Bolter’s Natural Writing

Bolter made a really fantastic point to address the idea of “natural” writing and the fact that there are a lot of prejudices towards the notion of digital writing. Unsurprisingly, these two mediums and choices of writing and entirely different and yet the same in many aspects one wouldn’t think of immediately. People who write on paper write linearly thoughts, strung along in one stream of consciousness without a single backspace; yes, an author can fix their mistakes on the page, but it’s the lingering reminder of a mistake, a misspelling, or a confused concept  that doesn’t work with the rest of the piece.

On the internet, however, the digital world is much more forgiving, much less permanent. There are backspace buttons that you can immediately delete any and all thoughts you do not wish to include in your piece. There are delete buttons, controls to edits, even little squiggles to show that yes, you made a mistake and yes, the computer is quick enough to catch your mistake before you publish to the entire world to see. If anything, it is more dire to get it right the first time on the web; on paper, maybe a couple of people will see, a good dozen. On the internet, however, millions upon millions can see. The stakes are higher.

If someone were to go against these rules, to leave the idea that one can simply remove their mistakes or the words they do not wish to use, they could write like they would on a piece of paper. I appreciated the way Bolter quoted that a writer would be “going against the grain”. The two mediums are entirely different and yet this is entirely okay. You have people who are very against change, claiming it is blasphemy, that it is shrinking our brains. Bolter makes a great argument in his second piece about the idea that this is a new change, a revolution of sorts. We had the type writer and now we have the word processor (22). This is no different from the change between a car phone and Bluetooths, between automatic and manual labors as the times change and the technology gets smarter. This is no different from a manual, simple toothbrush eventually changing into an electric toothbrush.

This is change. This is the difference between technology being a good and a bad thing: this is good. Arguments will say it’s bad, but in reality these changes are just what happens when the world evolves.


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