Where are we Headed in Cyberculture?

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Where are we Headed in Cyberculture?

According to Sven Birkerts in his essay, Into the Electronic Millennium, “a change is upon us – nothing could be clearer. The printed word is part of a vestigial order that we are moving away from – by choice and by societal compulsion” (Tribble and Trubek, 63). It is impossible to disagree with this statement given the technological evolutions that have occurred over the years. The availability and preference of what is involved in the change is what is called into question. Although we are moving toward a computer-centered society, I do not believe this change can occur for everyone. There are several factors to consider other than simply the presence of technology.

Reflecting on the history of print culture, Birkerts writes that “the dominant oral culture was overtaken by the writing technology” and the art of physically writing was “effected in the late fifteenth century after Gutenberg invented moveable type” (63). Naturally, people were wary of accepting such changes because they preferred the old, familiar way of doing things. They liked what they were used to and were proficient at doing. The same is true for people of our day. Students are much more likely to prefer a computer to a book, because we have little to no choice in the matter. All of our work must be complete on a computer and we are required to search scholarly journals within databases to complete research papers.

There are a few groups however, who I can imagine are less likely to put down a book and grab a keyboard. First, there is a generational issue to consider. People whose youth came before computers were introduced to the general public probably are not as familiar with them and may be less likely to c...

... middle of paper ... way would not be the preferred method. Coinciding with my belief is Wendy Lesser in her essay, The Conversion, states that she “wouldn’t want to read a novel or even a ten-page story on e-mail” (228).

In summary, yes, I do believe that we are moving towards a more computer-orientated society, but I do not see this change happening for everyone. I will believe a change will be more widely available when the cost of a new computer significantly drops and when the ease of use significantly rises. For those of us who are computer-saavy and who have spent years in front of a computer, we welcome the change and may even wonder what has taken so long, but for those children whose student-to-computer ratio is thirty-five to one, they will dread the day when they will be forced to use something they can not afford and wouldn’t know how to use if they could afford it.
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