Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Digital Text, Plato, and Dynamic Expression: A Vlog

Some of my classmates have posted some great info on XML code and the potentialities of digital text on our respective group blogs. Here's a post that explains the basics of XML, and you can access all the blogs through Okay, now watch the video  :)

Here's the link to Wesch's video!
And here's Dr. Burton's original blog post:

[Transcript below]

Hi, guys! I wanted to try doing a vlog today just to see how it turns out, and I wanted to take the time to talk a little about the video that we viewed for today, "The Machine is Us/ing Us," by anthropologist Michael Wesch. In the video, Wesch basically proposes that digital text and printed text are fundamentally different in form, i.e. that digital text is much more flexible, or much more fluid than is printed text. That's definitely something that we can definitely see in the modern age: there are tons of different platforms that we can use to view the digital content that we consume, there's tons of different collaborative efforts that are going on that really reflect a flexibility in terms of content creation, which is kind of a neat idea. And then there's also the idea of flexibility in being connected  to lots of different ideas and websites. So, I mean, we have hyperlinks, we have labels, we have all sorts of different modes of categorization that allow us to connect to websites and ideas and people in a way that's really meaningful. I think that idea of connecting people, though, really is the fundamental principle of digital humanities and of digital studies--the idea of creating a conversation between people with similar interests and, you know, people that are asking the same questions.

That idea of a conversation is not necessarily a new one, though; it's one that Plato kind of tackled in his day, and he basically drew the distinction between static and dynamic forms of expression. So he said printed text is a static form: you write it, you print it, whatever, and all that's there is there; there's nothing more to it. You can't ask a book a question and have it respond back or have it send you an email and say, "Oh, that is a good question. I need to think about that more," whereas dialogic patterns, or in this case, you know, digital patterns, allow for the creation of networks between people, the creation of meaningful conversations to answer those big questions.

So, you know, what are your thoughts? How is digital literacy or digital media changing the way we think about humanity? How is it changing the way that we interact with each other? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments or in a response video. Thanks!