Sunday, February 27, 2011

Writing in the Modern Age

Writing has changed a good deal since whenever writing started. To understand the change we must look at what came before writing. Epic poems were passed from father to son and thereby kept alive until someone decided to write it down. Writing has been around almost as long as words, going back about thirty thousand years ago Homo Sapiens were painting interpreting some unknown thought onto a wall on their cave (whether that was the number forty two is unconfirmed). If you go forward about twenty six thousand years and into a cave in the city of Uruk you would see clay being inscribed with a record of how much land some important person had. Eventually in Egypt a few of the pictures were chosen to represent a certain sound and with that invention came the ability to form words in a pictorial form. Than a bunch of other important things happened. In 1439 came the printing press, invented by Johannes Gutenburg. The ability to "print" books led to people reading more books and naturally, information being passed around. Without the capability to mass produce books information could not be spread so diversely. Many important scientific works would be largely unknown, such as Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, (possibly the most important scientific book ever written) or Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. Around the 18th century Lord Stanhope had constructed an industrial printing press which doubled the amount of pages per hour possible. In 1814 the first truly successful newspaper: The Times was first published. Seventy four years later John Loud was issued a patent for the ballpoint pen. The patent for the typewriter was issued in 1867, later in 1914 came the invention of the electronic typewriter. The first modern computer was invented in 1941, but the first commercially available was the Apple II in 1997. In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web. The Apple iPhone was introduced in 2007. What do all these things have in common? They all have contributed to writing!

How much has writing changed changed in the last century? How many letters have you received in the last six months? How many emails have you received in the last six months? For someone under 20 it is likely that the only letters that you have received are either birthday or get well cards. How many emails have you gotten in the past six months? Very likely more than you can count. My high score for emails in a day is 70 new messages.  Have ever written an article in a newspaper? Unless you are Charlotte, probably not. Have you ever written a blog post? Depends on your age, 60% of bloggers are 18-44. How often do you post on Facebook? More than thirty five million Facebook users update their status every day! Wikipedia has more than fourteen million articles. What does all this say about writing? It says that people write more. What does it not say? About the quality of the writing. Every time I go on Facebook I see examples of people who should not be allowed access to a keyboard! I see people who can't tell the difference between a post and a message! They post little tidbits of information that we don't care about or don't want to know! As I check Facebook I see a few uninteresting posts followed by one that makes me grimace and one that makes me laugh. The friend request is not my favorite, I have a "friend" in Russia and a request from a woman in Nevada offering to go out with me and then do inappropriate things. [end rant] What do mobile phones say about writing? Instant messaging. I have seen people sit next to each other to text, I have heard of several teens in a car texting each other, and then dying. Texting, as Thomas Jefferson would have of put it a "necessary evil". We can't live with it and we can't live with it. But it is very funny when you receive a text intended for someone else.


  1. Hi Solomon, I like your point here about quality vs. quantity. Just because we write a lot, doesn't mean we're necessarily writing well. I would like to see more organization in your post though and a few less questions. An occasional rhetorical question can get your reader thinking, but setting up your statements with 1st a question and then an answer just boosts your word count. :) In class tomorrow we'll discuss how to structure posts and tighten their focus.

  2. Hi Solomon, I agree with my mom about the organization, and to many questions, maybe cut it down to just one or two questions, and organize your ideas into a few more paragraphs instead of the two blocks. To hard on the eyes:) Otherwise, it was really cool.

  3. Charlotte - Let's try and remember "to" vs. "too," hmmm?

  4. I agree with what both of them said but i also wanted to add that i think you could make it better by making it more personal like your personal writing experience instead of just about Facebook but over all i liked it :)

  5. I agree with wintrborn about the personal touch part about it, I also enjoyed the historical facts you inserted. I do this too but I noticed you typed the same word in right after another just thought I'd point it out over all I definetly enjoyed this article.

  6. Hey Solomon,
    Great information!!! It must have taken a bunch of research.

    I would recommend that you try to draw more conclusions from the all those amazing facts... and then that would help you make a really strong point (thesis).

    Also, you repeated "How many emails have you received in the last six months?" a few times, and your sentence "About the quality of the writing." is a fragment. All fixable. :)

    Good job!