In my generation scholarly writing has been made possible to people of many different demographics. Nearly anybody can use the vast amount of resources found on the internet and appear to be a far more educated and informed person than they actually are. Likewise, as Shane Madden discusses in his third person analysis of his own representations, titled, "A Portfolio of Self Representations," people can use new technologies to portray an image of themselves that they feel is desirable for the circumstances in which they are writing. For example, in Shane Madden's personal blog, on February 9th, he says, "Life still sucks of course but not as much." About a month later, in an application for a summer camp counselor, his tone is much more cheerful and positive. His tone changes, because his audience changes. If he sounded depressed, it's not likely that the people in charge of hiring camp counselors would consider him a good person to supervise little kids. However, when he is posting on his blog for his friends and peers to read, he tends to tell his true emotions, or "cry out for help," much more. This is just one example of the millions of different self representations found in different writing every day. Heres a video (Music video by Brad Paisley performing Online. (C) 2007 Sony Music Entertainment) that relates to what I am saying in a much more comical way.
Before I came to college, I barely ever used the computer, compared to how much I use it now. I would check my facebook, download songs, and occasionally write an essay for school or a college application, but until I got here, it was just a small aspect of my life. Now, about half of my homework is online, I send and receive multiple emails every day, I have read more articles through online sources than I have probably read on paper throughout my whole life, and I find myself sitting on the computer for hours at a time, doing pointless things that aren't improving my life. It has been quite an overwhelming experience and for a good part of the semester, I was completely convinced that computers were a plague on the human race and that they would eventually lead to armagedeon. Recently, my view on technology has become a bit less dramatic. I feel like I am starting to understand the benefits and realize the ways in which computers have positively affected my life. I still hold the belief that the world would be a better place had technology not been advanced to such an extent, and had computers never been invented because of all the complications that they cause, but the benefits in some areas, such as scholarly writing, have been substantial.
Technology has raised the bar for scholarly writing. Sure people can post anything that they want on blogs or personal pages, without facing any consequences of lacking credibility, but in scholarly writing this doesn't fly. No longer is there any excuse for producing an uninformed article or essay because of a lack of information. It is all out there on the internet, and it's much easier to access than it was just a few years ago. This has greatly raised expectations for scholarly writing, especially for college students. Throughout this past semester, I have done some of the highest quality and most informed writing that I have ever done. However, while I was working on each essay I was more stressed and frustrated than I have ever been. The expectation for me to be well informed about what I was putting into my writing was very overwhelming. I feel that computers have also increased the expectations on the quantity of writing. Computers have proven to be a much more efficient way of writing, and having a computer has recently become a necessity, instead of a luxury at universities. For that reason I feel that instructors are more apt to give assignments that require many more pages and much more research.
To sum up, I believe that the overall standard of quality for scholarly writing has been greatly increased as a result of computers and new technologies, but the effect that they have had on the quality of life has been adverse. Computers have made scholarly writing much more accessible to many different types of people, which creates much more competition and stress for writers everywhere.