Before this semester began, I knew very little about Twitter or blogging. From what I understood, unless you were a celebrity or possessed a truly unique skill, keeping a Twitter or a blog was simply the height of egocentrism. I had never considered either Twitter or the blogosphere as participants in the evolution of writing and the materials we use to communicate. But I have to wonder, as Bolter implies in “Refashioning the Writing Space,” if in the past, those who were partial to scrolls felt skeptical about bound-paper books. Progress and change are going to take place whether we want them to or not, so it’s nonsensical to refuse to partake.
Bolter’s mention of the malleability of the e-book particularly struck me. I was given a Kindle a year ago, and still have yet to turn the thing on. E-books are simply not for me, however, I think they are an incredible step forward in the book industry generally. Things can be done with an e-book that could not be done with a paper-book, and vice-versa. Aside from the obvious convenience factors of the e-book, the fact that it’s viewed on a computer screen makes it susceptible to coding. Theoretically, in an e-book you could insert videos, links, .gifs, sound effects, even those computer-generated coloring pages you paint with your mouse/stylus. The possibilities are entirely endless, and what’s so great about this is that it creates a wholly new, interactive experience. The reader can really become part of the story. How’s that for the evolution of the book?
But as far as “redefining visual and conceptual spaces” of writing and the “changing material and visual field” of writing, why stop at books and the internet? Why can’t writing enter into public spaces? In an article he wrote in 1999, British author Sean Tejaratchi stated “[i]f I see an ad without asking to, it’s [sic] images are mine to reprint and redistribute, with clearance neither granted nor requested. ..Why should I ask my assailant’s permission to keep a rock he’s just thrown at my head?” (Tejaratchi) I think this sentiment summarizes the way writing should evolve in the public square, particularly as a way (for those who so desire) to contest the constant avalanche of lies, hidden-truths, and advertisements we receive from politicians, news distributors, and corporations. This of course is where copy-write and libel come into play, but I suppose that is exactly what I’m talking about. The evolution of writing into new materials and new spaces is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to guarantee continued and deepened freedom of speech and thought, both of which are absolutely indispensible to writing if it is to evolve at all.
Tejaratchi, Sean. “Reciprocity in Theory and in Practice.” Crap Hound Jul. 1999: No. 6. Web. 13 Sept. 2012.