It’s quite interesting to note how writing is evolving. When I was young, my poor handwriting and spelling categorized me as a poor writer. While I still have those qualities, the technology of writing is evolving so handwriting and spelling are no longer obstacles. Indeed, my children have been expected to submit all assignments word processed. Basic computer skills have become more important than handwriting. Calligraphy has become more about good font tools. The computer takes care of spelling (mostly) – I even have a browser add-in to check my spelling in boxes like this. (laughs)
One downfall of poor handwriting though is that my digital clipboard, which digitizes everything i handwrite at meetings and such, cannot OCR my handwriting into anything useful. Can’t always even read it myself.(laughs) So i tend to transcribe a short time later. Some use a laptop this way but they’re not as portable as a clipboard, nor as long lasting. A Palm computer with a keyboard is another alternative I’ve used.
Keyboarding skills are not mandatory either – though they help. Much as I have sporadically practiced touch-typing, I remain a fast 2 finger typist. I also have Dragon to speech dictate in, but I find that best for long form writing. My writing style for stuff like this is too fiddly. (yes, i do write first and edit later as they recommend.)
Nowadays, desktop publishing and eBooks means you can write, prep and publish long form writing from your computer at minimal cost. You can even go to paper and self-publish with places like Trafford. Get yourself on Amazon, now a household name. The traditional scribe becomes a Digital scribe.
Email has evolved to become an essential part of most workplaces and many peoples personal lives. From quick communication to the many shared jokes and pictures, to record keeping and statements. Not too many people use it as a scribes medium though. Its more straight communication. Occasional shared writing of others perhaps.
About 3 years ago, I began contributing to a couple of discussion groups online. This added a new and unique form of communication. You could now message a group of people with similar interests, scattered remotely. Good practice at getting your point made in short form. Ideally, it lead to some great discussions, though many readers did not participate. So they are dominated by what we might call the Group Scribes, with a few Soapbox scribes. The new coffee shop. I still occasionally contribute there but now find it more limited. The more important one closed the forum from public access to control message spam but that closed the audience.
Last year, I then climbed on the blogging wagon, something I’d considered for a long time. I actually expected it to be fusser to get started than it was. Now I have my little online journal for sharing my thoughts to a greater public. Only the actual traffic here is smaller than the discussion groups get. People have only so much time in the day for individual voices. Its also notable that the most active commenters on blogs are usually other bloggers. Mostly as they are more vocal but partly as it helps draw in new traffic. Many bloggers are a mercenary lot. 😉
Thus develops a kind of community of people around a subject area, oriented to a journaling style of writing. Like the discussion groups but more specific voices. The Diary Scribes. With some Soapbox Scribes thrown in.
With all the information out there on the wide open net, one has to choose carefully. You can hang with a favored discussion group. You can go it on your own in a blog. And more recently you can also “skim” the net.
The skimmers are an interesting lot. They use social networking tools like Digg and StumbleUpon to quickly browse and gather information across a wider range, rather than going deep. They share their gems with others through the above. The service can have an interesting effect on blogs. A recommendation to an article can cause a huge spike in hits but the spike is short-lived. People go on to the next gem in the blogosphere. Those who do drop in rarely follow the links or browse further. They are skimming for the summaries. Thus you see blog posts about other blog posts.
Twitter is a similar beast. Quick messaging about the life in motion. This and text messaging are evolving another form of writing, a writing in code, a new semaphore. These we could say are the Flitting scribes, segmenting ever smaller segments of information over time.
Modern technology is opening up avenues for many styles of writing. Many ways to communicate. And creating niche markets for everything you can think of. Too bad its not changing time. Just filling it up with more possibility than we could ever consider.