An Electronic Age

Everyday our world takes more and more transitions to an electronic driven lifestyle. When I first came to college I was introduced to the app Venmo. Venmo is the idea of electronic money transactions to each other. For example, if I were to split a pizza with my friend, one person would buy the pizza and the other person would “Venmo” the other. The idea of venmo is pretty much another bank account. A person can get away with not bringing their wallet anywhere and “Venmoing” people for things. Our lifestyles have become more and more reliant on electronics as we grow older. The idea of pocket change has been replaced by debit cards and even now books are transitioning to electronic articles. The use of books as a primary source is slowly being forgotten.

Browsing the Electronic Literature Collection was a disappointing experience for me. I briefly skimmed a few of the different games and readings, but spent most of my time on the “Chemical Landscapes of informal writing.” This was truly an unconventional writing. The writing had a title page, and when the reader clicks on the title page, it transitions to a paragraph. Where the reader clicked on the title page depended on which paragraph came up. The reading however, was a jumble of words that would fade before you could read the entire paragraph. It took a few rounds for me to truly read one whole paragraph. I would not consider this a form of literature in any sense but one. Birkets defines literature as something immersive. The “Chemical Landscapes of informal writing” immersed me because I was genuinely curious what the rest of the paragraph had to say.

Birkets would agree with me that this is not literature. Literature for Birkets is textbooks, novels, poetry, and other WRITTEN forms of literature. He wrote, “the difference between words on a page and words on a screen is the difference between product and process.” Reading this excerpt took me back to the readings of “The Medium is the Massage.” The medium is not more important because the medium is making readers lazy. On the Macintosh computer, someone can use the find tool to find keywords, so a reader can find exactly what they want to find in a matter of seconds without reading the entire passage. I agree with Birkets in saying that conventional literature immerses the reader into the writing.

Technology can be a useful tool but should not be abused. Our world is becoming more reliant on these forms of technology which makes it nearly impossible to ignore electronic literature. Electronic literature appeals to different people, but not to me.  There is something about sitting on your porch and reading a good novel that appeals to me.


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