“Writing and Reading for a New Generation”
In the past decade, the Internet has taken over. Everyone from young children to senior citizens can communicate, send e-mail, or look up any bit of information in seconds. Because of the overwhelming shift to Internet technology and communication, many aspects of writing have been forever changed. Writers often write differently for the Internet than they do for a physical publication. Readers often read differently on the Internet than physically written text. Within the forms of Internet writing exists one unlike the others and that is personal publishing web sites, such as blogger, live journal, diary land—the list goes on. By allowing any individual to publish anything onto the web, the traditional ideas of writing and reading are automatically forfeited to a new generation of writers.
The first thing to understand about personal publishing sites is their uses. What the site will be used for can also dictate which site a person will utilize. For instance, something like diary land (diaryland.com) is typically used strictly as an online journal. People record their thoughts, what they’ve been doing, and what events are coming up in their lives. Like a personal web site, users will personalize the layout of the “diary” including pictures, borders, etc. Other sites, like blogger (blogger.com), can be used for personal means or professional ones. In the case of my English 328 class, blogs can even be used as a place to respond to writing prompts for homework. In looking at these sites, I noticed that blogger more than the others also had blogs specific to certain interests. For instance, one blog was dedicated solely to lovers of palm pilots.
The way someone writes on their weblog, regardless of which site and format they use, is solely based on intended audience. This is similar to traditional senses of writing, but not entirely. For instance, if someone uses their weblog for personal purposes, they often think it will only be read by those who know them. This allows the writer to mention any number of names or events with no explanation as to who such-and-such person is, or what took place. Their intended audience is already expected to know this information. Traditionally, with diaries and journals the only intended audience was the person writing it. These writers are not thinking of their writing as being on a “world wide” platform. Others, who use weblogs professionally, only explain as much as they need to, assuming those who read the weblog will be others in the same professional setting. This extreme narrowing of the audience goes against what was apparent in traditional writing. As James Sosnoski says in his article “Hyper-readers and their Reading Engines,” “writers are taught to strive for coherence and readers expect it,” (407). What this means is that a writer’s purpose is to make the reader understand them. Clearly, this is not the case with web...