Using technology to talk to yourself

Reading a classmate’s blog post, I was reminded of the viewing we had at the beginning of the module by Clive Thompson (2013). He reviewed various communication technologies from ancient times to the present and looked at the development from their use as “broadcast technologies” to “intimate technologies”. The first “broadcast” phase is where a literate few could use the technologies to disseminate information to the masses, usually when a technology is relatively new, rare and expensive. The intermediate phase, where the masses begin to use the technology to communicate between themselves, occurs when the technology becomes cheaper, mass-producible and available across various strata of society. Finally, when the technology becomes virtually ubiquitous across a large swathe of society, it reaches the “intimate” phase, where people start using the technology to talk to themselves.

I was trying to find this reference for my reflection on the directions and developments and issues in digital literature. Along with my theory that developments in digital literature will follow the path of payment (Simon, 2018), I also feel that many of the technologies that allow for richer digital-literary synergy as described by Walsh (2013) are just now coming to the intermediate or mass-market stage that Thompson (2013) described. I think that is what will position digital literature to develop and grow – if a funding structure for publication also develops to support it.


Simon, M. (2018, July 29). Definitions, developments, new directions and issues in digital literature [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Thompson, C. (2013, September 22). The new literacies [Video file]. In World Maker Faire New York 2013. Retrieved from

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. Chapter 13 in L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

4 thoughts on “Using technology to talk to yourself

  1. So, a diary or journal would be an analogue example of that intimate phase?
    Would a private journal app be intimate digital communication?

    1. A diary or journal would probably count in that general vibe, though his example was a Post-It note. Used for remembering and processing even ephemeral things. A digital example might be more in the lines of a grocery list app like AnyList. But that is really just a digital equivalent of a print technology. A true digital intimate communication might involve actually creating the digital communication… good question… He actually did not cover as broad a category as “digital”. He looked at particular functions like the data-crunching capability of computers – the intimate level is like Nike Shock shoes that collect your data from walking and running and you run it through an app that can give you information on impending injuries or ways to improve your gait.

      1. So if a shopping list or a virtual post it note is just a digital version of an analogue system… what would be born-digital data? Your Fitbit data?

        1. I would think things like Fitbit data, the Nike shoe-tracker data, perhaps shopping lists digitally created from online recipes and meal plans?

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