Blogs - From Printing Press to Blog Essays

Blogs - From Printing Press to Blog Essays

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From Printing Press to Blog

Lance Arthur, a practiced and well-respected figure in the close-knit community of web design, subtitles his homepage ( with the short and simple phrase, "Just Write." Although his immediate profession is as a designer, Lance is also a writer. His website records his weekly musings and political rants, and it is one of several million to be updated on a regular basis. Such a website is called a blog, or web log, and in an age of the Internet such as this, it is quickly becoming the newest and greatest symbol of modern technology's impact on writing and popular culture. However, writing as we know it is the product of an evolutionary process, which provides for a history that reaches as far back as the clay tablets of ancient Sumer. As such, studying the blog requires an understanding of the methods of writing that came before it, and so the advent of the blog as both a technological and socio-cultural phenomenon is something we can attribute to two historical developments in the history of writing: the invention of the printing press and the birth of typography.

While the correlation between blog and press is not immediately clear, Gutenberg's renowned invention brought with it a slew of technological and social changes that laid the foundation for widespread literacy. The technological impact of the printing press is mostly self-evident, in that the automated and mechanized nature of production freed many human hands from the restraint of manual labor. More importantly however, the lower cost and higher output rate of the press tore down the scholastic pillar that had once elevated the aristocracy above the middle classes. By making books plentiful and more readily ...

... middle of paper ...

..., but in time, today's youth will become tomorrow's adults and the blog will exist not as a mere prototype of technology and future writing, but rather as the end-all, be-all symbol of a future way of life in which people will no longer hesitate to just write.

Works Referenced

Arthur, Lance. Just Write. 24 February 2004. Personal Homepage. <>.

David, Paul. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY." The American Economic Review, vol. 75(2). 2001. 332-337.

Kiely, Kathy. "Freewheeling 'bloggers' are rewriting rules of journalism." USA Today. 30 December 2003. Gannett Co. Inc. 21 Febuary 2004. <>.

McLuhan. "The Typewriter." Understanding Media. 258-264.

Mumford, Lewis.. "The Invention of the Printing Press." Communication in History: Technology, Culture, Society. Crowley and Heyer, eds. 93-97.

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