Since the beginning of time, language has been the medium for humans to share ideas. Before the advent of the written word, oral histories were passed down from generation to generation as a means of preserving the past. Then, as written communication really began to develop, people realized that the act of putting pen (or quill) to paper made their words permanent. To put it simply, written words seemed to mean something.
Now, we are living in the midst of the digital revolution. Words written on paper are still important, sure, but now we also have ways to share our fleeting thoughts, random musings, and even what we had for dinner with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people. And those people care about what we have to say. Because of this, despite our questions about the future of the book and the future of writing as a practice, I would argue that now, our words hold more meaning, more importance, and more power than ever.
Clive Thompson's discussion of the connected society and the protests that the citizens of Shifang, China were able to inspire through web-based communication illustrates this idea. Sometimes we don't realize the power of our words, but with our modern day opportunities for mass communication online, we can inspire a domino effect of change through even the simplest forms of writing.
Reading this chapter reminded me of the weight that our words hold. We can decide to use them to create positive change in the world, or to tear others down, or to tell hilarious stories about cats. No matter how we choose to use our words, I hope we choose to use them. I hope we remember the power of our voices. I hope we break the silence.