Mya Poe

In her response, Mya Poe describes the effects of new and old technologies on our communications practices.

"I think so many of us embrace technological change in our personal lives that we’ve come to equate certain kinds of technologies with novelty and the potential of experiencing connections with our friends and families in new ways. Digital technologies are wonderful metaphors for how technology promises to bring our lives together. The irony of current digital technologies is that while they can bring us closer together, they also can send us farther away. Our employers think nothing of sending us far away on business trips because we are connected even in distant locales. And when Skype, email, IM, or texting fails, we feel even farther away from our loved ones than we did before. If we are left stranded with old technologies, we have to learn to rediscover the novelty of old technologies in reconnecting with our families."



Donna Haraway’s (2004a) 1980’s cyborg haunts both Poe and Muhlhauser. The cyborg, itself a symbol (and actualization) of the "disrupted unities" Haraway considered, is ambivalent and requires "subtle understanding of emerging pleasures, experiences, and powers with serious potential for changing the rules of the game" (p. 30). In 2007 Sherry Turkle opined that "Thanks to technology, people have never been more connected—or more alienated" (para. 1). More recently, Gunther Kress (2010) commented on the provisional and socially unstable era of digital communication, arguing that in such times "the grooves of convention have been worn away or else the territory is in any case so new that there are no grooves" (p. 46). Kress argued that when such instability occurs, "Things are provisional" (p. 46). 



Although Mya Poe wrote positively about communicating via digital technology, her response also indicates the ambivalence so many feel. To use the chemist’s terms, many of us live in super-saturated solutions of digital technology, but that technology changes more quickly than we can adapt. Getting into the "groove” with any digital communication device rarely happens. Kress (2010) argued that a "rhetorical approach” is demanded by a world that is constantly "unfolding” rather than one that is predictable (p. 26). We strongly agree with Kress, but want to focus some of that rhetorical approach on family use of digital communication technologies and the subsequent rhetorical skills our students always already possess.