Our society has come an extremely long way since the days of simple orality. By simple, I mean the most basic form of communication there is: talking. Before computers, cell phones, and even paper, all there was were people and voices. Clearly our society developed more as writing those words came into play, followed shortly thereafter by print. The transition from print to blogging and the internet itself was one that could not form without criticism. However, Jill Walker Rettberg in Blogging discusses how blogs actually connect to past forms of communication, such as the ones previously listed. Rettberg goes into detail about how those different forms of communication changed our culture and continue to do so.
Let’s start with orality. Blogging is closer in relation to orality than print is because it involves interacting with readers. Oral beings are ones that talked without literacy and print, allowing much conversion and a more personal form of communication, one that is not available through print. Next, we have literacy which evolved into print. This next step in communication brought a new wave of access to literature and newspapers and overall, a greater form of receiving information. One of the major criticisms of this new wave was that print gave people the opportunity to read silently to themselves, as opposed to aloud in the time of orality. The differences here from blogging and the internet is that you are never really “alone” while blogging because the audience is there to respond. However, the similarities vary. Blogs take literacy and print one step further with interactive writing, graphics, and the option to give feedback. It also has a random audience, similar to print, which can be seen by a wide range of people. Overall, blogging is seen in every type of the previous communication forms, proving that future inventions might be lying at our feet!
I think it is a very interesting concept how people refer to literacy now in new ways. There’s “network literacy”, “digital literacy”, and the list goes on. Why has our society taken this path and where will it lead us? I don’t know about you, but I am curious to find out. One of Rettberg’s main headlines in this chapter is “Technological Determination or Cultural Shaping of Technology?”. I think a lot of us want to know if technology is shaping our culture or if our culture shaping technology. Personally, I think it’s a little bit of both. Technology is clearly adapting to our culture in more ways than one. Take cell phones for example; in this era, as populations and cities are growing, cell phones were a much-needed invention to help people communicate when necessary. It shows that technology is being shaped by our culture and way of life. By contrast, technology has also shaped our culture, especially digital media. With the expansion of social media and various popular websites, our society has molded to this mode of getting information quick and when needed.
This chapter really opened up my eyes to the forms of communication that have shaped and currently shape our culture, and I look forward to seeing what shapes our society in the future.
Digital Media Versus Analog Media
What makes blogs so appealing to such a large and wide range of humans? Is it the perfect layouts or the typically fun and playful pictures and fonts? As I question the world of blogging, I am learning that these expert bloggers did not just wake up one morning and know what to do to entertain readers. In Chapter 2 of Writing for Digital Media, Brian Carroll explains that the latter is false. Over the last few decades as technology continues to develop, internet users are learning how to make their published pieces entertaining and interactive, as opposed to the formerly non-interacting analog media. Now I understand why my blog is taking so long to look appealing! After reading this chapter, I now feel like I can apply what I learned to improve my own blog and make it more adaptable to the era of blogging we live in today. Let me tell you what I have learned after reading Carroll’s “how-to” guide to making a blog.
First thing’s first:
- Always appear credible. You might ask yourself, “But how do I do that?” Make your site easy-to-use; use high-quality graphics and good writing; and actually know what you’re talking about.
- Be accountable. This goes along with being credible, so let your audience know they can count on you to give them what they want to receive.
- Create an identity for you and your blog. Make your blog have a voice by creating an individualized tone, but also allow your readers to have a voice as well.
- Be transparent. Let your audience get to know you and your goals so that they can trust you.
- Headlines are important. Carroll claims that online users often have an immediate need for information, so they are looking for bold statements that will direct them where they want to go.
The really amazing thing that I never quite captured about blogs is the fact that they produce expression and feedback from individual voices. There are clearly a lot of advantages online including large amounts of space, good navigation techniques, and the ability to give feedback. However, there are some disadvantages on the Web, such as timing, technical issues, and more. Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad in this internet-crazed world, so it is important that we continue making blogs better.
Blogs contribute a lot to our society, especially to those devoted readers. This form of communication is the wave of the future, because it offers all sorts of information in an entertaining format. After reading this chapter, I feel much more prepared to work on my blog, as well as inspired to try new things with it. Both Rettberg and Carroll express the positive aspects of blogging and using digital media in proactive ways in their writing. I agree with them, and I also want to embrace their helpful advice to get my blog started, as well as keep it running efficiently. Digital media truly is the wave of the future, and I am happy to contribute to such an amazing way to communicate with our society.