Podcasting: Orality in the Digital Age Dr. Don Vescio Worcester State College email@example.com
For Investigation • What effects do computers and network technologies have on the roles we play as readers and writers? • Has the Internet triggered a new age of orality? • Has the popularity of email, instant messaging, blogs, and podcasting changed our understanding of narrative and textuality? • In digital discourse, who are our audiences?
Discourse (R)Evolution • Speech • Unmediated discourse • Writing • First-level mediated discourse • Printing • Second-level mediated discourse • Internet • Computer Mediated Communication Systems (CMC) • Text-based orality • Greater “independence over time and space than paper-based text communication (John December, “Characteristics of Oral Culture in Discourse on the Net”)
Communication and Co-variation Evolution theory assumed traditionally that the "natural" environment selects. From this perspective the natural environment is an external given for the evolving system, which itself can exhibit only variation. If selection, however, feeds information back into the evolving system, the environment can no longer be conceptualized as a given, but it must be considered as another communication system that exhibits variation. The system/environment relation is consequently a relation between communication systems. The communication systems inform each other by communicating. Loet Leydesdorff The Evolution of Communications Systems
Orality and Literacy • Primary Orality • Spoken word • Chirographic Literacy • Text-based communication • Static Web Pages • Secondary Orality • Still depends upon written language for some development and some levels of operation • Mitigation of chronological and/or physical separation • Tertiary Orality • Speech-act independent of sender and receiver • Multimodal consumption of information
Postmodern Globalization “Postmodern social theory has taken the spatial compression of the globe into a global village, the theme of globalization, as a key area of cultural change, suggesting as it does that it is not only history which has been compressed but geography” Mark CurriePostmodern Narrative Theory
PostmodernDisaggregation “[The] peculiar coexistence within literature departments today of different generational projects and critical paradigms reflects, in miniature, the wider disorganization characteristic of Western societies in recent decades, a form of disaggregation that renders pastiche arguably our dominant organizational mode.” Vincent Leitch
Slavoj Zizek and the Soft Revolution • Access to key information = power and social status • Dominant class is the consumariat • There is no stable hierarchy as information “circulates and changes all of the time” • “Individuals are ‘nomadic,’ ‘dividuals,” constantly reinventing themselves, adopting different roles; society is…a complex, open network of networks.” • Tension is between procapitalist netocrats (i.e., Bill Gates) and the underprivileged consumtariat until the modes (and ownership) of production change.
Talk Fiction • Fundamental discourse unit of conversation is not words but “turns” (exchanges) between speaker and listener. • Speakers and listeners are equal participants in the speech dynamic. • Speech is defined “not so much by what gets produced (the content of the speech) as by participants’ perceptions of what is going on.” Irene Kancandes
Absent Addressees • Audience is receiver and participant • Based on fiction that audience are participants • “Self-conscious perception by readers that they are formulating a reply invited by some feature of the text” • Readers “remain aware that Talking [sic] departs from received reading strategies and that it is not to be confused with face-to-face interaction” Irene Kancandes
What is Orality? • Orality held sway until the rise of widespread literacy in the 19th century (Ong) • Characteristics • Additive • Aggregative • Redundant (“copia”) • Conservative • Situational • See Ong, Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word
Orality on the Net • The recognition of the visual nature of print and the lack of 'fully real' interaction on the Net leads one to consider that the Net is a silent communicative space. For each posted message, the words are potentially never said aloud, they are taken in visually and processed through the optical areas of the brain, not the auditory. The cultural space of the Net then is less the physical elements of hard drives and RAM memory than in the heads of the individuals who read and respond to the thousands of messages a day. The silent readings reinforce individuals' personal assumptions when reading another's text and perhaps maintain the plentiful misreadings of one another. • Neil P. Corcoran
“Net” Effect • The production and consumption of information is becoming decentralized and shaped into customized individual user experiences • Principles of orality assumes fluid definitions of text and reception
Xanadu and Ted Nelson • Coined term “hypertext” in 1965 in a presentation at the national conference of the Association for Computing Machinery • “There was always something wrong with that because you were trying to take these thoughts which had a structure, shall we say, a spatial structure all their own, and put them into linear form. Then the reader had to take this linear structure and recompose his or her picture of the overall content, once again placed in this nonsequential structure.” • Practical Effect: mobilization of information production and consumption
Mobility Evolution • Bulletin Boards and Email • Web Pages • Chat/IM (“turn taking”) • Blogs (media enables messaging) • Wikis (“open source publishing”) • Moblogs (non-traditional interface devices) • Podcasting (disconnected consumption of content)
Web Pages • Simplifies consumption of online texts • Offers spatial alternatives to linear narrative (hypertext) • Enables graphical enhancement and augmentation • Content is portable and fluid • Marks important transition to oral conventions (“localized utterances”) • Establishes virtual content containers (database-driven sites)
Blogs • Short for (Web)Logs • Native internet discourse form. • Rebecca Blood notes that one of the earliest blogs appeared as part of Mosaic’s “What’s New Page” (7/93-6/96) • Dave Winer (Scripting News) suggests that the original weblog was the first website built by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. • Term “weblog” appears to be created by Jorn Barger (Robot Wisdom) • Moblog: Mobile-phone blog
The Podcasting Advantage • Assist auditory learners/non-native speakers • Multiple review channels • Provides supplementary content • Enables rehearsal for instructors • Leverages device popularity • “Listening to digital audio content won’t replace reading, listening to live presentations, or the multitude of other ways learners take in information, but it can augment those methods.” Eva Kaplan-Leiserson
Biographical Information Don Vescio currently is Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Information Technologies at Worcester State College. Dr. Vescio’s research interests include technology and poststructural critical theory; online narratology; pedagogical applications of network communication environments; and composition and discourse theory. He currently is working on an extended project that examines the replication of narratological structures in computer network topologies.