Digital Overload

In today's society, everything is digital or stored in a digital format. There are not too many instances where using pen and paper are required as in the past. Even going to the doctor is all digital - walk up to a kiosk, use a tablet to enter your information, and pay without ever picking up a pen. While saving time and piles of paper, is going all digital really the best option?  When it comes to writing and accessing information, most people would probably say yes.

Digital writing has become the norm for most everyone, even if they don't realize that is what they are doing. Typing an email, a text, posting on social media, or even leaving feedback on the latest online purchase are all types of digital writing. Gerald Lucas defines digital writing as "the utilization of digital tools, platforms, and media to create, convey, and disseminate written content." ( In layman's terms, this simply means using a form of technology (computer, tablet, smart phone, even smart watch) to write a message or more.  While nearly every person takes part in digital writing, not all do the same with technical writing.

Technical writing occurs when a person writes something with a specific purpose for a professional or technical field. When I think of technical writing, I think of online manuals for cars, computers, appliances, and a plethora of other items. I also think of research papers,  medical journals or business documents like annual earning reports or strategic plans.

To be honest, I learned most of this from this week's reading. While I knew that making a post or answering an email are forms of digital communication, I did not think of them as forms of digital writing. As for technical writing, I thought mainly about technical documents like the owner's/user's manuals I mentioned above. Something that provides technical information or content on how something works or is assembled.  I find that both of these are applicable to my interests as a digital writer. I often answer work-related emails and texts providing customers with the information they need at that moment. This can relate to anything from when a package was shipped to cost for a certain service. I have also written a couple of installation documents that my customers can access via email. While these are not published online, they are still technical in nature as they provide step-by-step instructions on how to install or use a product I have provided. Now that I have ventured into writing blogs about my automotive knowledge, I find I am becoming more of a digital-technical writer. A mix of the two, so to speak. "By combining the rigor of discipline-specific language with the versatility of digital platforms, writers can create content that is both intellectually robust and engaging."( This is what I am trying to accomplish - a combination of writing on a digital platform while providing content that is informative.

Do I still think we are in a digital overload? Yes, I do. I mean, do we really need a refrigerator with a TV on the outside or a tablet that can tell us we are out of eggs without opening the door? You also cannot argue with the fact that texting while driving or distracted driving due to smart phones is a danger to everyone.  In 2022, the National Safety Council reported "cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Nearly 390,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving. 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving." National Safety Council reports,caused by texting and driving. I know I could be veering off topic, but am I really? I mean when was the last time you got a hand written letter in the mail? Do I think digital writing makes my life easier? Of course. Am I glad technical writing is a medium where I can share my knowledge and opinions and also get input from others? Absolutely. I just think we need balance.

While digital access makes life easier in so many ways, it also has replaced skills that needed in today's society. Being able to research by actually reading and finding relevant information, taking the time to study and learn and not just "google" an answer, and getting lost on a backroad that can often lead to the most wonderful of places are all experiences that people in today's society no longer have without making them happen when at one time, they just naturally did.

Sorry if I did not stay the path on this assignment. One of the articles I read mentioned using a journal entry to express one's thoughts and beliefs about a topic. I guess you know mine.

Richard P. Schnars

I currently own my own business but am branching out into the blog world creating posts on automotive aspects of my business. I have been married for 28 years and have a 24 year old daughter.