My Thoughts on Week 1’s Readings & Tools

I noticed that a majority of the readings for this week focused more on the tool of writing instead of diving straight into the technologies involved with digital writing. Which I approved of very much. It is through this analysis of the basics that we can better understand the contemporary debate regarding the effects that technology has on the practices of reading and writing, which I have noticed in the media is mostly described as having negative effects. I believe that Ong’s chapter illustrates this point. Specifically, Ong mentions Plato’s arguments regarding writing as being the inhuman technology. It rings a bell, doesn’t it? What else do we see as inhuman? Machines. My favourite example that Ong mentions is that Plato described writing as destroying one’s memory since we rely on books for knowledge, where Ong mentions that this argument can be applicable to the calculator in terms of our reliance to this technology on solving mathematical calculations. I find that writing has been present in our society for a long time that we have forgotten a point in our history where we feared it. Just like how presently, we fear technology. Which has made me think about whether this debate will evolve over time. Will we also learn to accept technology and will we associate it side-by-side with writing? All kinds of questions can be raised about this current issue. Witmore and Keep also touch on the contemporary debate. For example, Witmore mentions how “a text is a text because it is massively addressable at different levels of scale” and that technology improves on this even more. And then Keep mentions Postman and other figures who have arguments against technology, such as technology creating a culture without a moral foundation while simultaneously undermining specific mental processes and social relations. So in conclusion of all of this, we are presented with both sides to this contemporary debate through all three articles. However, it hasn’t changed my opinion about technology. I believe it is an inevitable change to our society in order to evolve it. There are obviously certain barriers that we shouldn’t cross (I finished reading The Circle yesterday so I couldn’t be more supportive of this) but I presently don’t think that technology will devolve us in any way, so it was quite refreshing to read articles that look at the supporting side of this contemporary debate.

In regards to the Zotero program we looked at on Wednesday, I found it to be a very easy program to use. I had to quickly compose a bibliography that morning so I tested out Zotero on my own and it proved to be very simple. I like how it’s a straight forward program, there’s not a lot of features, it’s not crowded, so it was easy to figure out how to add in books and then to export them into a file where they would already be in MLA format. I loved it! I didn’t really learn anything new during the demo on Wednesday so that definitely proves how easy and simple the program is.

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2 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Week 1’s Readings & Tools

  1. David Eggert’s novel The Circle, as you mentioned, certainly gives a pretty dystopic view of Google meets Facebook meets Big Brother (someone on GoodReads says something along these lines http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18302455-the-circle, and I remember thinking something very similar when I read the book a couple of years ago). I found it pretty gripping but psychologically not very convincing. Has anyone read Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore? I liked that a lot better. It appealed to the font geek in me.

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    • I actually only found it to be gripping past half of Book 2 unfortunately but I can really see your point! I, however, found the capabilities of their technology to be believable. Or more like I didn’t find it hard to believe that their level of surveillance could be achieved. I will definitely look into Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour bookstore though!

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