Is technology ruining the printed word?

There are those who say that today’s society is dependent upon technology. They say we’ve become “lazy”, or “mindless”, or that we’re “destroying our minds”. I however, believe the opposite. We’re enhancing our minds. We’re becoming more active. We’re thinking and wondering more about the world around us.

My youngest sister, who at the age of 8 has been using the internet casually for about 2 years now, is obsessed with the live webcam of Times Square in New York City. No one in my family is quite sure how she found it, but she can stare at it for hours. Sometimes she comes up with stories about the people on there, and she writes about them for school projects. Before discovering this camera, she had no interest in New York, let alone any desire to travel there. Now, it’s all she talks about. She’s found many other live webcams as well, such as the live Disneyworld cam, the live SeaWorld penguin cam, and the live San Francisco cam. She takes the experience of watching these live cameras and tells people she’s travelled all over the country and she’s seen a lot of things and met a lot of interesting people. Hasn’t she, in her own virtual way?

In this article by Jay David Bolter, the exact appeal of our technologies is discussed. He states that we crave immediacy. We want everything right now, and we can have it with the technology at our fingertips. He says that “the logic of immediacy dictates that the medium itself should disappear and leave us in the presence of the thing represented”. He wants to know why would we pay hundreds of dollars to go on a vacation when we can see the thing online? Which leads to the question, why would we buy physically printed books when we can download electronic copies for less money, even free in some instances?

Day 179/365- Kindle

Are e-readers a disgrace to the printed word?

Many people say the e-book is “destroying” the printed word. There are those, what I like to call, book snobs who have it in their heads that reading a book on an e-reader somehow takes away from the experience. As Bolter says in another article, “Both as authors and readers, we still regard books and journals as the place to locate our most prestigious texts”. I do not believe this to be true, in my personal experience. I believe that electronic books are just a way of having text reach more people. It’s the same text as a physical book, however many believe that because you can read it on a screen it’s somehow less intelligent of an experience. This is completely ludicrous. In this day and age, it’s widely known that digital text can usually reach more people than printed text. What baffles me to no end is why people who claim to be literature enthusiasts would complain about literature being able to reach more people?

Technology today is not ruining our lives, making us lazy, or rotting our brains. Technology is turning us into citizens of the earth, with easier means to explore and wonder about our world. Technology is reaching more and more people every day, connecting everyone together. Technology is a sharing an experience with everyone, and being able to reach people you didn’t even know existed before. Technology is enhancing us as learners, as readers, and as people.