Thoughts on Week 9

Reading Gitelman’s article on PDFs really made me reflect on PDFs as a digitized text but also in how we view and use it. When we go on our library website to search for journal articles for projects, etc., the academic website always gives us an option on how we want to view the text. We can view it through HTML, download a PDF version, and whatever other alternative formats. I always tend to choose the PDF option and reading Gitelman’s article made me realize why I constantly make this decision. Gitelman mentions how that “PDFs variously partake of the form and fixity of print that other digital text formats frequently do not”, they look exactly like printed text as if it were in a book right in front of me. It gives us this impression that it functions similar, if not exactly, like printed text, and this is what gets me. I never enjoyed reading literature from a computer screen or any other kind of e-book format (although the Kindle is starting to convince me otherwise) and always opted for the printed version, which explains why I am constantly choosing to read things in PDF files.

Cunningham’s article on fragmentary reading also points out our reading habits in regards to the design of how text can be displayed. A lot of internet articles are broken up with hyperlinks or videos or images or advertisements, that we don’t even notice how this format is its own genre. It has been integrated into our daily lives that it is now a form of writing that we take for granted and don’t really notice anymore. For example, twitter is a platform that promotes fragmentary writing since we are only allowed a certain word count per tweet. So if someone had a long story to say, their message would be broken up into multiple tweets instead of being displayed as one huge blurb in a single space. I find this interesting because it makes me reflect on the previous readings that we did, especially when we analyzed the Network Effect. It mentioned how we all get easily distracted on the internet to the point where we have become accustomed to having this habit of having low attention spans if something doesn’t capture our attention in a few seconds. So this article touches on many things, not just our reading habits, but also how writing in the contemporary period is changing. Fragmented writing is completely normal! And I believe it is one of the defining features of digital writing.


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