Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 14:45:25 -0600
From: Greg Pulliam gpulliam[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CHARLIE.IIT.EDU
Subject: Re: Re: At Their Web Site
Well, yes email can be ephemeral, but no more so than hard mail, I think.
There are email messages which I still have after many years--some on disk,
some as hard copies. And I dispose of a lot of junk hard mail every day
without even opening it--how ephemeral is that?
I find that I dwell over many of the messages I write, choosing my words
very carefully for precision and impact.
I would also disagree with the blanket claim about email being (1) flow of
consciousness and (2) relatively thoughtless. The messages on this list,
for example, are often thoughtful and they are frequently fairly
structured--at least to a greater extent than simple
stream-of-consciousness freewriting would usually be.
I would hesitate to consider email as producing a renaissance in writing
for two reasons: first, few of us save our email for posterity. It is a
very ephemeral communication, with only slightly more permanence than a
phone call. Second, because we know that it is an ephemeral format, we
tend not to dwell over it. The writers of the past would ponder over which
words best conveyed their intended meaning, and would strive for impact in
their words. Modern email is much more nearly flow of consciousness
writing, with little thought behind it.
Denis Anson, MS, OTR/L | Author of
Computer Access Specialist | Alternative Computer Access:
College Misericordia | Making Appropriate Selections
301 Lake Street | Published by
Dallas, PA 18612-1098 | FA Davis
Gregory J. Pulliam
Illinois Institute of Technology
Lewis Department of Humanities
Chicago, IL 60616
gpulliam[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]charlie.cns.iit.edu