It’s a Blurry Sort of Thing

Nicola has a good summary of some of the differences discussed in the symposium. This will no doubt continue, but I really don’t think changing a style on a blog is network literacy, to me that’s like saying knowing how to turn a page in a book makes you print literate, or changing a car tyre means you are mechanically adept. It is much, much, thicker than this, as the example of print literacy I think actually shows. It so deeply naturalised for us that to make it seem odd seems, well odd, but it is a recent invention, it was as revolutionary in its time as the internet is now, and there was nothing natural or inevitable about it.

Reckon there’s a few more rounds left in this one.

Thinking Notes

A list of print literacy things to begin the symposium upon.

  1. we know what a book is
  2. what a page is (that it has two sides)
  3. what page numbers are
  4. how to use page numbers
  5. how to read
  6. how to write
  7. more or less how a book is made
  8. where to go to find a book
  9. that you can buy them
  10. borrow them
  11. steal them
  12. that to buy one you might go to a bookstore
  13. to borrow one you might go to a friend
  14. or to a strange institution called a library
  15. which stores books to lend them out
  16. (which let’s face it is an elegantly odd idea)
  17. and that the people there are called ‘librarians’
  18. and it is a bit like a church as (well, it’s changing) but food and drink is apparently bad, and you are meant to whisper
  19. that there is a taxonomy that lets you ‘look up’ books them find them on their shelves
  20. you know the social etiquette involved in borrowing a book from a library (it isn’t supposed to be written in or on, that it ought to be returned by the due date, that there could be some sort of punishment for not following either of these two rules)
  21. that people write them
  22. that these people are called authors
  23. (and we mistakenly think, in one of those odd human centric moments we’re famous for, that authors create books but it is obviously the other way round — think about it)
  24. how to use a table of contents
  25. an index
  26. page headers
  27. page footers
  28. what a cover is and what it is for
  29. that there is fiction and nonfiction
  30. that there are many genres of fiction
  31. that there are dictionaries, encyclopaedias, manuals, reference books
  32. we more or less know how to go about writing a book (whether it is any good or not is a very different question)
  33. how to fix a broken page
  34. where a broken page fits
  35. how to fix a cover
  36. what a title page is
  37. how to cope with an unreliable narrator
  38. how to cope with direct narrative address
  39. how to read silently
  40. that stories think they can tell you what is happening inside someone’s head
  41. except that someone (sometimes) is pretend
  42. that they are often pretend

With books we developed intimate reading. Also mass literacy. Those together encouraged the rise of the modern ‘psychological’ novel. The technology very strongly affects these things, particularly when we recognise the writing is a technology….


Monique thinking about RSS, weaving, giving, taking, and what network literacy might be. Amy on the social aspects of network literacy. Nethaniel also picks up the social parts of network literacy, which is interesting, perhaps because for me that’s a given and what isn’t visible is how the technology enables, or even drives, this? Seonaid likes the participatory nature of network literacy, and Samuel has two key takeaways. Louisa wonders about what might be list from the analogue world, and marvels at the new wonders of the networked thing we have.