The Gutenberg Parenthesis
Listening to a podcast yesterday (http://twit.tv/twig100), I heard for the first time about the idea of the Gutenberg Parenthesis. I’m trying to understand the idea but essentially it suggests that the rise of the internet and social media, we are ending a 500 year period started by the invention of the printing press where communication became more categorized, contained, formalized. Social internet breaks that down and in a sense, we are returning to an age of communication that in some ways resembles communication prior to the printing press.
Here is a video (about 4 min) of Thomas Pettitt (who developed the theory) talking about this idea: http://vimeo.com/10705406
This caught my attention because I frequently think about how to best categorize all the various ways in which I communicate online. It feels increasingly difficult to compartmentalize communication (i.e. I only communicate with this group of people using this system, that group with that system, etc) and that communication is becoming less formal and structured. Maybe I’m experiencing the “)” of the Gutenberg Parenthesis.
Fodder for thought.