These questions yearn for through and thoughtful responses that cannot be contained within 300-words!
Thinking of - or wrapping my brain around - technologies as "methods for arranging verbal ideas in visual space." I find it to be esoteric and overly abstract. These ideas are hard to absorb. Other sources of reflection are merciful.
One point that I did understand and appreciate: It was really cool to see that the oral poet is a writer, "who writes exclusively in the minds of the audience;" imagine writing inside someone's mind! That dazzles. So much so that some of that prospect just swoops over my head. The images inspire me when I can handle them.
But let's consider very briefly the intense depth and breadth of the history that Bolter presents. The hand-writing on papyrus is as different as the way the plates [or whichever] of the Gutenberg press struck knowledge on to that era's paper. Those are as different as how we though tof the dot matrix printer, and now the electronic books. In one sense I think that having gone from scrolls, to museum piece books that were practical pieces of art, to publishing on a web journal or a web presence radically revises how the audiences understand and appraise information and knowledge.
The next generation of tools usually does or is supposed to keep the best applications from the original while making innovations on them. Innovations that serve the audiences in ways that the original could not and had not anticipated.
This Bolter reading is doing a great job of bending my mind and how I think of both rudimentary and advanced concepts of self-expression.
How does one consider the history contained in the differences between papyrus and an e-book?
"Lectures on modern European intellectual history," has an image of the Gutenberg press.
And there's this that shows writing on papyrus.
Perhaps the need for these questions is at least in-part an issue of how we are raised to believe reading or writing should occur? And then one is asked if he or she can adapt to the great changes in what they were taught was "the way" to do that. How have different and disparate generations asked themselves and responded to those questions?
I am reticent to refer to evolution; the word is only occasionally well-used. But the dramatic innovations in these different methods of literacy, reading, writing, and orality have defined our conceptions of knowledge, information, and their cultural definitions. And in the end, they have just as dramatically revised those same concepts and experiences.
This "Implications of Hypertext Theory for the Reading, Organization, and Retrieval of Information" investigates these intense topics deeply.
With these questions in mind, how does one contend with questions of poverty, status-centric literacy, and generations-old & implicit assumptions of whom ought to have the "right" to literacy. I haven't the time to consider how this equals power, except to pose this last point.
Poor people of color are still indoctrinated with bigoted premises about their natural potentials. Well, the "church" did that with arguable pleasure when it controlled those prior mentioned staples of cultural identity and status, before mechanized printing became normal.