Network Captives

I admire Jeff R. and
Will R., read their
blogs like clockwork; their exchange(s) over the last 24 hours have been worth
following, if you haven’t been keeping up.  I’m here giving nods to the
naming contentions as we slide between the print paradigm and electracy’s
futures.  In that slide, some folks pack heavy, others pack light.  I
suppose there’s a way of taking up the rift that contends, as Jeff often reminds
me, the new media/digital turn doesn’t need the lingo of literacy (or
even the name).  As necessary and tricky as it is to re-vocabularize
rhetorical agilities in a digital age, I wonder what–if anything
substantial–is at stake.  It is, of course, about more than the
terminology; it’s about what we do and what what we do does.  Jeff’s

of the high stakes are fair, clear:

In composition, I don’t think we are anywhere near tackling this issue
because it will undermine and reconfigure many of the truths we have accepted
and hold so dearly. If we are to recognize that literacy no longer exists,
what will become of composition studies which bases its identity on the ways
writing empowers individuals to be productive members of society (see Brandt,
Rose)? What will happen to topic sentences and Writing Centers, professional
writing, or the first year textbook? Serious damage.

I can imagine this angle–in retrospect–shedding light on the grand
transformation from orality to literacy.  Switch in and out a few
indications of oral traditions giving way to Guttenberg’s giant, and, perhaps
from some perspectives, you have "serious damage" or at least wreckage,
abandoned traditions, even widespread human cognitive re-patterning. 
Forgive me for jabbing in the dark here (since I’m not well studied on Ong, for
one), but one must preclude the other.  True?  Why must electracy
unravel literacy as literacy unraveled orality?  Is it because electracy is
meanwhile enfolding a textualism of all, braiding realities and programs
and tunes…"I don’t know why she swallowed the fly, perhaps she’ll…."  Maybe
I haven’t read closely enough; maybe effacement is inherent in these

[Long hesitation…reading list has grown by twenty or so titles (Ulmer,
Graff)…having Friday fun…blog decorum…where’s that coming from?]

I set out to make notes on Will’s
mention of
.  My first thought is, Yes!, we are on collaborative
ground with weblogs and wikis.  Open texts, and so on, just as Jeff sets
them up as places where "writers and readers tap into, alter, appropriate,
confiscate, download, share, etc."  But then I keep thinking these few
thoughts about what I haven’t seen blogs do:  1. Blog entries are rarely
revised.  2.  Blog entries are rarely written collaboratively, perhaps
because most blogware doesn’t configure easily for partnering or group

The tapping and commenting and fisking–linked, interested, etc.–seem more
prevalent than the sort of sharing and appropriating, which is to suggest that
blogging as spontaneous media doesn’t prefer to wait.  Entries are often
buried in a matter of days, comments with them, and the temporality machine
rolls, calendars overturn.  I get the feeling that blogs play the moment,
invite the rush; whereas collaborative efforts can be slow and laborious, blogs
thrive on freshness, vigor, never expiring. 

This is a jumble of (unfair, perhaps) assumptions.  I’ve been
thinking lately about the expenses of collaboration, the problem of
over-collaboration, of turning always to meetings about meetings, of everyone (including the ambivalent and disenchanted)
having a say and of feeling like that just takes toooo loooong for some matters. 
In part, I’m feeling jaded by the call for collaboration because I’m seeing it
done in a way that turns to wheel-spinning, indecisiveness, and gross, endless
shifts of leadership and agency to the (idle, vacationing, phone-message
ignoring) network.