Open conversation to revisit some of the primary questions and themes of the course…

62 thoughts on “Discussion2

    1. Thanks for the clarification about your relationship to seventeen magazine 🙂

      I think it is great that a young girl has found a way to merge social media with the glorification of reading and literacy. There are so many different things glorified on social media that do not deserve the attention. But advocating for reading to a young audience is a powerful message to make online. Although it may be silly that she became “famous just for reading”, it says a lot about society that this is possible. The publication of this article through seventeen magazine, an highly youth oriented site, further supports the idea that reading can be “cool and popular”.

      1. I completely agree with you Johna. I think it’s a great way to properly advocate the beauty of reading on a platform that usually is meant to display sceneries, what someone ate for lunch, selfies and their #ootd. I do believe that a progressive way to keep the art of reading alive is to acclimate to this new technology based generation, and this young woman posting it on social media is proof enough. Also, the fact that she’s fairly young and has a popular instagram page promoting reading shows that people are still interested in reading. She shows younger generations, whom are the main constituency of social media, that reading is still relevant and makes it seem like the cool thing to do (and I agree, it is). I applaud her for doing this, and I applaud her photos of the books because she actually takes cool pictures.

        And Chris(topher?), don’t worry, we aren’t judging you if you casually enjoy browsing seventeen magazine. We all have guilty pleasures.

    2. Emily’s Twitter account is a pretty amazing combination of mediums that have been debated throughout the quarter to be detrimental to deep focus and close reading skills. As we have pondered the future of classical literature and attempted to theorize a potential solution to this age’s phenomenon, Emily seems to have found a method that incorporates contemporary commonalities via social media with a traditionalist perspective on reading. It is amazing to think how simplified yet brilliant her adaptation is. While our class has been looking at the potential reformation of books through virtual mediums and artistic applications, she has already seemed to have achieved a very nice balance of these parameters with her Twitter page. Personally, I do not believe there is really a crisis, but this is evidence to the contrary that perhaps our new technologies can be suited as a potential source of revitalization and innovation within the discourse.

    3. Thats an awesome story! I really feel like a big part of the reason reading is falling out of favor is because of the “Its not cool to be smart” mentality in high schools. Hopefully stuff like this helps with that, I know the new cool geek movement (comic books due to the marvel movies, harry potter, that kind of thing) has done tons of good at least allowing people who like reading to not feel so much like outcasts as they might have otherwise.

    4. Maybe it’s just cynicism, and I do realize the importance of making reading “cool” again, but I can’t bring myself to praise this article. The aesthetic of the photo and cliche of the captions just seem too stereotypical of the tween social media craze for it to seem sincere. Put otherwise, I don’t think Emily’s in it for literary sakes. If it genuinely resonates with young readers-to-be, then maybe I’m just jaded. If it resonates with young instagramers-to-be, however, then perhaps my discontent is warranted. The question isn’t what Emily is doing, it’s why she’s doing it. Motive is easily disguised – and quite frankly, I’m not buying that this instagram account is doing much, if anything, to bolster literary interest amongst its followers.

    5. After reading this article, I am not too surprised that a girl could become famous in Instagram for reading and sharing her love of books. It reminds me of the channel PeruseProject on YouTube, where a young woman, Regan, shares her love and experience of books through a video commentary. Similar to how Emily’s pictures on Instagram have a “warm quality to them,” Regan’s videos offer a brightly lit and cozy setting that invites the reader to watch. However, both offer a space in which followers and users can engage in discussion about what they too love about reading.

  1. Considering last Thursday’s topic on “The Futures of the Book”, I thought this might be a relevant article. The article is titled “Music & Literature Come Together For The Interactive Digital Novel “H8 Society” BitTorrent Bundle”, and it is exactly as it sounds like based on the title alone. The article covers a free Bit Torrent bundle by the artists/writers, H8 Society, who recently crafted a blend of hip-hop music playing free e-book. Essentially, a way to keep the mind stimulated and the endorphins flowing for those that may or may not have ADHD.


    1. This is SO interesting–it is an example of the benefits of the Information Age rather than another lamentation of all the destruction it has wrought. The same way that the music in a film changes the viewing experience tremendously, the addition of background music to a story would likely intensify the narrative and make it easier to visualize the scenes. This could make reading enjoyable for people who would not otherwise be entertained, for it would be a multi-sensory experience that could serve as a gateway to pure reading, assisting in the imaginative strength required to immerse oneself in a book. As long as the music is just supplementary and not too distracting this could be a really popular market for the future of reading.

      1. I definitely agree with you, Helen. I was also thinking of movies when I read this article. To bad its Peer2Peer download only. I wanted to check this novel out myself to see if the music/book blend actually is able to work. My biggest concern would be how the music on each page/chapter would fit into the reader’s reading speed. For example, hearing the music for a climax moment while reading the story development area and vice versa.

    2. Very interested in this one as well. The idea of using music to “help dimensionalize every moment” of a story, as the creators say, seems like it has the potential to add a lot of subjective depth to the reading experience. And when creators combine traditional mediums, it forces us to consider how we evaluate those mediums individually. For example, why does novel reading require that there be a certain “mood” conveyed at all? But I agree with Helen that the music has to be carefully chosen in order to maintain the “sanctity” of actually reading the thing. I definitely think there are huge potential implications here for both entertainment and education. I’ll be excited to download the project.

      1. I agree. It makes a lot of sense to link music and reading, especially considering how effective it is in film. Of course, reading and watching are completely different activities, but introducing audio into reading can give the author a lot more control over how the reader might interpret different parts of the book. Is that a good thing? I don’t know. And what does it mean for the quality of the writing? If an author can set the mood with sound, the writing can be less detailed. But again, is that bad? I think one of the biggest issues, though, would be whether or not the music is too distracting.

  2. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar12/vol69/num06/Five-Reasons-Readers-Need-Technology.aspx

    This article is more concerned with reading literacy than the types of “recreational” reading that we have been talking about, but I think it is still relevant enough to post here. This article argues in favor of using technology and apps to aid reading instruction in the classroom and improve overall literacy. It cites five reasons for why technology should be brought in in this capacity among which are technology’s adaptability and its availability.

    1. I really like this argument in favor of utilizing technology in the classroom. Reading problems vary, especially at a young age, since they depend on the resources a family has and the parents’ ability to help. Apps or some kind of specialized computer program can provide the individual help a child needs that a teacher with 30 students cannot provide. Technological integration should be used to its full potential to help struggling readers.

    2. http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin121.shtml

      I do agree with some of the reasons provided in this article about why technology could help struggling students, so I decided to find an article on why using technology in the classroom is not reasonable. The article I found was on a website titled ASCD, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The website is “dedicated to developing services which empower educators to support the success of each learner”. The current issue on the website is how technology is transforming learning. The article goes on to provide multiple research against the way technology is being used in schools. One thing that stood out the most and what I constantly question is the effect of technology on children. Within the article Jane Healey, an educational psychologist and teacher, poses an interesting question: “are children actually motivated to learn? Or are they just motivated to play with the technological device”? The article even offers links to counterpoint stories on how technology does make a difference.

  3. This informative website covers the ongoing topic of interest that has to do with the effect technology is having on peoples’ reading and writing skills. I am especially fond of the fact that this report does not pick a single side to argue for (either that technology is helping or hurting peoples’ reading skills). Instead, the authors, who all hold high-level academic credentials, state the ways that society can integrate technology into its current system. The authors make claims about the beneficial ways that technology can influence our societies readers and writers, at all levels. They do so in a manner that does not disregard the fact that a lot of people believe technology is posing a threat to the traditional practice of reading. I think it is intelligent how the authors have come up with numerous examples and definitions to prove how reading and technology can work in synergy. Essentially, if a person has an open mind, I think they will be able to see how technology provides many opportunities for the present and future of reading and writing. With that said, there is still no doubt that we are moving away from the age of the paperback or hard-cover book.


    1. It is interesting that the website focuses on the positive impacts that technology brings to development and collaboration. In many cases, technology is stigmatized and seen as inhibitors of progress, while improvements are hypothesized and postulated. The only benefits that others seem to recognize is a greater field of accessibility and connectivity. Seeing this website is quite a fresh take on how studies really have shown that technology is a great addition in terms of progression and development. It also mentions how scarcely this type of study is done. I imagine that with the new age of constant technological advancements, studies like these will be a vital asset in determining what is done in terms of schooling and education to make use of these new devices.

  4. This article covers the debate between books and electronic readers, with an emphasis on the effect it may have on children as they grow older. I remember discussing this topic earlier in the quarter and just thought it would be relevant. The article offers two perspectives on the benefits of both books and electronic readers although it seemed to learn more toward the benefits of the latter. Nonetheless, I believe that it is a relevant article that tries to help the reader understand why there is still a heated debate over books and electronic readers.


  5. An article from the New York Times’ website that popped up earlier this year has been running through my mind every since we did Information Logs in our second week of class. It argued that people who checked their emails less frequently were less stressed and were generally happier. I found indeed that my senses were dulled if I spent more time plugged into technology. Perhaps being constantly attached to the internet and constantly wondering if an important work or school related message was sent is much more a burden than it is a convenience.
    I believe that as technology develops, it will be increasingly difficult to be detached from a network or an access point of some sort. Many books become digitized and new products come out week to week that increase efficiency with machines and boast more stable connectivity in wider areas.
    Will the ease of accessibility ever cease to outweigh the strain that comes with it?


    1. This article is interesting in that the first thing I thought about was how I categorized email in my information log at the beginning of the quarter. I used RescueTime to log my usage, and I categorized email as productive. What I realized throughout that week was that email fell into both productivity and distraction in that I would absentmindedly open my email, much like I would passively open Facebook. I would send email to professors and TAs and be checking back every couple minutes expecting an answer when in reality, I knew it would most likely be hours later that I’d get a reply.
      Also, in a university environment, professors and TAs and bosses all emphasize the importance of checking email on a daily basis. This emphasis gives students anxiety that they must be tapped in at all times, when this really just means to check email one or two times a day. I agree with you Matthew that as technology continues to develop, we will become less able to detach. Much like parts of Crary’s 24/7 argument, our generation most definitely has anxiety over ‘missing out’ and not being connected at all times.

  6. http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/05/27/why-we-should-let-kids-choose-their-own-summer-reading-books/

    This article ties into the discussion we had about letting kids choose their own books. The dreaded summer reading assignment does not have to be thought of with horror. It is not like assigned class readings where everyone has to read the same book at the same time so that everyone knows what is going on. Summer is when students have the time and the inclination to read books they are actually interested in without being bogged down by class reading assignments. Kids are fairly smart and will probably have good selections when given the chance to choose for themselves.

    1. I like this idea. Having a blend of pre-assigned and self-chosen books for the summer to read seems to be the most simplistic and practical response to increasing reading comprehension in children. There is something unusual I saw in the article; is it common for K-12 schools to assign ten books over the summer as required readings? It seems a bit much, but I am not sure since none of the schools I went to had assigned summer readings. I guess its dependent on the length of each piece of literature. I think it would probably be better if the number of books to be read was a bit lower, but the test they receive on each piece a bit more in-depth to allow the children more time to enjoy each book.

  7. When the project Emoji Dick was brought up in class, I immediately thought of this YouTube video I had recently watched in the weeks prior:

    In this video, two comedic hosts give a short two minute summary of an article they had read, wherein which they jokingly interpret the results of. The article itself is humorously titled The Eggplant Emoji Means Exactly What You Think It Means, and it is based on an analysis from a third-party mobile keyboard company SwiftKey, which examined more than a billion emojis sent by over a million users.

    Emojis were divided into 60 categories with divisions such as “clock”, “flower”, and even “raunchy.” Certain emojis were used more often in specific countries, which may point towards the cultural attitude of that nation. For instance, France uses heart emojis more than any other, while users in Canada tend to use “raunchy” categories above average. A raunchy emoji which could be the “jerking-off fist” or an “eggplant.” The latter representing the image of a dick, because as the article concludes “nobody eats eggplant that much.”

    I found it interesting that I came across this analysis from a YouTube video which took it from an article, which was based on a study. As the study was trickled down from article to video, it became shorter and more about the humor, because that’s the sort of audience this generation is marketing for. We rather read less and watch a video that takes less time and we replace words with emojis. A harmless eggplant becomes widely used and known to be representative of a penis.

    1. I thought this video was engaging and very applicable to our everyday lives. As an iPhone user, I resort to emojis to bring life to my conversations or, as the commentators point out, when I’m just too lazy to put my thoughts into words. The introduction of the emoji feels like a shortcut key, like we’re taking the easy way to typing an emoji heart instead of saying “I love you.”

      Another way emojis affect us is the way they change our communication and conversation habits. Does our habit to chose a symbol rather than verbalize how we feel mean that we lose the art of words? Personally, I don’t think so. I think it’s about visual appeal and humor. The interpretation/misinterpretation of emojis is what makes them so fun. Now, you can indirectly make sexual innuendos or insult someone. What’s not to love?

  8. This article explores the dwindling presence of e-readers (Kindle, Nook, etc.) in the face of Smartphone technology that allows books to be downloaded. Mobile apps are taking over tthe electronic literary world too as “books are becoming just another app”. The death of the printed book was partially due to ebooks, but now even e-books cannot keep up with the convenience of mobiile apps. The author brings up the point that the reading experience on mobile apps can be disrupted by texts, phone calls, and push notifications from other apps, while that was not the case for e-readers. E-readers have been more profitable for the publishing industry than printed books in recent years, so if this market continues to fade, the industry will be in peril.
    However, the article points out a possible positive outcome of downloadable books–the increased accessibility may widen the population of readers.
    Overall, it is difficult to determine what the result of the e-reader’s death will be on the industry. Studies report owners of e-readers read more books than those with other electronic devices, but these studies are inherently skewed, for those who purchase e-readers likely do so because they are avid readers. Therefore, only the literary people are surveyed rather than the population as a whole, and their rates of reading do not accurately reflect societal norms.
    E-readers seemed like the perfect solution to environmental concerns, but it seems that the iPhone has yet again thwarted the system.


    1. I’m not exactly sure if I would agree with the article in its assessment of the “peril” that the publishing industry is facing. Those people who read exclusively on e-reading devices (and buy those books for those devices) will continue to buy books and read them even if the e-reader industry goes belly-up. iPads and iPhones have the Do Not Disturb feature that will stop notifications if anyone would like to use their tablet for reading in a uninterrupted manner. Those who want to will always be able to find a way to read without distraction and I don’t think that the dip in reading will ever be drastic enough to seriously sink the entire publishing industry that we have come to know.

    2. It is interesting, but not surprising that E-books/E-readers are becoming the more favorable medium for reading. While I personally still prefer printed books, I can absolutely understand why E-books and E-readers are so popular now. E-readers are much more convenient; they allow people to buy books at the touch of a button and it is one device that is able to carry hundreds and hundreds of books. It is a great and efficient choice for those who don’t want to drive down to the bookstore to get the latest copy of their favorite book series or those who want a whole collection of books, but don’t want to deal with the clutter of printed books. I also agree that E-readers make purchasing books much more accessible and although we are slowly shifting away from printed books, there are still quite a number of benefits to switching to E-readers.

    3. I can understand why reading might shift to the tablet, but I don’t understand why people like to read on their cell phones. Tablets are large enough to mimic the size of a small book, its realistic enough for someone to easily read a book on it. I have a hard time believing that people will have an easier time reading on such a small screen. Yes, cell phones are starting to get larger but I already dislike trying to read websites on my iPhone let alone an actual book. Maybe its just me, but I lose track of what I’m reading if I can only read 2 or 3 sentences at a time. However, I can see the argument for why e-readers might disappear. People like to multitask and they want gadgets and devices that will let them do that.

  9. I saw this commercial on TV the other night and I immediately thought of this class, and realized I had my blog post. Don’t get me wrong, having WiFi in your car would be awesome, but the way that it’s advertised with the children is pretty spot on to many of our discussions. The fact that they show children each watching a movie on their individual tablets in the Chevy Malibu, and then using their preference for the Malibu because it allows them to continue watching their tablets, really speaks to the technological norms of the newest generation. I also think it’s ridiculous that they’re presented as “Real Kids. Not actors.” implying both that being an actor would make them unreal and that their roles in that commercial somehow doesn’t make them actors.

    1. Thank you for sharing this commercial. I don’t watch tv myself so I rarely see commercials anymore, but they do have a lot to say about what we find important. For me what was especially interesting was what they picked to prove their point. Instead of having the kids browse, play games, or read on the tablets – something that could more easily be picked up and put away again – they were shown part of a movie. Most people given the choice between having to leave a movie unfinished, and going back to the place that lets you finish the story, are going to pick the second option. So the entire test was shaped to make sure that the children would be influenced into picking the Chevy Malibu. In addition, these are stationary cars in a warehouse room. So given the choice between watching a movie or staring at grey walls that aren’t moving, it makes a lot of sense that the kids would be more interested in finishing their movie.

      As someone who took huge advantage of the free wifi on public transportation when I was abroad, I am in no position to judge other people for wanting to have that same service built into their cars. Honestly I would probably look into that sort of car for myself if I had the money. But by using children and by using movies (something a lot of parents would love to have easy access to for making long car rides more bearable), the car is very cleverly marketed to a specific group. Thanks again for sharing.

    2. I’m glad that you mentioned this particular commercial! Every single time I see it, it really does speak to just how normal screens have become for the younger generation. So much so, that cars are now being offered with built in WiFi. The fact that this new feature is catering to young children who are depicted as essentially screen dependent speaks much about the way society is beginning to view the new generation alongside the generation that we as young adults have.

  10. I found an article regarding exactly what we’ve been discussing in class for quite some time now: whether the actual book is becoming a dying species with relation to iPads and Kindles. He argues that although he enjoys his Kindle, because it has almost mimicked the exact function of a book, the actual book isn’t going to stop existing (unless we want it to). He brings great insight on technology versus the traditional sense of a book and he argues the advantages of both while not being completely subjective towards one or the other, which I quite enjoyed simply because I do agree with a lot of his claims.

    Hope you enjoy: http://www.cjr.org/cover_story/the_future_of_reading.php

  11. View at Medium.com

    I read this article on Medium a while back, and luckily I found it again because celebrates something that Americans have lost interest in – the bookstore.

    Located in Tokyo, Japan, this store is named Tsutaya and is a complete hit in such a bustling city. That’s because of a few different reasons, one of them being the general attitude that the Japanese have for print. They appreciate it more than Americans, resulting in Tsutaya being packed with customers at all hours of the day (they close at 2am!).

    Next, the store “celebrates the physicality of reading and writing,” so they’ve installed a bar for anyone’s pleasure. They also educate their employees in literature, one employee even mentioning that Tsutaya sent him to Berkley to research a writer.

    Tsutaya is a truly fascinating environment, which makes me wonder, how would we approach print if American bookstores had followed this business model?

    1. When I opened the article and looked at the pictures, I can definitely say I’ve never been inside a bookstore like that in my life. What I got was an Apple-like vibe. I say that because when I go to the mall, even though I don’t need an Apple product I still see myself walking in. If I were to pass this Tokyo Bookstore, I can see myself walking in and exploring. It’s very Apple-like because the people have tons of information, just like an employee would but more than an usual employee at any other store. The design is also very modern and edgy which appeals to people. Alcohol always make things fun and that given with a bar and lounge. Even if I wasn’t interested in reading, walking in, I could see myself buying a book just because of how its been architected. I think if American bookstores used this business model it could be successful, but I feel like it’s too late for something like this as the need for physical bookstores is dying rapidly here in America with e-book and readers taking over.

    2. This article took me back to a less illustrious but still alluring bookstore of my childhood called the Tattered Cover. As a boy my mom would drop me off at this four story building of books in down town Denver while she went to work. I would spend hours wondering the stacks of books and indulging my imagination with any cover that caught my eye. After I’d gathered a satisfactory pile of books I’d curl up in a giant comfy chair either in the rooftop cafe or in the stacks and disappear into another world. Although many feel today children do not experience this type of wonderment for books, I wonder if children are still exercising their imaginations as I did in the bookstore. For two summers I was a nanny for two brothers 9 and 11 years old. While they did play video games all the time, they also enjoyed going to the library and reading. However, I noticed they struggled with the pronunciation of many words. I wanted to take them to the Tattered Cover but found out it had sadly gone out of business. In my opinion there is no replacement of the paper bound book just like their is no replacement for the ninety minute romcom, however I do believe in the creation of new mediums for new technologies. The comparison of reading a paper novel versus an e-book is fundamentally flawed because the old creative expression of the book does not match the new medium of the internet. Instead bookstores like Tsutaya and the Tattered Cover should still carry printed written works and people should stop supplementing them with an ebook they read on a screen. Instead new mediums should be made for new technologies and older mediums should still have a strong establishment in society. The movie and play did it, so why can’t the book?

    3. Truthfully, I never understood the romanticization of the physical object of The Book. I prefer books (screens give me a headache and I prefer to handwrite my annotations), but as long as people are reading and engaging in texts, I don’t really see the problem. I see the problem with hyperlinks, but most people who I know who read e-books don’t have e-books with hyperlinks. The physical book has very little to do with the act of reading.

      With that being said, I love that the bookstore engages with the physical act of writing. A reader doesn’t necessarily have to be an author, but I think that in order to truly engage with a text, a reader must be able to articulate their thoughts clearly. Writing teaches that skill. I like that the store emphasizes text as a tangible thing and something of importance, but the book aspect is overrated.

  12. The death of the book has been debated in our class for a while now due to the introduction of eBooks and I was wondering if the interest of youths towards reading will be at all affected by simply making eBooks readily available to students. This article: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2015/getting-trade-ebooks-into-more-classrooms/ talks about a new deal with HarperCollins establishing a more abundant and refined database, but shouldn’t there be more dimensional thinking to encouraging readership than just marketing ebook content for schools. This article establishes the “cost of content in learning settings” as the primary concern, but I don’t think this will drastically affect reading as a discourse. The deal is not invested in the digitization of textbooks but rather popular titles, so I do not understand this argument so much when libraries have always been readily available to students. Maybe, if it were concerned with textbooks, then I could legitimize this claim in my mind, but that isn’t the case. What is missing?

    link: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2015/getting-trade-ebooks-into-more-classrooms/

    1. I think it is interesting that they would be be more inclined to make popular titles instead of textbooks open for digital download for students. It is true that these resources are open for students in the form of libraries, I wonder if this is contributing more to the death of libraries then the death or reading. But still it is a good thing if people are reading more. I wish they would digitize the textbooks because textbook industry takes a huge toll of students.

      1. I love this article. It reinforces my dream of having a big library in my house stocked with thousands of books. Obviously the stores in Tokyo are going to be more extravagant than most, but the first store that I can’t think of that comes close to this one is Powell’s bookstore in Portland, Or. Powell’s takes up a whole city block in Portland and although they don’t have a pen meuseum, they do have almost every book that you can think of, they even have a small room on the 4th floor dedicated to rare and first edition books! It’s so cool. The staff at Powell’s is very well read and were the first people to introduce me to Charles Bukowski, after I asked for a book similar to Ken Keyse. I hope that as the market for hard books changes some big flagship stores still stand and promote writing and literature like these stores.

  13. Buzzfeed recently posted an article (of sorts) where they asked attendees of the Book Expo America conference why they think people should read more books. I thought this question ties into the growing sentiment that people are reading novels less and why this is considered detrimental. Many of the responses were about escapism, gaining insight into new worlds, and expanding perspectives. What I found interesting was that a couple of the responses compared reading to the technology of movies and television, claiming that reading ‘stimulates the mind’ in ways that technology can’t. The next question that came to mind was what happens when we combine technology and reading? Does that sentiment change?
    The sensory experience of reading a physical book will always hold value. At the same time, I think it is more and more logical to accept that the next generation of thinkers will be connecting technology and reading on a daily basis. iPads can be used to teach children how to spell with interactive games and TV game shows can test their smarts. That being said, learning separate from technology has to be as important as is learning with it. Technology has to be a tool, not a crutch. Face-to-face interaction is still the most important mode of communication, and we must set our children up for success by finding the balance between things like technology and reading.


  14. I found it interesting that the literary sense of reading books was found to be more stimulating to different parts of the brain rather than technology. Reading has a way of immersing the imagination of the reader into the text. The reader feels empowerment expressed with finding an escape from reality into their own imagination, without having to literally see or interact with the pages. Technology brings the imagination of reading out in the open to see and use. The value of individual imagination produced from reading literature is forgone by the efficiency and utility of technology, such as the Internet. However, when both technology and reading are connected with one purpose it creates a more powerful tool to interact with, such as the limitless information on the Internet and all of the applications it brings. The new use of technology, such as iPads, smartphones, laptops, etc. has made it extremely simpler and easier to find information, read various topics, and gain access to new digital forms of literature to read at a moment’s notice. Technology is both a tool and a crutch based on how it is used and reading physical books has become a thing of the past because of the universal utility of technology and the Internet. The Internet offers the same use as physical books (escapism, gaining insight into new worlds, and expanding perspectives) but also brings exponential freedom and instantaneous access to any information needed or wanted at any time with the click of a button. This utility is the reason why reading has become absorbed by the Internet and new forms of technology that surpass the need for physical books.

  15. I found an article that I was interesting to me because it illuminates how gaming has become a new form of literacy that is making a tidal wave of changes today to our communication and interaction with other people. Similar to print literacy, gaming is has become its own domain of literacy and is formed by the fusion of reading and technology into one “embodied experience.” Here’s the link if you want to check it out, http://www.beyondliteracy.com/gaming-as-a-literacy/, they make the case that the body and the mind are both engaged at once, reading and playing, thus creating a fully immersive experience and digital form of literacy.

    1. I love in the James Gee video how he talks about the fact that nobody used to be a professional in the world of science, that it was all about collaborating with other scientists and working on your own in order to improve, because that mirrors how gamers get very very good at video games. There is nowhere you can go to learn to be good at most games, you just need to work through it on your own and find other people who are very good to discuss strategies with. Those kinds of learning techniques resonate with some people more than others, and I think thats the way we can start to get around needing the university as a system. By creating avenues for self teaching and ways of letting people connect to others in their chosen fields, we can allow for growth and learning outside of a regimented system for those who choose to pursue it. The big issue with this kind of system, or at least one of them, is that a degree is very good way of showing a potential employer that you have some baseline competency. Can we get around most employers simply requiring proof that you couldn’t get through self-teaching? Probably not… But maybe we can try?

  16. http://garyturk.com/portfolio-item/lookup/

    This video went viral last year and now has more than 52 million views on YouTube. After sharing this video on Facebook and various social media platforms, many friends vowed to “look up” more often and to spend more time outside of their technology-centered worlds.
    Despite those vows, however, nothing has changed. If anything, I notice my friends are constantly updating their social media statuses to share their whereabouts. I notice how we would all go to lunch and they would still be on their phones. I notice how our conversations are cut short because they just had to take a picture of their food for Instagram. I notice how my friends would be so immersed in the conversation taking place on their phone that they would nearly run into things because of it.
    I don’t remember the context in which I mentioned this video during one of our discussions, but I think we were discussing something along the lines of missed opportunities because we are so distracted by technology. I think we were also discussing how the “age of distraction” will affect children. I’ll stop rambling. I believe the video/spoken word speaks for itself.

    1. This is a great video, I had seen it last year but forgotten about it (which speaks to your reflection). I’m pretty sure I actually sent this to my six year younger brother (on Facebook) because our family always scolds him for constantly looking at his phone virtually all the time. I can’t deny that I got the chills on multiple occasions throughout the video, but I think this is partially due to the speaker’s enchanting accent and the excellently chosen background music. I absolutely empathize with the sentiments being made, but I think it’s important to note the relevance of the manner in which they’re expressed. Many arguments have won support by applying universally applicable emotional appeals like the ones in this production – no one can be against the value of true love and having a fulfilling life. The chances of missing out on meeting the love of your life because you were looking at your phone are probably pretty low, but admittedly not impossible. I agree that in the aggregate, spending excessive amounts of time on digital media can take away from experiencing life to the fullest. But are we to simply stop relying on our smartphones for all of the conveniences they provide? Should we stop using digital navigation services in the hopes that we run into our true love while wandering through the streets? Also, I realize that the creator needed to make an encompassing argument to be effective, but there are certainly assets of social media that can facilitate otherwise inaccessible interactions, such as with long-distance friendships. Finally, I thought it was interesting that he drew a distinction between spending time alone to read or paint and spending time on social media. Can’t the creation of original digital material plausibly be just as productive and meaningful as that of physical material?

    2. One line really resonated with me in the video. “The time you don’t have to tell hundreds of what you’ve just done, because you want to share this moment with just this one.” So much technology, SnapChat is one that readily comes to mind, encourages us to share what we are doing with great immediacy. We’re so concerned with documenting everything and letting everyone know what we’re doing, that we lose connection with the people who matter at the moment–the people we are physically in contact with. Social media prides itself on connecting people who might otherwise not be able to connect due to physical distance. However, it seems that when one problem is fixed, another one is created. In our attempt to maintain connection with those we’re not with, we are actively distancing ourselves from the people we ARE with. Our attention is divided and when we’re not living in the present moment, we lose deep meaningful connections we otherwise won’t be able to obtain. This reminds me of an extension to distracted reading and how it transcends to everyday interactions as well. I believe living in the present moment and providing someone with your undivided attention is such a valuable sacrifice you can give to someone nowadays, but technology that calls for immediacy are unfortunately in the way of that.

  17. I enjoyed reading the article which was just posted to the course website: “Nation Shudders At Large Block of Interrupted Text”. The satirical piece really offers constructive social criticism and draws attention towards the decline in deep reading and concentration. Although it was a bit humorous, it got me thinking about the future of reading as a hobby. How will the decline in concentration and reading affect our reading of satirical pieces or poetry or other literature that is meant to be read for not only enjoyment but deep thinking? I even came across an article which discusses how “poetry is going extinct”. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/24/poetry-is-going-extinct-government-data-show/) This just reminded me of our information logs which really shows how our attention is taken elsewhere and how it can be problematic.

    1. I definitely agree that the article “Nation Shudders At Large Block of Interrupted Text,” is amusing.
      In response to the article about poetry going extinct, however, I will have to say that poetry is still alive, but first we must define poetry. Is it just words that are grouped into stanzas and couplets? Words that have an AB rhyming scheme? Poetry could be defined as the lyrics of a song, the performance of spoken word, and the art of forming pictures out of words. Poetry is far from going extinct. As mentioned in the article, even the question “is poetry going extinct?” only proves that poetry is still relevant. People may not be reading poetry, but many are eating their own instead. The site http://www.powerpoetry.org/ is a community of poets that share their works of art with the world. This community even offers scholarships to a select few poets.
      So, to answer the question, I don’t believe poetry is dead. As long as we live and breathe, poetry is still relevant. We may not read Edgar Allan Poe or contemplate Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” on a daily basis, but poetry is still alive and kicking.

  18. http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-09-18/your-paper-brain-and-your-kindle-brain-arent-same-thing

    This article discusses how the brain works when reading from a screen vs. reading from a book. It also includes a 5 minute radio based interview that the article is based off of. The article mentioned many things that we’ve discussed in class such as skimming things when we read from screens and also close reading.
    Interesting was a fact that it said our brain use different parts of the brain when reading from a piece of paper or from a screen. When we read from a screen we actually skim more – this is known as “non-linear” reading. This is a practice that actually involves skimming. But I disagree with this a bit. I feel if the document, novel, or whatever you’re reading is online, you can deep read it instead of being a novel or mortgage statement the article mentions.

  19. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/06/should-journalists-know-how-many-people-read-their-stories/395033/

    I thought that this article was interesting in light of the discussions that we have been having in class as to the future of reading. The fact that journalism is always changing, especially since the importance of social media for distribution of content has disrupted the print and prior digital news sources. I think that it is important for journalists to have access to data and analytics so they can see what people want, however this is a double edged sword, if they start only writing articles based on peoples perceived interests we may end up with writing that isn’t as well written or important. However, I think that the future of journalism for better or for worse will require journalists to have to interpret data in order to gain exposure, as the internet is saturated with articles.

    1. This is an interesting article, and it is very relevant to what we have discussed in class. I agree with you Maher, on the idea that journalists should be allowed to see data that pertains to articles that they have written. Also I agree with the thought that this data could help news companies create the type of articles that people desire to read. With that said, I also believe that it is not only about trying to write more articles that receive high levels of viewership. I think that it would also be important to keep writing articles that do not receive as many views, but do receive a consistent amount of views each time they are made available. News companies should remember to cater to niche markets and small groups of loyal information consumers because they too are crucial for a news companies’ overall impression on the public. I also agree with you, Maher, on the thought that providing this type of data to news writers could foster the production of lower caliber articles. By that I mean, just as you have said, providing writers with the data of their viewers could cause the writers to only be concerned with catching the publics attention. This could indeed mean that the actual quality of writing could decrease because the writers’ primary focus has switched, and all they really care about is how popular their articles are.

    2. Maher,
      This article is so interesting and brings up a larger issue with journalism:

      Market forces in journalism is nothing new. While we’d like to idealize the news as a standalone force, it is undoubtedly dependent on advertisement. The news isn’t publically funded (although, and argument can be made that should be), and increasingly, newsrooms and publishers become dependent on the information that data can provide to drive and sustain their business. I wrote an op-ed in TBL about the specific issue of Facebook contracting with the New York Times to distribute content on Facebook’s website; and the issue that “trending” news-stories can have on what people read, or are exposed to in an environment in which news is tailored to your interests.

      Digressing away from my original point, but extending it further (ha!), I’d like to bring up two news-sites that address technology and data in interesting ways:
      Fivethirtyeight.com: One of my favorite news-sites, utilizes data and analytics to drive their stories. I mentioned this earlier in class, but they take similar approaches from sports-analytics (they’re also affiliated with ESPN) and political calculus, to develop their stories. On the forefront of data journalism, FiveThirtyEight is, in my opinion, is proof that journalism is not dead, but is going to take a radically different approach to provide meaningful, deep content to readers.

      Second, the app, ‘Yahoo News Digest’, streamlines their news stories, and provides a holistic approach to articles that provide the reader with a greater depth of information that is not found on news-sites or hard-print.

      To summarize, data is such a powerful tool, and with the collection of information that’s made available via the internet provides an enormous opportunity to explore, report and facilitate a debate on so many important issues.

      –BUT REALLY, EVERYONE SHOULD CHECK OUT FIVETHIRTYEIGHT! Data-Journalism is awesome!!!!– Math and numbers have a place in the humanities!!!!!!

  20. http://www.theskimm.com/

    This site host a daily email newsletter that is sent out to subscribers. It details anything important that is happening with short blurbs so that people do not need to read a lot to understand. They advertise that they “do the reading for you” These blurbs tell you what the story is, what happened and why it is important. So the question is, what does this sort of site mean for us? It is particularly targeted towards college students who do not have the “time to read”. Is it better for us to have someone else determine what news is important and send it to us, or to not get the news at all? If I really don’t have the time to go through all the different news sources is a product such as “the skimm” helpful? Or does it make us loose our desire to read deeply?

  21. http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510184/intelligence-squared-u-s-debates

    NPR’s podcast, “Intelligence Squared” features experts who debate a topic and allows the audience to decide whether they agree or disagree.
    The link, “Is Smart Technology Makes Us Dumb” focuses on the arguments for and against technology. Discussing how people use technology (in a global context as well as in American culture), the debaters compare the dream of how technology can be used, and how its used as a tool for procrastination.

    Providing an excellent source to summarize the class, I feel this debate constitutes an excellent resource to reflect upon the class, and revisit the argument we centered on the past 10 weeks of the role technology has on reading in the 21st Century.

    –Also Nicholas Carr is one of the debaters, which adds well to the class’s curriculum. —

  22. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/sesame-street-and-its-surprisingly-powerful-effects-on-how-children-learn/2015/06/07/59c73fe4-095c-11e5-9e39-0db921c47b93_story.html

    The Washington Post published an article summarizing a recently published study which states that kids can learn as much by watching Sesame Street as they can be going to preschool. Considering how much of our class was focused on education and the potential changes that need to be made in order to really engage with kids, this seems like a relevant article.

    One of the main points of this study is that Sesame Street is constantly adapting to the needs and interests of its audience, using focus testing and parental concerns to decide what elements to include in their show and what to remove. By using storytelling, kids are more interested and focused so they have the possibility of learning quicker. The article also emphasizes that watching Sesame Street is especially helpful for kids that may not necessarily have access to a lot of parental conversation or education, so rather than replacing preschool this show acts as one way to slightly lessen the educational gap set up by economic inequality.

    I’d like to see the study itself, and more research into this area could be an important next step, but this article brings up a lot of fascinating questions about education and the potential value of TV.

  23. I found this article on a technological device that aids in the engagement of the physical text. Throughout the course, we’ve discussed ways in which media and literature are trying to engage readers due to apparent new found problems in our attention. I thought it would be a bit different to look into the science behind a particular technological device and how it aids readers with physical disabilities.


    1. This is an amazing way to make reading more accessible! Schools have to special order braille books for students, and I’m not sure who ends up paying for them but after a few years the cost must add up. I’m sure this ring isn’t cheap, but it is a one-time (possibly life-time) investment, and if any books/newspapers/journals/magazines aren’t available in braille, they will suddenly become accessible to the visually impaired. I wonder, though, how it will affect braille in other settings. Like if the ring becomes affordable and widely used, will braille on ATM pads, elevators, etc. disappear? Will braille completely disappear?

  24. http://www.economist.com/news/essays/21623373-which-something-old-and-powerful-encountered-vault
    From papyrus to pixels, an essay by The Economist explores the history of books and the future for them. Using a economical analysis answers many questions about the book’s future. Many of the findings are counter intuitive. For example in the number of books printed in 2013 is the largest ever, with 1.4 million international book numbers ISBNs assigned not including unpublished ebooks. This number compared to only 8,100 is staggering. The revolution of the internet is also increasing the size of the text and the size of the niche are becoming less of a barrier. Since authors can reach more readers then ever.

    The essay is broken into five chapters with interviews from the most knowledgable in the industry. The Economist even quotes, Nicholas Carr as he admits people are actually holding onto their books for the immersive experience.” As well as having the pleasure of listening to splendid english accents for a half an hour. Enjoy!

    Here’s some facts from the essay:
    -e-books accounted for 30% of market share
    -5% of Germany’s book markets are ebooks
    -Growth rate of ebook has slowed in many markets including US and Britain
    -Why: the print book is a really competitive technology with portable, hard to break, high resolution long battery life

  25. I have some thoughts on The Shakespeare Machine:

    I kind of think about it similarly to how I thought about Pottermore for my final project. It’s not an installment for people unfamiliar with the subject, but is instead a way to keep something fresh for existing fans. In a class that focused so much on whether or not people are still reading, I have to wonder what the value is of a piece that requires its audience to have a decent knowledge of the subject beforehand.

    Maybe the concern stretches beyond reading in general, and has become a worry about whether or not we are re-reading. Do books stick with a modern audience? After all, what good is reading if the reader lets go of the book the second they close it? It’s not like the Shakespeare Machine exists to continue making a profit off of a loyal fan base. By recontenxtualizing Shakespeare plays, the machine is resparking interest in old readers and asking them to remember what was important in each play, what mattered to them, and even encourages them to read the plays once more.

    1. I agree with many aspects of this article as well. Our generation is known for a sense of optimism that we’ve had to create to shield us from the fear that the rest of society perpetuates. There’s nothing wrong with debating the pessimistic side of an arguement, personally I’m very bearish about the stock market, but deep down I feel that if there were another recession my generation has the faith to prevail. Of course that is just one example, but I feel that it poignantly expresses the types of fear our generation is innudated with: pressures to be politically correct, get a job that is secure, limit media consumption, global warming, terrorism and basically a whole list of “should do’s” that the previous generation failed to accomplish, which is natural I suppose. So, I wholeheartedly agree that worrying is a waste of time, the past is dead and the future is unknown, so why not be content in the present? Easier said than done, but I do think that my generations idealism is going to lead to wonderful things . It could very well lead to the death of the book, but also the birth of completely accessible and inexpensive literature or we might see a revival of print with big stores like Tsutaya in Tokyo. Who knows? All I know is that I’m proud of people that block about fear and embrace change like the author of this article. The world is changing faster than ever before, if you can’t take the heat then you’re going to get burnt.

  26. http://www.buzzfeed.com/lincolnmichel/the-future-is-never#.hyXRGWBJOZ

    This BuzzFeed article is about how we can’t predict the “future of reading” or the future of anything at all. People have been saying for over a decade that print is dead, but books are still around. The author makes the point that technological improvements only seem linear because no one thinks about the advances that people claimed were “the future” that ultimately failed. (No one talks about that weird iTunes social networking thing that completely died because it’s not relevant anymore, but it could have been the “future” of social networking or the “future” of music sharing.)

    I love this article. People get so worked up over “the future” without even knowing what’s going to happen. If they’re so worried, they should do something instead of just talking. They should revolutionize the book (there’s a section at the end of the article of what “books can do better”). The future is not set in stone and if people would be more active about preserving and revitalizing the modes of reading that they love, they wouldn’t have to worry about the future so much.

  27. I’m late to submit a link here, but I found this image while I was digging around on reddit today and thought it was at least a little relevant:

    I think it reflects a lot of the tech anxiety we’ve noticed in our readings – the kind that people of a certain age tend to have about the arrival of all these new mediums and media formats. There’s a visible fear that widespread indiscipline will lead to social degeneration, and the artist seems to worry about what will happen when all of the information, all of the content, proves too omnipresent to ignore. The artist’s obvious implication is the ultimate disintegration of the independent mind, represented by the female figure’s suicide.

    But I tend to think it’s all unjustified paranoia. I don’t even really think the art really succeeds in conveying its message. For one, the imagery is entirely hyperbolic: handguns and intravenous computer wires are blatantly melodramatic, and the whole delivery of the message consequently seems trite.

    But then there’s that image of the cat halfway caught in the computer screen – it shows the way that technology has fundamentally altered (arguably, and I’m not sure I agree) the way we perceive domestic relationships and companionship itself. Instead of legitimate interactions, we’re now content to engage in false manifestations of genuine contact. And while I appreciate the artist’s clear cynicism, I’m forced to wonder whether he did this thing on a computer in the first place.

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