Writing in the 21 Century

I just finished reading a post that indicates that Americans spend far more time engaging with texts than they did in the recent past. The post made a well reasoned argument that said new technology has ushered in this process. In an effort to engage in FB, Twitter and the like, we are writing more than ever. It goes on to confirm that in general our writing skills have not devolved into crazed crayon prose inspired by messy spelling and poor sentence construction along the way. (I knew that part, as I teach college courses across 3 different universities).

While I didn’t find these comments particularly Earth shattering, what came next was indeed facinating. As with many interesting items I find scattered among the web  (and no I dont yet use Evernote ;-|) I sought to capture this page just in case I might need to refer to it one day. Since it is a Wired post, I could be safe in the assumption that the post would not move much between now and when these comments would be no longer relevant. Therefore a simple bookmark would suffice. 

Tagging as it is meant to be

Tagging as it is meant to be

I use Diigo for my internet bookmarks as it has a
lot of nice features. One of which is I can use it with a class or with a
group.  So I pulled on my Diigo toolbar to bookmark the site.
Now, since Diigo is social, it has many features that I don’t use to its fullest,
but the one that stuck out at me after I had diligently tagged this piece as
technology, writing, etc. is the following. 

The article was already bookmarked
and annotated by other Diigo users. Not only was there highlighting but in
addition to the highlighting, there were comments. As I clicked around checking
out what others thought about the post, I was struck by how context specific
this kind of tagging was. It made me think of how I analyze a text
for inclusion in a paper; adding line-by-line comments
or questions asking whether or not this was applicable to wider or
smaller audiences; musing whether or not a large point to be made was
in between the lines of text. All of that was right there, but it was not my own thoughts. It was structured
instead by the thoughts of others. It was clearly a crowd-sourced piece of
thinking on this topic. With the contextual remarks, it was much
more powerful than the
myriad of comments that are left at the bottom of such articles
(which in this case, I didn’t even bother to read). 

is tagging at its best. Perhaps, this is what the web will evolve into overtime,
or perhaps the right word is devolve.
I guess only time will tell.