What You Write With Changes How You Write?

I was just reading The Digital Divide over Christmas. One of the authors (Johnson?) said that when Nietzche began to compose on a typewriter, that his work became more terse. I talked to someone about the idea, which they immediately pooh-poohed. However, I think there probably is some validity to the technology changing the way we write. I’m betting that not having to kill and skin deer for vellum made people more likely to write…

Because of this, Has MSWord affected the way we work? was an article that really caught my attention.

The author refers to an article in the Journal of Pragmatics:

The most interesting academic study I looked at found that writers using computers “spent more time on a first draft and less on finalising a text, pursued a more fragmentary writing process, tended to revise more extensively at the beginning of the writing process, attended more to lower linguistic levels [letter, word] and formal properties of the text, and did not normally undertake any systematic revision of their work before finishing”.

2 thoughts on “What You Write With Changes How You Write?”

  1. Nicholas Carr refers to Nietzche in his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” (My students are evaluating Carr’s piece this week, so it’s fresh on my mind;-) Most are resisting the idea, interestingly. And if we didn’t have a snow day yesterday, we could have discussed it, but that will have to wait till Monday.

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