Is Writing A Technology ?
“Each technology of writing involves different materials or different ways of deploying the writing materials and the differences are significant (Bolter, 19).” Jay David Bolter is Director of the Wesley New Media Center and Wesley Chair of New Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Bolter focuses on writing about new media and constructs new digital media forms. He does a great deal of comparing and contrasting modern day writing forms to the origins of writing.
According to the Greeks, the root word for technology is “techne” known as an art or craft, a set of rules, or system and methods of making and doing art and craft (Bolter, 15.)” In our world today we see technology as something with a screen or a plug, something containing electricity or battery of some sort. What we fail to realize is that writing itself is the biggest technology of all and without the original concept, we would not be producing the content we are capable of now.
Bolter expresses in his article, “Writing in the late age of Print” that we are refashioning the voice of text. He also speaks about how writing is an art and technology is improving the way writing was once designed. Speaking in terms of college, everything I do is on a computer and nothing is hand written or produced from scratch. When asked to write a “rough draft” for a course, I do not pull out paper and pen and begin to write, I simply open Microsoft Word and begin typing on a blank document. Backspace and delete are the new form of erasers. The refashioning of the voice of text poses the question of homogeneity and the idea of writings being similar and comparable.
Take this class for example, Introduction to Writing Arts, the history, the technology, and the issues of writing. Throughout this class, we explore each of those three content areas with the common theme of writing and how it has and continues to change. Module one explained the ideas behind writing and what originated it and how we got to this place of writing today. Module two, my current module relates writing to the modern day world of writing, with the help of technology. I no longer need to write a paper by hand or check out books from the library for research, it is now available with the click of a button. Granted, what Bolter expressed about homogeneity is true, many things online are similar but we must learn as students and humans of the technological world to pick out those few substantial pieces of writing.
“The best way to understand electronic writing today is to see it as the remediation of printed text… the qualities that distinguish electronic writing from print, flexibility and interactivity become the bases of the enthusiasts’ claims that the computer can improve the printed book” stated Bolter in his article “Writing is Technology.” In short, this finalizing statement sums up the concept of writing today and how technology will engage more people to become active writers through flexibility and inveracity of writing.