Letter to Readers

Dear Readers,

This year’s volume of The 21st Century Text is entitled “Snapshots and Bytes.” This theme brings to mind brevity, modernity, digital literacy and a less-is-more mentality. How does the current digital environment affect writing and editing processes and preferences?

In this age of soundbites, 280-character tweets and flash fiction, we compress more content into smaller spaces. While online content can be constantly modified, everything leaves an online trace that can never be fully erased – part of an individual’s “digital footprint.”

There is increasing pressure to publish and produce instantaneously – people expect the immediacy that comes with contemporary technology. Some pitfalls of this instant mode of communication are highlighted in Taming Social Media with the Help of Ancient Texts, which discusses the polarization aggravated by “talkback culture” on social media.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and traditionally snapshots refer to visual elements around us. The Art of the Snapshot offers a glimpse into the history of the snapshot. Internet Memes: An Editorial Snapshot looks at the internet meme phenomenon. In today’s increasingly image-centered digital environment, visually challenged people are faced with new obstacles, as reflected in Reading Pictures.

New challenges arise, but new opportunities also emerge. New Frontiers in Digital Interactive Fiction discusses how authors and readers can leverage new online media for greater interaction and more immersive storytelling experiences. Academic Scholars provides insight into how, in the rush to publish, academics can make use of academic editors with different specialties. Though we increasingly turn toward new media, Intertextuality in the Talmudic Encyclopedia sheds light on how to manage and present vast amounts of information and ideas in encyclopedic formats for both print and digital media.

In order to transmit messages, both public and private, organizations rely on short pieces of text. Some might (mistakenly) seem so small and insignificant that they can be easily overlooked, as discussed in Microcopy: Your Users will Fall in Love. In the public sector, signs on roads and buildings express short but important messages. Some of the messages can get lost on the way, as seen in Danger-Ignorance on the Road. Humorous Hebrew Homonyms refers to garbled messages due to immigrants’ unfamiliarity with idiom and slang.

“Snapshots and Bytes” also connotes one small chapter in a larger story. In the literature section of this volume, we have chosen several snapshots of people’s lives – selfies, if you will. These poems and short pieces of prose provide one slice of life, just as bytes refer to tiny units of data.

We hope you enjoy the collection presented in this volume.

The 21st Century Text

June 2018

The 21st Century Text is prepared and published by the faculty and students of the Editing and Editorial Analysis Program at the David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem, Israel.

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