February 16, 2010

Evolutionary Writing

The written word first emerged about 6,000 years ago. Considering that homo sapiens have been around for approximately 200,000 years we haven't really been at this writing thing too long. Mass literacy was nothing but a pipe dream until Gutenberg's printing press was invented less than 600 years ago. Only in the last 20 years has mass communication become a democratic reality. Now we have blogs, status updates, tweets and Kindles while newspapers and magazines lose circulation. I'm still trying to figure out whether this latest revolution in literature is a good or a bad thing. The romantic in me hates it. I love the feel of old books. I love the smell, the yellowing pages and the notes in the margins. I love the ink on my fingers after reading my morning paper.

Despite all the old school reading I do, I'm positive that I read more online in an average day than I do off. I love blogs and newsfeeds. I don't tweet at all and rarely use social networking sites, that part of my snobbishness has hung on. But, on the flip side, I get annoyed when people say blogging isn't writing. What the hell is it then? The world is going digital, there is no stopping it now. As much as I hate to consider "tweets" relevant literature they have impacted our society in ways we don't yet understand. For better or worse everyone with a cell phone (over five billion people) or an internet connection can become an author nowadays. I may resent it becuz it l00ks lk this but I'm sure people were resistant to not using scrolls anymore either. Will the democratization of literature ruin it? Or will the increased competition strengthen it? Kids are writing more now than they ever have, is that good or bad? It'll be another fifty years before we're able to get any kind of real understanding of the impact of the internet on literature but I am at least encouraged by all the awesome stuff I read on here regularly.
Image taken from: http://www.t-shirthumor.com/Merchant2/graphics/fullsize/blog_lg2.gif


  1. Great post. I agree that the future will involve more screen than paper. Paper is still the foundation, but no one can deny the world of modern technology.

  2. 100% with Christine. I was watching some clips on Youtube where it shows you how the world will look like in 50 years. Some scientists have even developed a heart valve from scratch. Thanks to technology.

    Even though I love tech, my dream is to still build a library in my house. Not a virtual one...a traditional library with the sliding ladder and all the works...I love leafing through books too...:)

  3. I found you via "Cut and Dry" -

    Great Post and touche.

  4. Please to meet you too....and no sir, I don't believe that there is anything bacon can't do.

  5. I had an almost identical thought of the day when my husband turned on curling this evening... wth?! It's hilarious, and strangely fascinating

  6. a hand written letter is such a rarity - i can't remember the last time i received one, and they mean the world to me. i have bags of letters and cards...so i treasure when i receive cards where there are personal notes (not just 'love, sally' in them,, actual thoughts). i would trade all gifts for letters from friends telling me about our friendship, our love, our good times.

  7. It's not a good thing.

    And it's another sign of society's insanity.

    As soon as I'm out of my parents' house I'm saying FU to many societal constructs.

    Things have been changed in the past because people who saw the problems didn't settle and say, "But, to survive we must do these things."
    Why, then, is it like that today? People see what's wrong with the world but don't do a damn thing about it.

    Time to make a new blog post, thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Yeah well, really hard to keep up with all this pressure eh? Makes you feel old already.
    I mean, I read ebook Dracula! Sheesh! Because i couldn't find the book. I regretted every minute of it.

  9. Christine: It's hard. As much love as I have for paper, I still write my blogs out on paper first, where do I put those words? Here.

    P.T: I'd seriously marry you if you had that library.

    Erika: Bacon rocks, keep up the good work.

    City Girl: I know. I make fun of it but I'd actually like to try it. You'd never see me doing Mogul Skiing but I'd kick ass in some curling.

    Kassandra: Look forward to that blog.

    Blue: I know. When I was in school I still had to research papers at the library. I had to use a card catalog! That's gonna date me so bad 20 years from now. But, at least I get to say to my kids "when I was your age I had to walk 2 miles to the library barefoot in the snow just to research a paper".

  10. Hey, I really liked this post: 'Evolutionary Writing.' and '... sure people were resistant to not using scrolls.'

    The people that say to me that 'blogging is not writing' are people who do not know what a blog is. Twitter seems to have caught the global imagination and I think perhaps because 'to twitter or tweet' is more catchy than 'to blog'. Blog and blogging sounds kind of rude.

    I believe more and more people will blog. Over time. Over all the social networking sites Blogger is the the one that takes the most skill to learn ... so will put the amateurs off - leaves us genius types. lol

    Good luck with yours Christopher.

  11. Interesting post! Writing has definitely evolved over time. And I guess you can say that blogging is still a form of writing. Just like you, I also love the feel of flipping through old pages and even having ink on my fingers or the smell of newspaper. I also love to write on notebooks and still hope that my handwriting becomes more readable over time. hehehehe. I guess, the bad thing about becoming digital is that sometimes people forget to spell words correctly and how everything is just there online and there are people who just copy/paste articles to make it their own. But digital writing/ blogging is really great, I have found a lot of great bloggers whose perspective about a lot of things is just so interesting.
    Great post! =)

  12. I agree so much. When I found out they made a reader for books on a lil computer device my heart sank. I love reading an actual book. I like writing with a pen. But I do appreciate the availability of stuff online, Soo much easier. At least we aren't still using stone tablets!! hehe. That would be really hard.

    Johnny Cash does rule!! =)

  13. Christopher Robin, Let us even ponder where the moniker came frome? Uh, children's literature! I could not believe it, when the publisher of the paper I once worked at, said to me 'One day there won't be any printed newspaper's. Everything will be on the internet.' I didn't think I'd like to read news and writing online...but, I can read papers from New York, Texas, Australia....It surely is convenient. And, it saves the world a little bit. Trees aren't cut down, pulled out of their very responsible role of renewing this earthly world we live in. I love, to read and be lost in a good old fashioned book too. This internet, and hi-tech living has changed everything..how people relate to each other..our ability to focus, maintain an attention span which actually learns and takes something in! I realised this last night, Christopher Robin when I was laying in bed, letting Jeremy Irons tell me a story....I had to work to not let my mind wander away. I really wanted to listen to the story; But, my attention span wouldn't let me do it, Without a concerted effort. So, the internet isn't all it is cracked up to be. People can't get lost, and lose those very human traits. Ha ha ha you crack me, up, Scrolls? Ha ha ha ha.

  14. It's a digital world. Nobody can srop technology.
    Good read, Christopher.


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