Role of writing in the digital age

Many college students currently believe that the new style of writing (They say/I say) kills originality and ingenuity. However, writing is more about individual ingenuity, despite the students' claims that the writing templates will turn them into robots. However, I disagree with them because the writing models help us to comprehend literature more broadly and to rebut arguments. Graff & Birkenstein's (2010) argument that the templates they provide in their book (They say/I say) reflect a trading stock of sophisticated writing and thinking is also supported. To use the templates effectively, it frequently takes a lot of practice and attention to detail. Further, the student's idea of templates undermining originality, in my opinion, rests on a limited understanding of what creativity entails as the templates are only going to assist the students to become more creative and original in their writing. In any case, even those expression forms that are considered most creative rely on already established structures and patterns. Therefore, although the student's arguments make good cases for original writing, I am not persuaded that it takes away creativity and originality in writing. My view is that they are expanding the limitations that were present in literature writing making writing even more interesting. I know some people will argue that I am undermining traditional forms of writing, but I am not. In fact, I am more concerned with better understanding, reading, and writing of arguments.

Overviews of the Three Writers

It may be easy for many of the readers to dismiss my point of view, but some writers (Brian Doyle, Susan Griffin, and Joshua Foer) have mastered the new art of writing. Their works are not limited to the traditional forms of writing as the paper shall discuss with the intention of encouraging more students to experiment with these new styles.

Joshua Foer

Joshua Foer criticizes the role of reading and writing in the digital age. His basic rationale is that an increasing number of readers, read to increase the number of books they have read. They do not read to understand the perspective of the writer and the lack of understanding makes it impossible for them to remember what they read. Citing the end of remembering, Foer states that "today we read books extensively without much in the way of sustained focus. And in rare exceptions, we read each book only once. We value quantity of reading over the quality of reading. We have no choice if we want to keep up with the broader culture. Even in the most highly specialized fields, it can be a Sisyphean task to try to stay on top of the ever-growing mountain of words loosed upon the world each day. Few of us make any serious effort to remember what we read."

His point is, "reading and writing have lost their intended purpose. In the days of Socrates writing was seen as a way to keep memories. As writing evolution progressed writing became an aid for remembering. Nevertheless, if people only do it today as a culture then a lot of words are getting lost on a daily basis. And yet, if people were to keep up with the same routine, reading once and then forgetting then knowledge cannot be practiced." There is, therefore, a necessity for a model to remember so that we can avoid forgetting and this is what the book on They say/I say offers. Also, coming up with a critical judgment at the end of reading any material will preserve whatever one read. When knowledge is preserved then writing becomes even more creative because writers will avoid repeating what others focused on earlier.

Susan Griffin

Consequently, Susan uses a comparison to depict the similarity in the past, present, and future. She argues that the lives of human beings are somewhat similar in many ways and whatever one person may be suffering from another may know it before it happens. It's like living in two places at the same time, and you can access the lives of two different individuals. The two are living different lifestyles, but one thing war entwines their lives. Citing from a chorus of stones Griffin states, "It is wartime, and a woman is writing a letter. Everyone is on the brink of starvation, she says. In the right-hand corner of the page, she has written Nordhausen, Germany 1944. She is writing to Hans. Do you remember, she asks, the day this war was declared? The beauty of the place. The beauty of the sea. And I bathed in it that day, for the last time. In the same year, someone else is also writing a letter. In the right-hand corner, he has put his name followed by a title. Heinrich Himmler. Reichsfuhrer, SS. Make no mention of the special treatment of the Jews, he says, use only the words Transportation of the Jews toward the Russian East."

Griffins point is, while the woman was complaining and crying about the angry faces of war, another (Himmler) was busy writing about the perpetration of the war. Griffin puts the two together, and it would be hard for a reader to forget the Third Reich killings because of the use of a metaphor. Griffins' observation resonates as true to me because come to think of it, most of the victims of the Third Reich War endured the same suffering as the woman. There was nothing the woman would do but watch her sons die. However, the secretary of the Nazi would have warned the citizens to keep their children safe. Griffins' style of writing makes it clear that writing is not that straightforward. It would depict so much creativity if a student were to use it. The style involves first conducting research and what can maintain originality more than depicting a narrative as was narrated.

Brian Doyle

Similarly, Brian Doyle argues that the reason hummingbirds live to only two years old are that the fastness they live their life. Doyle states, "Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous, immense ferocious metabolisms. They have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate to drive those metabolisms. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and tauter. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles - anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer more heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures than any other living creature" (Doyle, 2012, p.1).

His point is that hummingbirds do not live long because they choose to live a very dangerous life. They fly at intense speed, diving from flower to flower without rest and yet their hearts are built with muscles that are leaner and thinner than those of human beings. In this way, it is accurate to contend that a bird is flying at such intense speed is bound to rupture their heart muscles now and then especially if they do not take their time to rest. Therefore, I am convinced that it would have been difficult to form a clear picture of the exact speed used by the hummingbirds had Doyle not compared it to that of race cars.

Academic Writing Conventions

In contrast, academic writers argue that academic writing should typically not have elements such as judgmental word, personal language, and emotive language. Therefore, in academic writing one should be objective and impersonal. However, in academic writing, students are expected students to develop an argument and express their opinion on issues. Writing in the digital age, on the other hand, seems to be deviating from these rules of writing. For instance, Foer and Griffin make use of the personal language through using 'us' and 'I' in their narratives. Consequently, Doyle uses emotive language to describe the lifestyle of the hummingbird. Some teachers prohibit the use of we or I, on the basis that the pronouns subjective, ill-considered opinions instead of reasoned and objective arguments? I, on the other hand, think that this is a serious flaw because preventing students from using "I" is just not effective enough in curbing subjectivity. Students can still argue opinions that are ill-supported without the first person pronoun.

Further, as much as academic writers think it is misguided to use emotive language, I rather think it helps build the argument. In fact, the utilization of emotive language enables the readers to get a clearer picture of the writer's content. Such language can easily be read and understood. Some critics may misquote me by arguing that am against the academic writing conventions which is incorrect. My interest is making writing interesting and ensuring that an individual's argument is misunderstood not as summaries of another person's work.


In outline, from the arguments presented above, it is clear that the originality of writing is not getting obsolete in the digital age. Instead, in this age of information, writers want to enhance the reading and understanding of their work. Also, writers are more focused on conclusive argument development where the writer provides the readers with a clear mental map of their stand. Further, the use of metaphors in argument development creates a hook for the reader, and it is difficult for them to forget what they have read. Interestingly enough, metaphors can be used to present research findings in a creative manner. After all, using templates or even metaphors is no different from sticking to the academic writing conventions.


Doyle, B. (2012). Joyas Voladoras. The American Scholar, 1-3.

Foyer, J. (2012). Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. Penguin Books.

Graff, G., & Birkenstein, C. (2010). They Say/ I Say The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Griffin, S. (1992). A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War. Anchor Books.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price