I love technology. But it also frustrates me. I love that I can create things in color, with imagery, flashy transitions, and even film clips to use in my teaching. I love that when I get a great idea for a chapter in my book, I can get it all down on paper just as fast as I can type (which is about 60 words per minute, thanks to typing class in high school) then go back later and delete, cut, paste, and move it around if necessary. I love how with just my IPhone, I can connect with people all around the world in an instant, watch a video, change my facebook status, and text my family what to pick up from the grocery store so I can throw dinner together once I get home. Technology is convenient, fast, and pretty amazing.
But I think it also costs. Not just money (although as a Mac owner, I can attest there is quite a monetary cost involved) but also in personal connections. Technology can rob us of eye contact with each other. Instead of a phone call now, we are more likely to receive a text. Instead of getting together with friends physically, many people stay home in their comfy pajamas and facebook each other. Technology is even changing our language in frustrating ways, as I just exemplified using facebook as a verb, and also in "text talk," where the personal I is now i (hint: my personal PET PEEVE!!!) and beautiful words are reduced to two or three letter clusters.
Come to think of it, the personal I to i is a great way to symbolically represent what technology can do to us as individuals and our relationships if we let it dominate our lives. It reduces them to the lower case. One very specific area we are seeing this is in the realm of book publishing. Now, instead of a physical book, many people are opting to download literature on a tablet, Nook or Kindle. No more glossy, cover art work to dazzle the eyes; no more turning of crisp pages, touching the story as you read the words; no more smell of print. It is a little heartbreaking to me, although I must confess, I truly enjoyed my Kindle this summer. Instead of packing six, thick, heavy books along on a trip, I had a thin, lightweight Kindle, giving me access to thousands of titles with wifi connection and a touch of a button.
We all know that technology has both enhanced and in some ways inhibited education and personal relationships, but what about the world of publishing? What do Amazon and iBooks mean for the author, agent and publishing firm? What about the bookseller?
This week, I have two videos for you to watch. Please watch both and then tell me your thoughts on technology, literature, and how the two both help and hinder each other. I will be patiently awaiting, in front of my screen, with my real, honest to goodness "vintage" book in hand...