[iDC] academics and laptops

Kevin Hamilton kham at uiuc.edu
Sun Jul 9 10:15:54 EDT 2006

 From a lurker

Emails from Mark and Trebor refer to the phone or PDA surpassing the 
laptop as a means of accessing web and email exchange.

I imagine that the sort of emails on this list - typically long even by 
email standards - would be difficult to compose or read from a portable 
device. (Maybe there are some out there who have experience with that.)

Parallel to the important question of who has access at all (or access 
in a familiar language), we might look at what kinds of discourse are 
happening in different media spaces.

What does a discourse of the thumbs look like? Is a laptop the spatial 
equivalent of a collegiate campus, providing cloistered space for more 
protracted and privileged discussions?

No doubt some will say that text-to-speech technology will render such a 
discussion obsolete, but I find that hard to believe. The physical space 
and temporal window of composition plays a part as well.

Writing on the run seems to be a part of the lives of many on this list 
- any thoughts on the differences between more and less mobile 
manifestations of networked exchange?

For one, I would suggest that close reading is a challenge in more 
mobile instances - in the context of a listserv, for example, reading 
quickly can result in mis-reading. Mis-reading spawns whole threads of 
(often, but not always) productive exchange. A discourse of accidental 
tangents? Not so different from some spoken contexts, perhaps, but still 

The new volume on IDC is a lot to keep up with even for this relatively 
immobile academic on summer reprieve. But the content is great. Looking 
forward to the coming months' discussions.

Kevin Hamilton
Urbana, Illinois

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