Chapter 1

Digital Writing—What is the Big Deal?

When a curious message reading “LO” was transmitted in 1969, between two networked computers at the Stanford Research Institute and UCLA, a new era was born: the era of constant connectivity and computer-mediated communication. Although the transmission, which was supposed to send the word LOGIN, crashed half way, the connection between two networked computers was established. Although this earliest version of the “Net”—the ARPANET—was not originally intended for interpersonal communication, people soon began using it for both communicating in real time—instant messaging—and for sending electronic messages.1

Apart from social interactions, the early users of the Net soon saw its potential as a ...

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