“It is even possible to conceive of a future in which all paper-and-pencil literacies are replaced by digital literacies.”We have seen the advent of this already…How many of you have a Kindle? (My hand is raised. I, in fact, LOVE my Kindle. And not only do I have a Kindle Paperwhite, I have the Kindle app on my Android phone and Android tablet. But I digress.)
What this sentence is saying goes beyond the shift from paperbacks to e-book readers. These authors suggest that in the future, humans will no longer write long-form essays and stories. They will create content digitally through photos, other graphics, music, and sound…maybe with the assistance of some words, but not necessarily in sentences. And not necessarily lines of verse, either. Possibly just a word here or there to accentuate the other media being used.
This prompted me to look up the definition of “to write”:
“to form (as characters or symbols) on a surface with an instrument (as a pen).”
This could also be applied to typing letters on a computer, and I suppose it could also cover the process of putting other types of symbols together (other than letters) to communicate a message. In this case, using digital media to communicate a message or story could be like a form of writing.
Will digital media eventually replace writing as we know it?
|"Borneo: Memory of the Caves"|
If that is the case, what do you suppose that means for the future of writers? Do you think in the future, instead of writing this blog post, I will communicate it to you in a series of photos and audio? Some blogs and websites already do this.
In the future, instead of writing a novel, will it be read aloud (like an audiobook) with a companion series of images or video (maybe like a really long movie)?
What might the future hold for writers given the changes in technology? I do not anticipate that in my lifetime I will see the demise of the novel as we currently know it…but what might it look like in a 100 years from now?
By Anne Greenawalt: writer, writing instructor, and Adult Education doctoral student