Can I Have Your Attention Please!

Posted by Oscar Schwartz | Sun Nov 10th 2013 10:37 p.m.

I've written a personal exploration of the first expressions of a new type of writing that has developed slowly and insidiously in the minds of those who grew up quietly plugged in and instinctively communicating online.

I look at a range of younger writers (Tao Lin, Marie Calloway, Steve Roggenbuck) who are exploring the possibilities enabled by social media, who don't use it simply as a blank digital storehouse for pre-existing forms of writing, but engage with it as a medium in its own right.

Because social media is not a physical medium, like radio, television or computers, and because it broadcasts itself off pre-existing technologies, it is difficult to conceptualise it as a ‘medium’, like, say, TV. But, as Marshall McLuhan pointed out, all new mediums at first appear “as mere codes of transmission for older achievement and established patterns of thought”, and only later, emerge as mediums expressing “new languages with new and unique powers of expression."

I am Oscar Schwartz, a writer from Melbourne, Australia. I am currently writing a PhD on whether computers can write poetry <>. My critical work has been promoted by Adrian Chen, and published in Cordite Review and VLAK, and my poetry/prose has been published in The Best Australian Poetry 2013, Shampoo, Vice. I maintain a stream of work at

If you want me to send you the whole essay send me an email:

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