In New Media/New Methods: The academic turn from literacy to elecracy, a passage says “In order to be electrate… contemporary writing students need to shift away from thinking in terms of thing (ex. the topic sentence) and must identify the importance of the thang, the central mood in funk. The thang indicates doing something “one’s own way”
The word itself combines the words ‘literacy’ and ‘electrical’ to form a significance that includes the core meaning for both of it’s root words, creating a new implication altogether. It parallels literacy so completely that as one can be “illiterate or literate”, a person can also be “electrate or anelectrate.” The term itself “helps us to see the difference between ‘media literacy” and written literacy.
To be electrate means to be technologically savvy. To be ‘literate’ in electronics and digital media the way a person is literate with regard to the written word. Being able to find your way around the digital medium and operate it effectively. The word itself was constructed by Gregory L. Ulmer a professor of English and new media at the University of Florida and is introduced in his novel/text book Internet Invention: From literacy to electracy, as “an image apparatus, keeping in mind that images are made with words as well as with pictures.”
He is quoted by many sources for saying that “electracy is to digital media what literacy is to print”. Though no direct definition for electracy or to be ‘electrate’ can be found in his book, Ulmer offers the basis for the word’s meaning over and over. Electracy “is emerging as we speak, rising in many different spheres and areas and converging in some unforeseeable yet malleable way.” So much like New Media, Electracy is still changing and developing. It is still a state of “evolution whose end is not yet in sight, but whose fantasy future is figured in the term “cyberspace”
Ulmer also believes that “It’s crucial that citizens in general learn to be ‘electrate’ so that they can participate in the invention process of these identity behaviors in a way that is conducted in their own best interest. Otherwise, of course, we might end up in something like the Matrix.” It inspires a fear that if we are not electrate, then technology will overcome us and be completely beyond our personal control.
5. Rice & O’Gorman. New Media/New Methods: The academic turn from literacy to Electracy. Parlor Press: West Lafayette, Indiana.
6. Ulmer, Gregory L. Internet Invention: from literacy to electracy. Pearson Education Press.