay and will continue to have a global impact on our society by constantly connecting us through many fields.
Part 2: The Benefit of Digital Writing Classes
Since Digital Writing is here to stay, many classes are being offered for people to deal learn it hands on. Classes about the digital writing can offer many things.Speaking from personal experience, one thing I noticed it has helped me gain is an appreciation for writing overall. When I think of writing, I think of my English classes in high school and critically acclaimed books. I think of prestige. Proper grammar, citations, the whole nine. However, none of these things come to mind when I think of digital writing. When I think of digital writing I think of the comments section in any blog, blogs, and Instagram. Basically, I think of informality. At least, these were my thoughts in the beginning.
I believe most people think these things when they think of digital writing as well. I’m sure they hold digital writing and non-digital writing at different standards and ranks. This is mostly due to a lack of memory of how much digital wiring is a part of everyday life. We use digital writing to write our magazines, scholarly journals, standardized test, and even books. So, why do we equate digital writing to comment sections and Instagram? I think this is because digital writing has become such a common thing, especially within more informal platforms.
We are so used to being able to scroll through Instagram for brief descriptions of the daily news and leaving abbreviated comments under pictures and blogs. Because of this, we tend to think of digital writing as being informal. Yes, digital writing can be more informal on certain platforms. But, this does not make it less prestigious as other writing.
This belief is a bad thing to think about digital writing. It is one of the reasons why trolls exist. People go on the internet believing they can post any and everything. They think they can say whatever they want regardless of how hurtful it is because this is one of the spaces that digital writing has created. However, being in digital writing has re-taught me how prestigious it is and all the benefits that come with it.
Digital writing has helped me to commit to developing a major project. On most digital environments such as Instagram, it is easy to observe multiple topics at once. There is no commitment is staying on one person’s page. However, with a blog, a central theme needs to be developed as well as the material included in the blog. The material of your blog must be centered based on your blog’s theme.
Digital writing also teaches you how to be creative. It is easy to stick to the same methods of producing information when there is only one essential theme. However, by developing a blog and bettering one’s creative writing, you learn how to present information in different ways. You learn how to entertain your audience in various ways. You have to. With a world wide web out there that has a variety of writers who can engage their readers through gifs and charming speech, digital writers have to be one step ahead within their creativity.
Digital writing also helps you create and find your own voice. Digital writing helps you to develop a perfect balance of writing informally and formally. As a law and policy and educational studies double major on campus, it can be easy to get stuck into those train of thoughts. Sometimes you can forget what else makes you a real person. You tend to forget all the things that make you unique. You forget what other things you can bring to the table. Having to create my blog has helped me get back in touch with these things. I had to take a deeper look into what entertained me and how I was going to use all those things to entertain my readers as well. I had to take a deeper look into how I show readers who I was without talking to them one on one as I do in all of my classes. Digital Writing allowed me to tap into who I am as a person and to find my voice.
Carr, Nicholas. “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” 9780393339758: Medicine & Health Science Books @ Amazon.com, W.W Norton and Company.
Dagostino, Lorraine and Christine Casatelli. “Content Creation for a New Generation: A Guide for Digital Writing.” New England Reading Association Journal, vol. 52, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 94-105. EBSCOhost, envoy.dickinson.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=123510083&site=eds-live&scope=site.
“The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future 1st Edition.” The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future: Vivek Wadhwa, Alex Salkever:
“In Defence of Writing: A Social Semiotic Perspective on Digital Media, Literacy and Learning.” LITERACY, vol. 43, no. 1, n.d., pp. 36-42. EBSCOhost, envoy.dickinson.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edswss&AN=000207997700006&site=eds-live&scope=site.
“ When was the first computer invented”, Computerhope.com, Computerhope, 30 October 2017, Web, 31 October 2017.
Wilkins, Kim. “Writing Resilience in the Digital Age.” New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice & Theory of Creative Writing, vol. 11, no. 1, Jan. 2014, pp. 67-76. EBSCOhost, envoy.dickinson.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=94661997&site=eds-live&scope=site