Clark’s article on digital imperative was one of those that forces the reader to self reflect. I mean, after reading detailed analysis of the general trends in digital writing, how could you not reflect on your own habits? I won’t bore you with the details of my self reflection.
What I found most interesting in Clark’s article was the bit on “marginalia” aka commentary. Clark explains that with the development of new technologies, commentaries are going public. No longer confined to the notes scribbled in the margin of a book, blogging takes “marginalia” to a new level. Clark also noted that there is the possibility for these commentaries to become more influential than their primary sources.
My thoughts? I agree and disagree. I don’t think that widespread commentaries are really all that new. Take the Talmud for example, an ancient Rabbinic commentary on the Torah. This commentary was widespread way before the 21st century.
I do see the Internet as a means of making less important commentaries more widespread. For example, had I only scribbled these thoughts in the margins of the article, no one would ever see them except me. But because I’m writing them on a blog post, it is possible for anyone to access these thoughts.
Yet, I can’t imagine these commentaries ever becoming more influential than their primary sources. By that I mean, I think digital commentaries that do become more influential than their primary sources would have also become more influential than their primary sources independent of digital technologies.
I believe that degree of influence comes from quality of writing and novelty of ideas, not from ease of transmission. What do you think?