Writing is Technology

Hat Tip to the blog

According to Civilization V, writing is an early research project, thus an early in-game technology, which means it’s a relatively early human invention.

The first caveman etches a symbol for food, sex, and what I am sure is something poignant involving a scratching doing something to another scratching with a sharp scratching.

The point?

A presumably sharp rock or stick was used to-

Oh, the point. I think you could have been more specific if you wanted to know.

Well, I’m sure it was used to etch out something significant. Perhaps to write a message to future cavemen that would have otherwise not have been able to see his amazing creations. Like a deviantart page for cavemen. Pr1m4t1v3 Slatedude needs the world to see his etchings!

Hat tip to Mocrystals for the pic.

One of the earliest cave drawing found in Africa. Another indication that a dead caveman from thousands of years ago is way better at drawing then I am. Also, a lot of points in this pic.

Got to admit, a caveman’s drawings have reached the Internet, even though it took thousands of years. Cavemen like to invest long term.

That was a nice little distraction from the main issue, but what was the purpose of this diatribe?

PSYCH! The exclamation of surprise, not the show. Goddammit. Did it again.

This is the point. Sorry, the point.

According to Janet Emig’s article “Writing as a Mode of Learning,”

writing makes a unique demand in that the writer must engage in ‘deliberate semantics’ in Vygotsky’s elegant phrase, ‘deliberate structuring of the web of meaning.’ Such structuring is required because, for Vygotsky, writing centrally represents an expansion of inner speech. (Emig 12)

Essentially, what is being said is that in writing, one must be more deliberate and thoughtful when crafting a sentence, or otherwise, we may end up in “point” semantics, because it can be so easy to misinterpret even with the proper context. It can be easy to misinterpret because writing is not like normal speech. It is a projection of an inner speech that is processed by the brain and put to paper. Or in this case to screen.

We see the consequences of such misinterpretations in such a technology driven world as ours. Okay, I admit, who the hell has not said this in their time when technology was the greatest peak, bear with me here.

Isn’t context so difficult to interpret on Twitter? Especially for newer users? Let’s look at this one for example.

Now you probably want to say its a creation of pure sarcasm, but can you be sure with just 140 characters? You could look at more writings in the responses to truly understand the context, but even that could be a little whacky. So you might look into a user you already follow and know. How about looking at this retweet edit of the tweet above:

Besides the edits for space, you probably know that the original tweet was made in jest, and was probably made to parody the ignorance of those in power who would ignore ability simply because of sexuality. That was all thanks to my interpretation of the tweet. You’re welcome by the way. I take mentions and retweets. Money would be nice too.

Proper contextualization of tweets is reliant on the interpretations of the users that use Twitter, which is as inextricably entangled with writing. It is as inseparable as writing and technology.

Hilarious Imgur gallery hat tip

Man have we come a long way from deviantart cave drawings and writings. Obviously the standard speed of anyone born in the late 80’s, or the 90’s

Emig states:

2. Writing then is an artificial process; talking is not.

3. Writing then is a technological device–not the wheel, but early enough to qualify as primary technology; talking is organic, natural, earlier…

8. Writing usually results in a visible graphic product; talking usually does not. (Emig 9)

Writing itself, is not given enough credit for being an actual technology, because that is what it is and it is something that has been carried on since, well, humanity learned how to use a pointy rock on cave walls. We only associate the implementation of showing writing as technology, but not the writing itself. The Internet is a great playground for showing various writings to the world, Twitter is great for text messaging on the Internet, but the craft of writing is usually overlooked.

Writing is a craft that requires meticulous arranging to ensure the proper message is sent. It needs particular attention to meanings and context, because it is a technological device that has to be maintained to be used correctly. It is as much craft as it is a tool. A point that must be sharpened if you will.

If modern video games like Civilization V know that much and tell its users that much, then how can it be anything but a major technological advance mankind has used for centuries?

A Question to Ponder:

Do you assume an inherently different context on Twitter than on any other kind of social media service?

Do you know anyone else who ends a fucking blog post on two questions…


One thought on “Writing is Technology

  1. If writing is a tool, then we must learn writing as a skill, right? Some argue that people cannot be taught how to write and some believe that writing can be taught. Perhaps then, if we write as a form of learning, then there really is no “right” way to write. I like your questions, and I would say that I do take on a different context on Twitter. I take on a different form particularly because “everyone” is watching.

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