The blog-writer as late-modern variant of the typewriter
Edition: McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference
Series (Title): The blog-writer as late-modern variant of the typewriter
Marshall McLuhan, in his book 'Understanding Media' (1966), describes writing, both by hand and mechanically, as a way of fragmenting and individualizing human knowledge. This type of self-cultivation and self-expression, McLuhan (1966: 156-160) states, allows humans to detach and dis-involve from 'the bonds of tribal man' (McLuhan, 1966: 156). Contrarily, 'electric' media, he believes, will re-involve men 'in all others at all times' (1966: 157). Although McLuhan thus juxtaposes mechanical to electric media, he at the same time emphasizes that the most interesting changes happen in the 'crossings or hybridizations of the media' (McLuhan, 1966: 57). For, 'the hybridizing or compounding of these agents offers an especially favourable opportunity to notice their structural components and properties' (McLuhan, 1966: 57). Hence, in a similar vein as did McLuhan when he characterized the typewriter as a medium that is both mechanical and electric, in this paper we make a claim for understanding the late modern 'blog-writer', in specific the blogging literary writer, as both a mechanical and electric particularity. The value of this type of reflection and comparison, we believe, lies in the way this can help us understand how the structural components and properties of contemporary, digital media influence identity generation and social relations; in specific in case of the literary writer and his reader.