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The Fourth Technologisation of the Word: Social Media as the New Vista in Literary Expression

Aghogho Agbamu


Literary expression has undergone a slow but steady and exciting evolution through millennia, significantly conditioned by the technological capacity of  succeeding civilisations. More or less, literature, both as a creative enterprise and cultural artefact, has been influenced by its modes of transmission –  extinct and extant. Consequently, form and genre, as well as readers and audiences, have been affected by the changing ways generations have  preferred to transmit and express the literary. In formal or generic feature and their reception, literature continues to invoke radical epochal portraitures  and expectations, largely due to the flux of its medium as corroborated by McLuhan's (1964) now-canonical phrase – "the medium is the message”.  Consequently, the exploration of the veracity of literature's conditioning, more by the medium than by form and content, can help organise the principles  of the rapport between the word and technology. Social media as the newest vista in the mediation of literary consciousness from creator to the receiver  has indexed a radical cultural episteme, rife with repercussions for the conventional interfacing of authorship, readership, textuality and the mutual  universe that binds them. The present study pursues a critique of literary expression through the agency of the internet, as a sequel-discourse to Ong’s  ethnographic analysis of civilisation and epoch, technologising literary practices from preliterate to literate. The objective here is to index the advent of  social media as the latest attempt to technologise the literary and its culture, and account for how this advent has birthed new departures in literary form and genre.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2795-3726
print ISSN: 0795-1639