The Evolution of Writing

When people hear the word “technology,” they often think of computers and smartphones. In James Gleick’s book The Information, he discusses Walter J. Ong and his ideas. In chapter two “The Persistence of the Word,” Gleick quotes Ong:

“the expression “to look something up” is an empty phrase: it would have no conceivable meaning. Without writing, words as such have no visual presence, even when the objects they represent are visual. They are sounds. You might “call” them back- “recall” them.” But there is nowhere to “look” for them. They have no focus and no trace.”

It is here where us as reader’s understand that writing should be considered a technology because without it, words would have no meaning. Writing should be considered a technology because it was one of the first ways we were able to retain and store information. We are able to look back in history and know what happened because of writing. Gleick states, “Writing comes into being to retain across time and across space.”

Through the use of computers, we are able to write in many new and refreshing ways. Take for example our work on VSCode. We are able to italicize words, bold words, etc. We have tools such as spell check that tell us when we are spelling something wrong. As we look to keep writing, we should use these tools like computers to help us better write about our society and culture.

Not only should we use technology to write about our society and culture, but we could also use it to better understand it as well. We could use certain applications to better enhance our writing in ways that would have been impossible before computers. We could also use online resources to gain a better level of understanding of a topic, and therefore enhance our writing of that topic. Let’s say you want to write about the idea of social classes. In a matter of seconds you can look up articles about it. As an english major, I couldn’t agree more with this point. For example, in my Big Books class, we are reading a book called Underworld by Don DeLillo. There are some areas of the book that I did not fully understand. However, through the use of online resources, I was able to see what DeLillo was trying to say through certain key scenes. So when it came time to write a reading response, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about.

Based on Gleick’s writings on my personal experiences, writing alone should be considered a technology. However, when you use other forms of technology, it greatly impacts and enhances one’s writing.

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