The Tool of Text

Text is definitely a tool. It allows us to communicate, to express ourselves, and to share. It simultaneously has significantly personal meaning and cultural significance.

I think the easiest way to identify text as a technology is to look at how inaccessible it is to a large percentage of people. People who are illiterate, or have disabilities (developmental or physical) are excluded from using the technology. It is a pleasure to see how cybertechnology is making text accessible to more people.

Text messaging and social networking is providing an avenue for people to experience text in a positive manner. I think of a cousin of mine who can only read and write at a very basic level. He hates how frustrated he gets when he encounters text and therefore generally stays away from it… With the exception of Facebook. From my observations, he is comfortable sitting on a computer for 10 minutes to write a status update that would take the average person 10 seconds to write because no one is there to judge him. As far as his Facebook friends are concerned, it makes no difference how long, or how difficult it was for him to create the text. The important thing is that he can contribute to the conversation, and be empowered to use the tool of text.

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