The topics of literacy, rhetoric and public discourse have been the beginning points for several of my classes this semester. The following discussion came from the first chapter of Understanding Digital Literacies by Rodney H. Jones and Christoph A. Hafner.
I wanted to delve into a discussion focused in our generation – the age of technology. There are multiple arguments as to how digital media will change the way people interact in the future, along with how it has already changed the fundamentals of relationships presently. Public discourse, defined as a communication or debate on topics to persuade, should offer individuals a way to connect and have a better understanding of one another. Is gaining information from websites, constructed of hypertext, video and audio challenging the benefit of higher education for students?
In an article by the Dartmouth Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, Karen Gocsik discusses the effect media will have on literacies, composition, and public discourse. She states that new media is creating a new definition of writing; a technology-driven environment that enables interaction with readers and authors. She goes on with the idea that:
“New media composition encourages writers to move their attention from their own writing practices and to their audiences’ reading practices. To compose with media, writers must consider what audiences expect from a particular medium genre and craft their arguments accordingly. They must study the various media with which they are trying to compose and learn to operate within them.”
Students in this age tend to feel that composing with multimedia matters, and that the composition has power that others do not. The audience is more interested, and the arguments presented in a multimedia manner are more likely to gain attention. Jones and Hafner reason that “one of the most powerful new affordances of digital media is that they make written language more interactive so that writing of all kinds has become more and more like having a conversation,” (13).
I feel that our generation will and needs to continue embracing media, enabling discussion on a grander scale, and captivating our audience through new and perhaps even more effective means.
In your opinion has media helped or hindered public discourse? What effects do you see occurring the future?