Welcome to the Machine

Lunsford definitely has a point.

She asserts that writing within the world of Web 2.0 forces the writer to acknowledge and address the audience. While sitting in HUM 200, writing this blog post, I can literally see and hear my audience. For me, this produces anxiety; my writing process is visible to all, and the product will be subjected to scrutiny by my classmates and professor. Of course, I’m not so narcissistic to believe that everyone is watching me or waiting to judge my writing, but the pressure of knowing and writing to my audience definitely forces me to be aware of the quality and style. As Lunsford points out, this creates the potential for dynamic rhetoric, where the writer is communicating to the reader, rather than communicating to a strict grading rubric. Hopefully my own blog posts will reflect the rhetorical awareness she suggests Web 2.0 produces!

Now, about the pieces connectively (which I assert is a real word, despite the red line pronouncing its illegitimate status. In fact, in this parenthetical aside, I argue that my usage of a word that doesn’t exist in the dictionary in a public space is a manifestation of the ownership the video claims Web 2.0 gives its users. Who’s in charge of language within this blog post? I am!). What I appreciated the most about these three texts is the emphasis on the benefits and opportunities of Web 2.0 on writing, language, and literacy. The Wesch video provides a visual theoretical exploration of digital composition; Clive Thompson utilized an academic study to argue for the benefits and influences of new media in student writing; the CCCC statement discusses how to capitalize on the technological advances in the classroom. When I worked at a bookstore, the management often bemoans the tragic downfall of print media, equating the decreasing sales with literacy. No one can read or write! All we know is tweetspeak and blogger! Where are heading?! It’s refreshing to read another perspective; all three texts analyzed how composing digital can enhance the writing process, as well as the teaching process. What a great way to start the class, with three different texts that engage new media with optimism and excitement, rather than mourning the slow demise (or so critics say) of print media.

(Turns out, I can add words to the dictionary, which will remove the haunting red line. Although it’s only my personal dictionary on my browser, I find it fascinating that we can create our own lexicon. However, I’m a rebel, so I think I’ll just keep it the way it is.)

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4 comments on “Welcome to the Machine

  1. Hi Ruth. I love your idea of language ownership! I think you hit on a fascinating linguistic development. Perhaps technology has opened the boundaries of language, allowing for new creative and individual expression…

  2. I had the same experience of becoming paralyzed at the thought of being scrutinized for what I was about to “publish” — the word itself implies some sort of importance, permanence, a sense of being exposed.

    I have had experience with tutees where half of a tutoring session has gone to working through glitches with MS Word — this has made me very aware of how technology can sometimes impede the writing process rather than help it along.

  3. In reference to your comments on creating new words, I offer my own experience. In the publishing world, when we aren’t sure how to spell a new or non-standard word, or when we aren’t sure how to format something, we usually look for a previously used example from a reputable source to use as a precedent. In social networking, there are no such niceties as “reputable sources,” no authorities. We are all free to set new precedents.

  4. I wonder: was it just the rest of the class you were thinking of when you imagined an audience for your blog post (or “invoked an audience,” to use Lunsford and Ede’s term)?

    I also think Julianne has an interesting point about the word “Publish.” It’s kind of akin to calling oneself a “writer.” Academics are typically shy about saying “I’m a writer,” although almost all of our work is done through writing. Why is that?

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