Always On

This is a writing sample from Scripted writer Amanda Amanullah

It is clear that society has an increasing love for online networking and paperless communication. In place of face-to-face conversations, we use text messaging to make or break relationships. Rather than stamped letters, we receive e-mails from relatives that live oceans away. In lieu of classroom discussion, we have rousing academic debates through online blogs. It seems that the traditional means of writing, printing and communicating are generally becoming unpopular, as everything from hardcover books to handwritten love notes faces extinction. You're probably thinking: "I've heard this already" or "So what?" But have you considered the specific role of language in relation to interpersonal relationships in an online and mobile world? Just think about your cool online alter-ego that emerges only on your blog or your superhero multitasking ability that enables you to text, IM and e-mail, all while listening to your professor give a lecture. In Always On, Naromi S. Baron writes a seminal and stimulating exploration of these ideas, proposing new questions about the online/mobile craze and providing fascinating evidence that will have any reader at the edge of their intellectual stance on contemporary language and culture. Baron notes that she writes for a wide range of readers: "People curious about the Internet and mobile phones, teachers and parents trying to get a fix on the likes of IM and blogging, students of new media, [and] linguists seeking a scholarly analysis of online language." Baron, linguistics professor at American University and author of six other speech-related books, has studied college students' Facebook usage, mobile phone practices, instant messaging and an entire range of language technologies. She has fresh ideas on this topic and provides her insight in discovering more fundamental changes than the obvious un-friendliness and loss of intimacy. In particular, she analyzes "our growing ability [to use] communication to assert control over when we interact and with whom" and "the amount of writing we are now doing and what effect quantity may be having upon quality." Always On is a great work in its entirety; each chapter reveals scientific, theoretical and cultural aspects of language. Baron does not neglect the changing place of language in history, noting that blogs began from the idea of "web logs," which were lists of favorite URLs. Besides the insights in linguistics, the most interesting aspect of the book is Baron's references to current culture and society. Primarily an intellectual work, Always On allows for reader-self-reflection on many levels. As a stellar piece of non-fiction, an exposé of the communication world, and a journey into the new heart of our society, Always On is a necessary read.

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Amanda Amanullah
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I am full-time teacher and part-time writer. I have a Master of Science in Education (University of Pennsylvania) as well as a Bachelor of Arts in English and Economics (Rutgers University). I also have 4 years of experience working in Editorial at academic and higher education publishing companies. Throughout college, I minored in Creative Writing and pursued internships in Professional Writing, which led to my part-time work as a freelance writer. I continue to write because it is a passion of mine and I hope to help other professionals and organizations with writing-related tasks, throug...
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