What is it to be electrate?
According to theorist Gregory Ulmer, Electracy “is to digital media what literacy is to print”. With that in mind, Ryerson University academic link Nathalie Rodriguez thinks that electracy/electrate is a person’s intuition towards technology. Someone who is technologically savvy naturally and understand it very easily. I would say it is not only an intuition, but it is something that can be taught as well, like literacy. Some people are of course more literate, or in this case electrate then others.
Gregory Ulmer said that what literacy is to the analytical mind, electracy is to the affective body: a prosthesis that enhances and augments a natural or organic human potential. Alphabetic writing is an artificial memory that supports long complex chains of reasoning impossible to sustain within the organic mind. Digital imaging similarly supports extensive complexes of mood atmospheres beyond organic capacity. Electrate logic proposes to design these atmospheres into affective group intelligence. Literacy and electracy in collaboration produce a civilization left-brain right-brain integration. If literacy focused on universally valid methodologies of knowledge (sciences), electracy focuses on the individual state of mind within which knowing takes place (arts).
Wikipedia also describes electracy as a kind of “literacy”. It goes on to describe it as a skill and facility necessary to exploit the full communicative potential of new electronic media such as multimedia, hypermedia, social software and virtual worlds. To me, the better you can navigate the internet and all that it has to offer, the more electrate you are. As experience designers, we must be as electrate as possible.
Lila Pine, professor of Research for Experience Design at Ryerson University
Nathalie Rodriguez, academic link for Image arts at Ryerson University
Gregory Ulmer professor in the Department of English at the University of Florida