Technology is a part of our lives. I’m stating the obvious here. Even if a person in America tries to say they are techno-illiterate, they must admit they know what email is and probably sent a few in the past week. If they said they don’t own a computer, they still use public computers to find a book in the library or check online current events. The digital revolution has come and it is interwoven into our social life. You can’t even enroll in classes or manage your finances at WSU without regular access to the internet.
Faigley notes Slouka’s contension that technology alienates the individual into pursuing technologic environments that are more appealing than real physical communities. Yes, there is a deliberate escape from reality in World of Warcraft and Second Life; but I am more interested in how the digital screen is interwoven into our reality as not only part of our social understanding of communication but our conceptualization of reality. Ten years after Faigely’s address to CCCCs, we have seen the literacy of technology move from innovative exciting social possibilities to commonplace social interaction.
Because this literacy has become commonplace, it seems more necessary to consider how to make writing applicable in a technological world instead of using technology in the writing literate world. The development of civic pluralism in society, as the New London group discuss, has made consumerism and productivity a part of our private lives. The vehicle of this production is technology: a tool for efficient, expedient production. Hence, literacy in technologies and technological spaces makes a part of a society. What is your email address? What is your account number on the database? Please enter your password. Having an email account takes priority over what you write in the email. Having the tool is more important than knowing how to use it.
So, I wonder if the New London Group’s emphasis on calling writing ‘design’ further prioritizes technological access over technological articulation? Are ‘available designs’ just a toolbar on the digital screen that gives us options to choose from but ultimately limits our creation?