1: The Complexity of the Digital Text

Something that particularly interested me about our readings is the unseen complexity involved in digital publishing. In particular, digital publishing does not simply refer to posting words and/or images to the Internet, but there is complex communication and social and cultural exchanges among even the most basic digitally published material. For example, we don’t typically think about Facebook posts or Internet memes as being multimodal or as having hundreds of touchpoints within the posting and viewing process (Arola 3, 10). However, that is exactly what happens any time someone creates or views an Internet meme, according to chapter one of Writer/Designer. Particularly digitally, texts are beginning to involve more of the senses so that viewers can become more fully immersed in the work (12). This challenged and expanded my view on the word “text” and how digital texts are created.

You wouldn’t think that this simple meme has such a complex history, but it was particularly chosen and composed in this way by its creator, following a typical meme format, and is understood by English-speakers who recognize the puns and know the purpose of the pictured object. That’s pretty grate!

What especially interested me, though, is the way in which the various modes of communication have their own connotations framed deeply in the creator’s own cultural and social contexts. The social semiotics theory, as described by Gunther Kress in “Where Meaning is the Issue,” states that no work exists within itself. It is constantly modified and re-understood based on the time and place in which the work is being viewed, because, “representational and communicational practices are constantly altered, modified, as is all of culture, in line with and as an effect of social changes” (Kress 7). This really challenged the ways I think about even basic digitally-published material. It does not exist within a vacuum, but it is created with a certain intent within a certain time and place. It is also understood by viewers in different ways based on their individual experiences, which can alter or completely change the meaning of the original work (Kress 9). I think this is really important to understand before going into the rest of the semester creating our own digital works.

Word count: 387


Works Cited:

Arola, Kristin L., et al. Writer/Designer: a Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. Bedford/St. Martins,        2014.
Kress, Gunther. “Where Meaning is the Issue.” p. 1-17.