Field Book #1

##My Reflection on the Readings## Most of McLuhan’s reading was, in a way, very meta. He took a simple subject (words) and dissected them. I never considered words a subject which could be broken down because I thought words were just that, words. I didn’t think about all of the other meanings and implications that words could have beyond a simple definition.

I learned that the medium in which words are used dictates the meaning. But what does that mean?? Well, McLuhan uses the metaphoric example of the electric light because it truly reconstructed human lives. Previous to the electric light, darkness signaled the end of a work day. But once electric lights were invented, they made it possible for people to work around the clock. Words, in certain contexts, function in a similar way.

In class, we discussed texting and how this new form of communication changes human connections and relationships. It eliminates phone calls, face to face communication, and each party can be passive (unlike a phone call where both parties have to be present and active). Texting allows for conversations to occur over a long period of time with responses every:

  • day
  • hour
  • minute
  • second

There is an entire language of connotations and denotations connected to the style of texting and to whom. The qualities of the medium include:

  1. Personality
  2. Intimacy
  3. Emotional punctuation

Humans, now equipped with smartphones, communicate in simplistic ways (almost like a toddler). We can send emojis to describe our feelings or emotions or to symbolize yes or no ([thumbs up] ( or [thumbs down] ( In addition, we don’t need to write complete sentences or spell words right. That’s the lingo of texting because it’s supposed to be instant so if someone understands a message with a few letters and fewer punctuations, job well done! Furthermore, our speaking style has adopted texting [slang] ( and vice versa. There is no beauty in long, eloquent speeches anymore (sadly).

Liu pressures McLuan’s ideas to consider the social impact and general shift of society due to changes like the electric light, smartphones, and computers. Older technology does not simply disappear, it wears out slowly while new, shiny toys take its place. But its messy. For example, Polaroids are super trendy right now because it’s vintage but it has a new appeal to young millenials and Gen X’ers who never used a Polaroid as a serious form of photographic technology. Just because a technology or medium is replaced, that doesn’t mean it will disappear forever.

The End

##How Markdown Shapes My Writing## I find markdown particularly enjoyable and even fun. It’s an elevated form of a simple Word document. Of course, it has all of the same capabilities but Markdown is an advanced form of the medium because

  1. It has a double screen
  2. I can see the backmatter of my text
  3. I have more control

Markdown shapes the way I think about writing because it has a different format. Although simple, that makes a huge difference to someone like me who has been using Word for a decade. It feels more with the time and technologically advanced (even though I know it’s not really).

In an odd way, this medium is very meta. Let me explain using [unnecessary] ( bullet points:

  • Markdown, as a medium, shows the other side of a document which parallels our conversation about words and how, essentially, what you see is not what you get. For example, the presence of a hyperlink attached to a word, on the right side of Markdown, is light blue and underlined. But on the left side of Markdown, the entire link is green and messy.
  • What you see is what I’ve chosen to give you.
  • There’s two sides to every story - said someone famous.

##Affordances and Limitations##

I can foresee problems using Markdown for two reasons:

  • spellcheck
  • creative writing

I am not great at spelling words and I make mistakes very often. Now, I rely on my computer to fix them for me so without spellcheck, I am more [meticulous] ( It takes more time to write because I stop and check words which throws off my writing rhythm. What’s worse is that Markdown doesn’t underline wrdz thatt rn’t rite.

Also, I am so used to the Word format for creative writing I would struggle to make the change. My creative process is specific since I am 100% focused on the story when I write, I don’t want to deal with misspelled words and grammatical errors.

However, in terms of projects such as the one I am doing now, it’s fine. I am not frustrated or bothered. Dividing the sections with two hashtags sandwich-ing a word is fun. Frankly, it doesn’t help or hinder. If I was a tech wizard it would probably make a difference!

  • which
  • I
  • am
  • not
    • Bye! Bye!