It’s easy to believe that short messages and tweets are destroying the world’s writing, but Clive Thompson has an interesting piece in Wired this month (recommended) based on the work of Stanford professor Andrea Lunsford that suggests we may be in the midst of a writing and literacy revolution driven by the Internet.
“How the Internet is Improving Writing”
The act of writing is less difficult. I used a typewriter to write my undergraduate thesis in 1979. I’m not sure how I managed to achieve it. I always had scotch tape and scissors (or glue) on hand. To this day, I am grateful for the simplicity with which command + C and Command + V allow me to shift large blocks of type with a single flick of the fingers. I also don’t require Liquid Paper. I also don’t need any of that horrible blue carbon paper that always seems to come apart. Copying is handled by my printer.
More People are Writing
Consider how much you write now if you use any type of social media at all – and, yes, e-mail is included. Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging on your phone are all examples of social media platforms. If you do any of these activities, you are almost probably writing far more than your forefathers. Not that number and quality are synonymous, but writing more can help you write better.
Even with the internet people can find more and more online writing services that help them to improve their writing.
People are Learning How to be Succinct
140 characters maximum. Do I need to say more? Given that Twitter isn’t as popular among younger people, it’s perhaps worth highlighting that brevity is also a virtue in text messaging. And, contrary to popular belief, Lunsford believes that text talk is not infiltrating more “serious” writing.
Tasks like research paper writing need a lot of words and only an intelligent can make it concise by defining all the things. This is the reason, most students even try to find cheap essay writing services to complete them, but now the internet provides all these things which students expect from online services.
Everyone’s talent increases as the need for informal writing grows. However, dire prophecies about the “end of print” have not resulted in the end of reading and writing. We need to do more of it now than we did 30 years ago. Newspapers may be disappearing, but there are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the United States, with more than 500,000 new postings on WordPress sites alone every day.
Copying is Handled by my Printer
The task of researching has become tremendously simpler. My university’s Main Library was the size of a big train station, with towering ceilings and clerestory windows. It had a vast card catalog — a stunning collection of hundreds of burnished-oak cabinets — with at least one card for every title in the library. Yes, it was alphabetical, but you had to go find and retrieve the book. You couldn’t do this at 2 a.m. (if you were a night owl) or 6 a.m. (if you were a morning lark) since the library would be closed! Google today allows us to find almost anything we desire, at any time of day or night.
Several paper writing services can assist us in all enhance our writing. Not only is writing on a computer simpler but so is editing. Here are some free or ridiculously cheap Internet tools or programs that might help:
The Ernest Hemingway App: This effectively transforms editing into a computer game. What is your goal? Correct the color-highlighted type (because the sentences are passive or too long). Yes, it’s that simple. Free
Statistics on Readability: You may paste your content into this easy web tool and then click “process.” It then gives you the grade level required for your readers to grasp your writing (lower is preferable) and your average sentence length. Free.
Evernote: Are you concerned that you may have overlooked some important piece of evidence in your article? You may keep track of everything by using key phrases if you put all of your results in the web-based program Evernote. Simple, especially if you’re doing a lot of Internet research. A basic account is free, while a premium account costs $5 per month.
Scrivener: I purchased this program a year ago and have yet to utilize it. I’m going to work on it this week since I believe it will help me edit my recent novel. The nicest aspect of Scrivener is how simple it is to reorganize scenes and content. It also allows you to make Kindle and ePub files automatically. It’s compatible with both Macs and PCs. $45
People Get Greater Information as they Write
I just interviewed Curtis Bonk, author of The World is Open (audio will be available tomorrow), and one of the themes he explores in the book is “fingertip knowledge” — the capacity to quickly access massive reservoirs of digital information. It’s not a guarantee that this kind of access enhances writing, but it very certainly may, if only by making it simpler to identify relevant instances or check facts. The ability to quickly access different perspectives on a topic can also help us refine our perspectives.
People are Combining Writing with Various Forms of Media
Successful web writing is rarely just text. A writer may include a Flickr photo, embed a YouTube movie, or even include an interactive element such as a poll. You may argue that this does not improve the writing – and may make it worse – but I believe that the capacity to combine different media can stimulate greater creativity, drive us to ponder more on what text is truly good for, and ultimately help us to communicate better.