The intoxicating immediacy with which we can now act on the feel of an idea

This section from pg 2 of Rupert Wegerif’s Dialogic: Education for an Internet Age captures something of my preoccupation with what C Wright Mills called ‘the feel of an idea’. The immediacy with which we can act on this feeling has been vastly increased by the affordances of digital technology:

Thinking and writing with the Internet now is a very different experience for me than the kind of thinking and writing that I remember from before the Internet. In those days when I had the glimmer of an idea that I wanted to follow up, I searched the library catalogues to find relevant books, I went to the place on the shelves indicated and when this proved fruitless, as it often did, I had to order articles from the British Library or recall books that were out with another reader and I then had to wait for days or weeks for them to arrive. When they did arrive they often proved disappointing or no longer relevant as my ideas had already moved on.

The point might seem overstated. After all, one could always take to a notepad, a typewriter or parchment depending on how far back we go. However what has changed is the range of ways in which this engagement can take place encompassing what Archer calls the cultural system (i.e. the archive) and the socio-cultural (meaningful interactions with other agents).

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