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Toward Social and Digital Islands

Authored by: Annie Paul

The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature

Print publication date:  June  2011
Online publication date:  June  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415485777
eBook ISBN: 9780203830352
Adobe ISBN: 9781136821745

10.4324/9780203830352.ch57

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Abstract

The phrase ‘social media’ has become a buzzword in the computerized, ‘wired’ era we live in today, putting at our fingertips – literally the digital – an array of technological resources and creative products claiming to free human life from the tyranny of the ‘real’. The informational economies of the twenty-first century are notable for the sophisticated technological products that have been made available to individual consumers. In general, one can track the novel and contradictory processes and forms of creativity unleashed by digital media to the invention of computer technology in the twentieth century. What the printing press was to the fourteenth century and what the moving image was to the twentieth century, the computer is to the twenty-first century. How has the advent of computers and their attendant technologies, digital and social media, impacted on literary strategies globally and anglophone Caribbean literature in particular? From the personal computer, to the internet, to digital cameras, to the cell phone and Kindle, via Facebook, Skype and Twitter, humankind inhabits an increasingly networked world in which communication and personal expression and development reign supreme. Enabling ‘collaborative production, democratic distribution and participatory experience’ (Manovich 2002: xi), a variety of new media exists to design virtual worlds in which actors are free to make choices and play roles normally unavailable to them. In early 2011 the world is reeling from the real life or physical effects of social media – the so-called ‘Twitter revolutions’ – in the Middle East and elsewhere.

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