Thursday, September 17, 2009

Technology, History, and Keeping Your Audience in Mind

What do you think about technology’s role in writing, writing about notable historic moments, and making your allusions understandable to your audience? You might want to check out the following articles and posts to explore some of these questions.


How has technology changed your writing? Modern technology has given writers the Internet and self-publishing—and allowed us to ditch the carbon paper and Wite-Out. But if you’ve read a text message written by your kids or grandkids, you may be worried about technology’s effect on writing. Read this article, “Technology changing way students view writing,” for a different take on why modern inventions may be G8 for today’s kids.

Watershed Moments

If you’ve visited Sharon Lippincott’s blog, The Heart and Craft of Life Writing, you may have read her post about September 11, “Watershed Memories.” Do you write about the defining moments of our day? Whether you are journaling, writing memoir, or composing fiction, the events we experience collectively can give important structure to our work. In my writing group, this topic expanded to include not just single momentous events, like 9/11, but also eras or long-term occurrences like the Depression, the Holocaust, and the Vietnam War. In former times, passing down stories between generations was common. Do you remember sitting on the porch and listening to older relatives talk, or attending a family reunion? Sadly, these are memories that fewer and fewer people have. Our scattered families also scatter our stories. Are you taking the time to write about the important events in your life?

Outdated References

How much thought do you give to you references and allusions? Do you keep your audience in mind? The annual Beloit College Mindset List gives us insight into references that younger people may not understand. Here’s an excerpt from the AP article that covered the list this year: “For most teens starting college this fall, rap music has always been mainstream, Mike Tyson has always been a felon, and wars have always unfolded on TV in real time.”
Picture courtesy of Zsuzsanna Kilián at

2 comments: said...

Thank you for your thoughts. You have made very good points. I think technology exists for us to acquire convenience, but it doesn't mean that we forget the basics. Just like in writing. We must keep in mind that technology is not there to do the job for us, that's why acquire educational degrees. Technology is an advantage. It is just up to the users to discipline themselves and to apply technology at its best.

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TH Meeks said...

Good point--technology is just another tool writers have. Like a dictionary--which also, by the way, has a history of being criticized for ruining the English language!