Another example of adapting (or not adapting) to the evolution of texting as a literary medium, is a situation regarding my uncle. He asked me, a few weeks ago, to list some items on KSL.com’s classifieds for him. He made sure to tell me to include on the listing that he “does not accept texts.” Even though his phone does accepts texts, he just refuses to learn how to use that function. I did as he said and made sure to include those words in the listing. A few days after I had listed the items, I got a voicemail from my uncle asking if I had included “does not accept tests” on the listing, because he had received a few texts. I, of course, assured him that I had used those words in the listing.
This presents an interesting situation. My uncle is so stubborn, he refused to respond to those texts (even with a phone call), when those who texted may have eventually bought his item listed. He has failed to adapt and understand that there are individuals in the world that “only text” and while he does not text, he’s missing out on a potential sale because of it. Our choice of literary medium directly affects the outcome. McCluhan presents an interesting point in his article “The Medium is the Message.” McCluhan discusses that it is not only the words or literacy that portray the message, but the medium in which it is portrayed. He says, “For any medium has the power of imposing its own assumption on the unwary” (6) and that “the “message” of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs” (1). For the person contacting my uncle, texting was their medium in which they chose to express interest in the item for sale. From my uncle’s perspective, texting as a literary medium does not even exist, and therefore, he misses the “message” and forgoes a potential transaction.
McCluhan expresses his concern on technological advances: “The American stake in literacy as a technology or uniformity applied to every level of education, government, industry, and social life is totally threatened by the electric technology” (8). McCluhan’s concerns are plausible, but not quite as doomsday as he makes it seem. Literacy is changing, no doubt, but there is a much more optimistic outlook available. Change is this only constant, and with change brings new ideas, better ways of living, and higher levels of thinking. Writing will continue to evolve as technology advances and it will involve letting go of some of the old ways, as is the case when any advancement is made. On the other hand, though, it will bring even more positive change. Today we have the opportunity to share knowledge with almost the entire world at lightning speed. That is exciting technology. As writers, we should revel in the fact that our ideas have the potential to easily be reached by others around the world at just the click of a mouse. We must not resist the evolution of technological writing. Each of us, as individuals, must choose to adapt to the ever changing technological advancements, if that is, we want to continue to thrive, flourish, and prosper.
McCluhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964.