I vaguely remember discussing/debating a topic on a blog-like website for a politics high school class. Our fresh-from-grad-school teacher tried to convince us that it was the “new, hip thing to do.” As cool and new and exciting as it was, it seemed annoying to force myself to comment so frequently on my friends’ posts, when it would’ve been much easier to just meet and discuss the topic in class. Well, maybe it’s just the high school microcosm effect that was shielding me, but it makes a lot of sense to me now to be able to exchange ideas and opinions via the internet. I have to admit that I had no idea that there was such a well-developed and active community out there. I’m sure all of these digital humanists can all agree that human interaction is still important, but they impress me with their rigorous activity (such as 20 tweets/hour), their genuine interest and research, and passion for programming and creating new things.
It is quite humbling. Even with simply two days of class I’ve realized that there is so much out there that I don’t know. But the thing to remember is that these “digital humanists” are out there to help. I know there are plenty of people, such as my mother, that would just grunt and flail her arms and walk away from the computer, overwhelmed and bursting with emotion and disgust when trying to learn new things about technology. But thankfully, you and I are not my mother.
I can’t help but be a little overwhelmed and intimidated by all there is to keep up on. Every time I think about the advances and things to learn about the web, on the web, and how to write awesome things on the web, I feel like I should drop what I’m doing so I can make enough time to learn it all. I think there needs to be a fine line between not being ignorant and being obsessive compulsive with the gadgets and the latest web abilities. The cool thing is that you can choose which side of the line to be on. I’m glad that there are “digital humanists” out there. It really is a neat subculture, but I think that maybe that’s what it’s supposed to be: a subculture. Not necessarily everyone needs to partake it in, but it’s cool that we get the opportunity with this class to look into what they do, how they can help us and the rest of the people that simply don’t know how to write a blog HTML style, and progress in small steps just by opening our eyes to this culture that is moving our technology forward.
How cool it was that at Hamilton College, students experienced the virtual re-creation of the South African township of Soweto during the 1976 student uprisings (from the Giving Literature Virtual Life article). That is really what digital humanism is about! Bringing past, unfathomable experiences into the present for current students to experience with the help of technology. Who knew that technology could appeal to our senses and allow us to experience something unthinkable!