Modern Movable Type

The invention of the printing press came up in passing during a lecture in my “Instruction in Electronic Formats” class the other night and my mind took a scenic route for a moment…

As those inventors of movable type printing presses (Gutenberg is the famous European – but there were some earlier inventions in the Orient) placed their blocks in line, amazing themselves at how much easier printing would be I don’t think they could even begin to imagine how we are able to “move type” today.

With a simple input device and very small movements we can transfer huge amounts of text through copy and paste, correct a misspelling, share anything digital with people thousands of miles away in an instant.  Talk about movable type!

If you think about it, we are much more engaged with words and letters – all be it not extremely tactile with a mouse and a keyboard.  Information flows freely and in abundance.  Words, phrases some with deep meaning are sent into the digital world, some read by many and shared to the point of becoming viral, others to simply be.

But we all have this desire to create the words and the short 140 character tweets.  We follow, we retweet, we watch for those who listen to us.  We look for meaning and understanding both from others and any who will listen, follow, share or watch.  We add images with a simple click.  Putting myself in the shoes of those first inventors, I can see how all this would appear truly magical to them.  I can’t even begin to imagine what they would have thought about something like this – Scale of the Universe.

So as we talk about all these incredible tools we have I think we need to stop and pay attention to the everyday miracles and magic of modern movable type.

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