What I find interesting and important about “Listening Post” is that the line between public and private is distorted here. As Raley says, “They [the posts] are private to a particular community” (27). While she is discussing chatrooms (both in general and the ones in the piece she is writing about), the same thing is occurring with our own Twitter feed. We have algorithms set to ensure that all of our tweets are picked up: we use the hashtag #iupelit, Dr. Sherwood created a list for @IUPElit to find, and there is a Twitter channel on our main page to show all of the tweets we have written. Yet this catches even tweets that are not meant for class, which means that our “private” non-class thoughts are broadcast to the class; contrast that with the fact that people that follow us normally are reading our private class discussions. This provides an ongoing example of the distortion between public and private spheres.

Another point worth consideration is her question: “What is the significance of a text--visual, verbal, or acoustic--that makes one wonder what the signboards are, that will not allow access, that renders itself illegible? Such texts . . . require the reader, listener, or viewer to create her own hermeneutic architecture and . . . make explicit the act of interpretation that goes into the analysis of any text” (28). I see this as a condensation of what we have been struggling with this entire term: meaning. We are used to fighting our way through dense, word-heavy texts with elusive meanings in order to understand what a particular author is saying, whether this author is Shakespeare, Zora Neale Hurston, or someone who wrote an article for an academic journal. We eventually carve out our own meaning of those texts; electronic literature challenges us to do the same in other media.
While Raley quotes lines out of context from “Listening Post,” all I can do is think about how our own Twitter feeds appear to those without context of our class. Do our posts confuse, frustrate, or perhaps even inspire others?




Questions for Discussion:
1. Is a sense of “community” necessary for digital literature to thrive, as suggested by Hansen and Ruben’s commentary? Why or why not?
2. How do you think that Raley would see Twitter and the various communities it both creates and tears apart?