Blabbing About Blogs: Transition from Orality to Print to Digital

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All you need to blog is your brain, a computer, and some coffee, of course! (SOURCE //: Mashable).

The World Wide Web hasn’t always existed. And it certainly hasn’t always been so easy and quick to attain information on historical eras like the Industrial Revolution or celebrities’ fashion faux pas at the Oscars. The web has provided people with a platform to browse, learn, create, shop, communicate, comment and share thoughts, and much more. With the Internet, the opportunities to interact, engage, and inform are endless. Another great feature on the Internet is our ability to blog; that is to write and share our ideas, thoughts, experiences, and insights on any given topic our heart desires. Tons of people blog about their daily lives, controversial issues, travel experiences, interests (shout out to all food and fashion bloggers–my personal favorite!), dreams, etc. There are bloggers who write for fun and others who do so for a living. In the ‘From Bards to Blogs’ Chapter of Jill Walker Rettberg’s book Blogging, a close look is taken at blogging while placing it in a historical, theoretical, and contemporary context. Blogging is a major creative outlet and no matter its effects on society and communication today, it is undoubtedly an enjoyable way for people to express themselves in a more informal manner and to socialize and engage on the Internet.

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This is an image of a printing press; Johannes Gutenberg is credited with the invention of this revolutionary apparatus. This was the beginning of mass media production. (SOURCE//: asme.org)

Instead of exploring blogging as an opponent of mass media and journalism today, it is possible to see the overlap of blogs and other forms of mass communication from the past. As we know, the mass media is not a phenomenon born last year. It is rooted in our world’s technological and industrial history and dates back to even before Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of movable type in the 1439; however, this invention sparked the production of printing presses and content to be disseminated more easily. Centuries ago (before the printing press), we communicated solely through word-of-mouth. Bards would recite an oral or speech in association with oral traditions. Think of Plato and Shakespeare and you’ll get the idea! Plato clearly expressed his opposition to writing; he believed one wouldn’t bother to learn facts, speeches or stories if they are accessible in writing. He also criticized that writing is often unresponsive and doesn’t allow for engaging conversation. However, his critiques of writing only apply to that of the past. With the Internet today, writing and blogging, in particular, allow of an active online community. We can comment our opinions, ask questions and propose suggestions very easily on blogs. Therefore, blogging becomes a open dialogue for all to join and in this way, we can see the parallels between blogging and the oral communication that Plato praises. The point: blogging in not unresponsive.

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This is a photo of author Jill Walker Rettburg who wrote the book, Blogging (SOURCE:// Ubermatic).

Blogging promotes knowledge and interaction with people and their technologies. It is “remarkable for combining both aspects of dialogue and dissemination” (Jill Walker Rettburg 39). Because millions of people today are more literate than ever before and have access to the Internet, blogs and the content in them is easily spread. Also, blogging has prompted the birth of new literacies like network literacy, multi-literacies, digital literacy, and secondary literacy. These new literacies of writing and digital skills have increased literacy around the world. Additionally, it is amazing how blogging and people reading the same content on the web has allowed for a new kind of impersonal communication between unknown people. Ultimately, it is crucial to understand how blogs facilitate the spread of ideas and promote a new kind of dialogue…behind the screen. Blogs are social and they allow for more dialogue than pre-digital written word and are a much cheaper and more easily disseminated than print or broadcasting. So get your blog on!          

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Blogs allow people to share their ideas and experiences freely and in whatever manner they prefer. Once you create a blog, you have a clean slate and you run with it in any way you want. The rest is still unwritten… (SOURCE //: ThePlanetD).

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