Digital Shift: The Cultural Logic of Punctuation (Paperback)
Emoticons matter. Equal signs do, too. This book takes them seriously and shows how and why they matter. Digital Shift explores the increasingly ubiquitous presence of punctuation and typographical marks in our lives⎯using them as reading lenses to consider a broad range of textual objects and practices across the digital age.
Jeff Scheible argues that pronounced shifts in textual practices have occurred with the growing overlap of crucial spheres of language and visual culture, that is, as screen technologies have proliferated and come to form the interface of our everyday existence. Specifically, he demonstrates that punctuation and typographical marks have provided us with a rare opportunity to harness these shifts and make sense of our new media environments. He does so through key films and media phenomena of the twenty-first century, from the popular and familiar to the avant-garde and the obscure: the mass profile-picture change on Facebook to equal signs (by 2.7 million users on a single day in 2013, signaling support for gay marriage); the widely viewed hashtag skit in Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night show; Spike Jonze’s Adaptation; Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know; Ryan Trecartin’s Comma Boat; and more.
Extending the dialogue about media and culture in the digital age in original directions, Digital Shift is a uniquely cross-disciplinary work that reveals the impact of punctuation on the politics of visual culture and everyday life in the digital age.
Jeff Scheible is assistant professor of cinema studies at Purchase College, State University of New York.
"Jeff Scheible argues that when writing—and all of culture—is undergoing radical change through the overwhelming adoption of networked and programmable media, it is possible to detect and analyze these changes in the encompassing details, in the cultural logic of punctuation, for example. This book is highly engaging. Scheible’s arguments are compelling and provocative."—John Cayley, Brown University