We live in a world of change; nothing stays the same for too long. As things change, our needs change with them. While our needs are changing, we look for various means to satisfy them. J.D. Bolter’s articles not only demonstrate how writing evolved within itself, but how the human mind has improved as well, as the innovators grew aware of what needed to be improved and worked diligently to create a tool that would cease all concerns held by writers and provide them a utensil that would get the task done effectively, leaving them satisfied.
Bolter’s article entitled “Introduction: Writing in the Late Age Of Print” talks a little bit about replacing handwritten work with the printer. Sure, this invention is very convenient, in many areas; for me, it helps me keep my work and notes organized and neat. However, there are times when I enjoy doing things the old fashioned way. Personally, I tend to think more abstractly and openly when I am in the process of actually writing things out; I also found that I comprehend material better when I write it out. On the other hand, when I am sitting behind a computer typing my thoughts, I find I am easily distracted. Drawing from my own experiences, I do not think using the newer versions would have been beneficial in this case.
While most of the newer versions of today’s society serve their intended purposes, I do not think the previous versions should automatically be relegated as insignificant; because they most certainly are not. As Bolter states, “Just as late capitalism is still vigorous capitalism, so books and other materials in the late age of print are still common and enjoy considerable prestige, especially for humanities and some of the social sciences.” Although majority of time the newer technologies are preferred, we should not forget the times that the older models are preferred. In my opinion, we should give credit to the older technologies; because without the older versions there would not have been a starting point to build from to create the tools we use today.
Computerized technology has become one of the most common instruments used among people. While writing remains a vital element for communication, it is not the only vehicle for success or communication. In today’s society, the action of writing things out by hand, especially lengthy papers, is obsolete. Personally, I feel as though writing assignments out and then having to type them is too time consuming, I would rather just skip the hand writing step and go straight to typing. Typing not only saves time, but it is also more convenient. If a mistake is made, handwriting does not allow much flexibility, one mistake affects the entire sheet; whereas typing is more flexible, it allows a person to fix any mistake without having to start over.
In my everyday life, I work as a waitress in a small italian restaurant called Cotardos. When I look around at what I see it is unbelievable. When I was a child my mom and step dad would bring me a coloring book and crayons so that I was not bored and to be sure I was well behaved. Now I walk up to a table and the parents have a child with an iPad set up and they are watching T.V. or I walk up to a table of two adults and all I see is the two people on their phones the entire time they are having their meal. According to J.D. Bolter’s book on Writing as a technology,(pdf) “Digital technology is turning out to be one of the more traumatic remediations in the history of Western writing. One reason is that digital technology changes the “look and feel” of writing and reading”(p 24). The idea of new technologies taking over is disappointing in some aspects. The “look and feel” of sitting at a table coloring with my parents is more beneficial to me then the kids these days who get to watch T.V.
On a different note, in another area of my life, I have recently purchased an electronic reader (E-reader). Many people I know say that they would much rather enjoy a book that they can touch and turn the pages in rather then one that they read on an E-reader. This connects back to the idea of the “look and feel” of reading and writing, people reading want to feel the book. Although I am not picky recently I tend to lean toward the E-reader. I also love typing and making things on a computer rather then drawing or handwriting them myself. In a passage from Bolter’s book, Writing space: Computers, Hypertext, and the revolution of print, in Chapter 2 Writing as a Technology, he states “Electronic writing still requires our physical interactions with terrestrial materials-with the keyboard, the mouse, and the computer screen” (p 18). He is saying that even though many people want to have the physical touch of the book or writing with a pen on paper, Bolter’s saying that typing or creating on a computer can be similar.
In J.D. Bolter’s “Introduction: Writing in the Late Age of Print”,(pdf) he says, “Those who tell us that the computer will never replace the printed book point to the physical advantages: the book is portable, inexpensive, and easy to read, whereas the computer is hard to carry and expensive and needs a source of electricity.” Reading this made me laugh because we are see this happen right before our eye. There is still a demand for the printed book but it is slowly dwindling. I have an Ipad and a nook so when I read for fun I don’t go out and buy a book, I just download it. Computers are becoming more affordable and transportable. They are becoming lighter and more compact so that they can be carried around. Yes the need electricity but, they have long battery lifes and are easy to recharge. This quote just shows how much the world has changed in thirteen years since this was written.
In the article “Writing as a Technology”,(pdf) J.D. Bolter writes, “The technology of ancient writing is not only the papyrus, the ink, and the techniques of making book rolls; it is also the styles and genres of ancient writing and the social and political practices of ancient rhetoric.” I agree with this, because there are letters that are no longer in the alphabet, such as the thorn, and because the thorn was not world wide when the printing presses were made they didn’t have a thorn so they used a y. Writing technology of the past is not only actual things used to creating writing but also it is the actual language and writing itself.
“When in the history of writing a new technology appears, it may supplement an established technology or replace it. Papyrus was replaced in the Middle Ages by parchment and paper. In the late 19thand early 20th centuries, the typewriter replaced handwriting for business communications.” We are seeing this happen right before our eyes with computers and handwriting. We are using paper and pencil less and less and the computer more often. The only time I use paper and pencil is in class to take notes, but other than that everything I do is on the computer. I write all my papers starting on the computer and rarely do a first draft in a notebook. I predict that in the next ten to twenty years we will no longer have a use for pencils and pens at all.