Technology is Everywhere
It’s a part of our everyday lives, never leaves your side, and can be one of the most useful things today. It’s technology. Every day is started off with using some form of technology, whether that be an alarm clock, phone, computer, car, or even your coffee maker. Anywhere you go you will see people using it; the use of cell phones is extremely common today. Technology has been made so portable that you can literally take it with you wherever you go. To escape technology fully would be extremely difficult. Why? Human nature, my friends. We crave knowing what’s going on in the world; it’s something we do even without even acknowledging it. The most common way of finding this is through Digital Media.
Digital media has been changing our world rapidly from the conception of the Internet. With the invention of MySpace, it helped catapult the success of many new forms of media referred to today as social media. The rapid growth of internet availability has changed the way people interact with each other, the way businesses communicate with consumers, and the way people find out what is happening in the world. Our newspapers and news channels are all now on social media forms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and snapchat. Today’s internet and social media offer professional and novice writers, such as journalists, to reach out to their followers with blog posts and web sites.
The trend for technology in classes has rapidly increased and is expected by students, teachers, and parents. As said in the ‘Journal of Technology Research’,
“…students have become increasingly tech-savvy, classrooms across the nation have become “wired” and textbook publishers now offer a wide variety of computerized teaching supplements.”
Technology may help to get you involved in learning, however there’s many who will say it doesn’t replace the need to have a structured “learning process grounded in theory.” There are many different viewpoints of teachers using it in the classroom. Some may choose to use a simple Power Point while others will never use technology. Those who choose to use it believe that technology will benefit the learning of the students by letting them listen more often rather than trying to translate every spoken word. Some also believe that “writing on whiteboards or blackboards hinders their ability to interact with students.”
During my exploration of what digital writing is I found several articles that have influenced my opinion of digital writing.
The use of social media is huge! There are so many media companies out there I can’t name them all, but, here is a small list.
The list goes on and on, almost never ending. Given all these sites and how convenient they are there will always be benefits and downfalls. Let’s start with the potential benefits.
One benefit is the immediate access to any information about any subject matter. Reading the news, it’s easy to question if you are getting the whole truth or just a small part. It’s also easy to assume that half the news tabloids are fake. For example, some topics which are easy to question include what celebrities are doing, who’s dating who, etc. One of the most immediate accessible media is twitter. Twitter is one way to easily confirm what’s going on in the world, to see you may not be the only one who agrees or disagrees about some big topic. As said in the article ‘How Social Media Has Changed Us: The Good and the Bad’ Landry says,
“Social Media is also very helpful for expanding our sources of content. With so much being blogged, written, curated, and shared proactively, the volume of content has grown exponentially.”
A second benefit is being able to connect with other people in more than one way. Instead of the old days when you would’ve written a letter, or called someone and couldn’t leave a voicemail, you would have to try and get to them by calling again or physically going out and finding them. Today it’s so much easier! When you can’t get to someone by calling them you have so many more options (or backup plans). Some of these options include:
• Leave a voicemail
• Send a text
• Tweet them
• Facebook message
• Send a snap
These are just some of ways you can get to them. So many social media pages now have a form of messenger that you can use to talk one-on-one in.
A third benefit of social media is the ability to get opinions from those you would never expect. Finding global news used to be so hard, now all you have to do is login to a bowser of your choice and type in what you are looking for and hit search. It’s so easy to talk with people around the globe. “We can rant, rave, tell jokes, share images, mix and mingle till our heart’s content. It is far easier to do something remarkable and noticeable, and have it reach people across the planet.” This can happen within minutes or even seconds!
Lastly, one of the biggest things going around on social media today is the hashtag. This originated on Twitter as a way to tie a trend, event, or topic and filter out everything that doesn’t relate to your topic of interest. The hashtag was a way to focus on specific conversations and to possibly find answers to problems on your own. Twitter was made to be simple, a 140 character post of your preference. Since the ‘birth’ of hashtags people have used them in so many ways, whether that be for snark, traditional, or experimenting, they will forever be known as “keywords for social media,” and “part of the culture of online discussions.”
Now after a list of some benefits, it’s time to talk about the possible downfalls which digital media and writing can bring. There are many troubling things about digital writing. With the digital environment we live in, private things online are not private. Chris Shores wrote for ‘The Recorder’ how nothing you put on social media is really private. He quoted State Police Sgt. Michael Hill,
“If you’re on the Internet and you have at least one friend (on Facebook or other social media outlets )…your privacy rights are pretty much out the window,”
He continued and said that any information sent from computers or phones can easily be saved, tracked and used for cyberbullying or to harass someone. Deleting something on the internet is very hard to accomplish because once you search something in a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, etc. it automatically saves everything. Whatever one writes on the internet will remain for others to read and with the responses of today’s world it can go “viral” in seconds, as Justine Sacco’s tweet did about aids in Africa. Her tweet stated,
“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
Three weeks after she posted, she was still a person of interest to the media. A New York Post photographer even followed her to the gym. About four months after the incident Sacco had said,
“Well, I’m not fine yet, I had a great career, and I loved my job, and it was taken away from me, and there was a lot of glory in that. Everybody else was very happy about that.”
It is hard to remain private in today’s world. Once someone else has responded or shared the information, it is out there for all to see.
Digital media can also bring copyright issues and plagiarism. People may be quoting something informally that is seen by other writers, who in turn may use it formally, and down the line someone may have quoted a great speaker like President Lincoln and not realized it. Digital writing can be troublesome for some to read, use or participate in. I believe that it has led some readers to skip over important details and jump to conclusions without reading things in their entirety.
What Is Digital Writing
What used to take days, weeks or months to communicate now only takes seconds to trend on social media. How readily the internet is available and anyone’s ability to use “digital rhetoric is…exciting and troublesome.” (Zappen) In “Digital Rhetoric: Toward an Integrated Theory” Zappen starts with saying there are all these ups and downs to writing online, continuing to say that it’s a form of persuasion and self-expression. Then he stated a couple reasons why it’s so appealing: the speed, reach, interactivity, etc. He ended with saying that digital media is pretty much an amalgam of specific components rather than a complete thought.
Another troubling fact of digital writing is that there is no “schema” (Rajchel) for this media where traditional writing has set rules and styles. In some cases the most novice of writers can have a voice though they will not have schema, often write in the wrong person and use slang that the audience may or may not be familiar with. In “Considering the Audience” Rajchel starts off by saying that the web forces us to become a reader and a writer, she continues to say how our social media puts us in the position where we write about specific subjects of our interest. In conclusion, she mentioned that there is no beaten path for how to write on the web. It’s just something you learn in time.
Digital writing is not all negative, as it has some great points and offers everyone a voice. Our constitution affords people the freedom of speech. Digital media, writing, and social media are available to everyone with internet. My father has been in some third-world countries and has shared how it is weird that they live in poverty but still have television and internet, yet struggle to meet basic needs. Digital writing, whether a blog or social media, can give today’s society a voice whether they need one or not.
Before the class I have had no courses about digital media or the internet. Coming into this class I didn’t know exactly what to expect. However, before the class I had learned what is appropriate and also inappropriate to post online. My methods of online interaction included Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. My circle of influence included my parents, friends and other relatives. My parents had informed me before creating accounts what would be appropriate or inappropriate to post. I noticed some of the photos and information my friends would post could negatively affect daily life.
From this class, the information I already knew about having an online presence has been reaffirmed. In addition, I have acquired how to make your online presence a positive one by writing for a selective and targeted audience through the creation of a blog. Knowing what you are writing about is a huge influence as to who your audience will be. For instance, my blog is about the life of an ice skater. Therefore, the majority of potential readers are either other skaters, or those interested in the ice skating lifestyle. Blogs with a more general day-to-day topic, such as cooking, are likely to have a much broader audience. No matter the topic of the blog, the author needs to be aware of the terminology used in their writing. When writing about an unfamiliar topic to those who are just learning, you will need to expand beyond just the basic information, as the reader may not grasp what you are intending to say.
While I am still undecided in the major I will pursue in college, I have obtained an understanding of how to properly research information through the online world. I have learned how to evaluate whether a website is credible through looking at whether the author is a trustworthy source, date the article/information was published, in addition to who the intended reader may be. This may help me and other students in and beyond college as it provides proper skills which can be utilized in future endeavors, including both a personal and professional online presence.
I believe that at some point during your time at college it would be a worthy investment to take a digital writing class. In taking this course, it has helped to better prepare me for any situation where I would need to write online or write a research paper, whether that be for college, a future job, or for personal enjoyment.
Landry, Tom. “How Social Media Has Changed Us: The Good and The Bad.” Business 2 Community. N.p., 5 Sept. 2014. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <http://www.business2community.com/social-media/social-media-changed-us-good-bad-01000104>.
Lavin, Angeline M., Leon Korte, and Thomas L. Davies. “The Impact of Classroom Technology on Student Behavior.” The Impact of Classroom Technology on Student Behavior (n.d.): 1-2. 30 Sept. 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <http://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/10472.pdf>.
Rajchel, Jen “Consider the Audience,” in Web Writing: Why and How for Liberal Arts Teaching and Learning, ed. Jack Dougherty and Tennyson O’Donnell (University of Michigan Press/Trinity College ePress edition, 2014), http://epress.trincoll.edu/webwriting/chapter/rajchel.
Ronson, Jon. “How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life.” The New York Times Magazine. N.p., 12 Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=0>.
Shores, Chris. “Nothing You Put on Social Media Is Private.” The Recorder. N.p., 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <http://www.recorder.com/news/townbytown/greenfield/11532943-95/nothing-you-put-on-social-media-is-private>.
Social Media. Digital image. Industrial Social Media. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <http://industrialsocialmedia.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/social-media.png>.
Zappen, James P. “Digital Rhetoric: Toward an Integrated Theory.” Religion Past and Present (2005): 319-25. Technical Communication Quarterly. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <http://homepages.rpi.edu/~zappenj/Vita/DigitalRhetoric2005.pdf>.