Marshall McLuhan, writing from the 1960s, is looking at the typewriter as a new form of technology. Until this point, I assume, people have been handwriting letters. McLuhan analyzes this new way of communicating, its effects on society, and most importantly, how it changed writing. We can probably relate to this when we think about our studying techniques. Some people feel the need to write things down in order to fully understand their text. Others find it easier to type things out as quickly as their train of thought. For instance, on a personal note, I was never able to keep a journal. Writing by hand is too slow for my thoughts, and honestly wears out my hand. As a child, I always wanted to keep a journal, but never pushed on with it. However, typing out entries and being able to archive them was much more appealing to me. I can type almost as fast as I can think, and I can then alter my words accordingly. Meanwhile, some may enjoy the converse, gathering their thoughts and manually writing them out. McLuhan points out in his essay that the experience of writing changes what is being written and, moreover, how it is read.
Typewriting changed the way people wrote and how they read it. After the dawn of typewriting, handwriting became a personal gesture. It is now more often used to instill some sort of intimate emotion, such as love or sympathy. These messages are usually associated with the respect of taking time to send the message. Professional messages are sent in type for a legible, less personal intent. For instance, letters between coworkers are usually to exchange information rather than express emotion. Furthermore, typing messages allows for the use of bold, italics, and other forms of typography add emphasis to messages. These allow the reader to get a larger sense of how the writer i trying to speak. Prior to this, words were specific and made of most of the writer’s power in their voice. The picture I provided is a great example of how writing can solely depend on diction.
One of my favorite quotes, which demonstrates the use of words without typography or emphasis (bold, italics, underlines).
The typewriter, of course, changes this method. The evolution of the typewriter (in the form of computers) introduces writers to typography, various fonts, and spacing. McLuhan makes an interesting reference to one of E.E. Cummings’s poems, in which Cummings uses the typewriter to stress and pace words the way he wants it to be read.
The dawn of blogging has changed writing similarly to typewriting. We, as bloggers have to figure out reach our audience on a personal/emotional level without handwriting our posts. We now have the opportunity to incorporate pictures, videos, and other media to our posts in order to emphasize. We can tag and archive our work, and we can easily proofread and alter our thoughts after we’ve posted. The way we write is constantly developing, and as we advance in our communication, I think this reading highlights the importance of the pure context of words.