Residually Cyclical Style 2Posted by Time Barrow on October 8th, 2008
Categories: Ong, Written to Oral
Continuing the conversation on Residually Cyclical Styles (the cyclical nature of orality and literacy), I realize the next (or most recent) cycle.
In Residually Cyclical Styles, I established–entirely based on Ong (OL, Chap. 3)– that early writing style was based on oral cultures; print was more-or-less based on early writing, such as the manuscript; and secondary orality was based on writing culture. So, not only is this the historical transition, and each communication method’s style has residual aspects of the preceding style, but this entire process is cyclical.
primary orality => chirographic/print => secondary orality
In The Style of Digital Orality, I went on to note that the style of podcasts often follows that of earlier media. For example, the way that a single podcast is organized and the speaking style of the podcaster is not unlike that of a radio program. This is pretty logical and even predictable considering the similarity of the media (relatively brief, single topic, one-to-(the unseen)many orations), and that many of the more popular podcasts actually are radio shows, such as those from NPR.
The next step in the process is that we have a new writing style, that is based on orality; the cycle continues. Consider the trend and genre of social networking tools, such as texting, IM, Twitter, etc. In general, these new media have limiting character capacities, allowing the user a mere 140 characters. While this condition tends to be out of necessity (or preference) of the hand-held tools we use to communicate, it creates the situation that we are communicating in small chunks of data not unlike the way we would in a normal, live, one-to-one conversation. So, while written, the communication style is more oral.
primary orality => chirographic/print => secondary orality => social networking
This situation actually opens many conversations, such as the debate on whether texting language is ruining (or at least affecting) our writing ability, what effects this is having on the way we communicate, and how these tools can be used effectively/productively in the workplace and classroom. I am quite interested in these topics and will continue this discussion, addressing many of these considerations on upcoming posts.