the road ahead


The Gutenburg Parenthesis
May 25, 2009, 7:23 pm
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality

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Have we moved from a print-dominated culture back to an oral-dominated one? Some believe that we have come to the end of the Gutenberg parenthesis.

Take a look at this paper by Tom Pettitt that discusses the parenthesis. Note the chart on page two that describes this change in communication periods. This sounds like a very academic topic, but the implications, if true, have a significant impact on how business and ministry functions in the 21st century. For example, it appears as if the current times are about sharing and collaborating with ideas rather than with individual author’s ideas.

If we have indeed moved beyond the printing phase in history, then how do we communicate with the next generation? It would seem that images and stories will become extremely important if we are exiting the time of text-based learning.

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2 Comments so far
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These are indeed turbulent days. And the concept of “intellectual property” is in flux. I wonder if iTunes is doing for the music industry what we’re going to see for the book and publishing industry. Micropayments anyone?

Comment by Marshall

Video and images have become a major tool for communication, a natural outcome of the generations of television. The printed text, however, will still be necessary to define meaning for the images. Recorded messages would be the only other options, but time will prevent this for historical purposes. It takes longer to speak the same content we can read. Images bring power to words, but without words, the meaning of an image is left to the variability of personal interpretation, leaving communication in an unstable state of existence. Yes, the printed (or digital) text definitely has a role in the future.

Comment by Scott Maxwell




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