Answering Ben Yagoda

by Allison Harvard

In October 3 of The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Lingua Franca section, Mr Yagoda popped the question: “Is the Internet Good for Writing?”

His piece is the first part, the Affirmative take, towards the unending query of online writing and what it does to people’s skills (eg, writing, communicating, and thinking).  As a backup for reinforcing the Yes-answer to the question, the writer took to his wing Clive Thompson.

Indeed, it’s good

The author of Smarter Than You Think book brings his points home through these witty statements:

“Before the Internet came along, most people rarely wrote anything at all for pleasure or intellectual satisfaction after graduating from high school or college.” Now … people compose about 3.6 trillion words a day via e-mail, blogs, and social media…”

Perhaps, if people stick to the emphasis on volume and frequency, yes! – Every single literate reader becomes a writer, as well.  Social media networks and other such platforms gave people the chance to have their voice heard, or in the proper context, read.

Another Thompson-line that is worth dissecting into three parts were inclusive of the following: (1) firstly, part of the objective is to gain recognition or attention; (2) online writing is actually a form of “auditioning;” and (3) the beauty in this whole writing trend is that it “forces you to think more precisely, make deeper connections…

Once a tweet, a post or a blog entry is out, it gets a taste of people’s tests.  Some get liked, some incite comments, some are shared, and most get flushed in people’s memory drain.  It inevitably, assigns the readers as judges.  And like the ones seen in talent pageants, such judges don’t always seem to showcase tough benchmarks.  Interestingly, those who do have good metrics end up looking great image- or taste-wise.

More scholars

Clive Thompson didn’t have to be alone in his campaign.  Some scholars were also brought in the picture; one had been Andrea Lunsford (Standford):

“We’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we have not seen since Greek civilization.”

It’s just a great description, but for those who can’t see through the lines, fill your imagery with the following scenes: free-access to loads of good reads – blogs, articles, and even eBooks; easy to use writing platforms – social media networks, hosting sites, and the welcoming blogosphere; online writing coupled by more mobile devices and free writing applications.  Indeed, when the digital paper is conveniently laid in front, there’s no stopping the posting, the tweeting, the writing!

 About the Author

Allison Harvard works for Prospect Solution as a Public Relations Manager . Prospect Solution provides freelance job for academic writers and professionals who wish to earn well while still maintaining their work-life balance.