From Bards to Blogs

The article, “From Bards to Blogs,” is written by Jill Walker Rettberg from University of Bergen in Norway. She discusses how people have interacted with others in each era and then how blogs affect the way of communication today observing Plato’s idea as the first form of communication in history. Rettberg described today’s digital media such as radio an television as the Secondary Orality and he thinks that the notion has come to be a clue to understand the new media.

So, I would like to look at the meaning of “secondary orality” at first. blogging2According to Walter Ong, the creator of the terms, they can be interpreted in two ways. First, it is the kind of orality you get on radio and television, where oral performance produces effects somewhat like those of “primary orality,” the orality using the unprocessed human voice, but where the creation of orality is of a new sort. Orality here is produced by technology. This is what she originally referred to by the term “secondary orality.” The second interpretation of it is lately applied owing to the rise of using the Internet. In non-technological oral interchange, therein no perceptible interval between the utterance of the speaker and the hearer’s reception of what is uttered. That is, oral communication is all immediate. Writing, on the other hand, comes out of the past. But on the Web, the receiver can get what is communicated with no such interval. Although it is not exactly the same as oral communication, the network message from one person to another or others is very rapid and can in effect be in the present. That is why computerized verbalization ha been assimilated to secondary orality. I found it very interesting how Waltebloggingr Ong calls electronic media the “second orality,” which connects to Ulmer’s idea of “electracy.” Now that new media are indispensable for the society, the ability of using computer is vital thing to participate in the digital communication. Moreover, not only the skill but also that of how you express yourself and attract attention is important and challenging because it is filled with information on the Internet. In this sense, the second orality is kind of more challenging task. But people today are pursuing the digital not to be left behind by the trend. Just like written and oral traditions played a significant role in shaping cultural trends, Rettberg argues that through “technological determinism” our social and cultural patterns are determined by technology. So, by reading the article, the way of communication has shift from orality to literacy, and then to (new) orality again(in other words, electracy.) Blogs as the representation of the secondary orality can be said that the mixing form of writing and speaking. With the existence of blogs, could it be happened less and less primary orality are used in the society from now on? If so, how does the relationship between people change?

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Secondary Orality in Microblogging


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