Network literacy requires the ability to negotiate intimacy and immediacy in computer-mediated Web 2.0 spaces. That our group of writers here exhibited, through the replication of patterns of rhetoric, textual immediacy and intimacy brings into sharp relief the connectedness and social nature of their writing.
Essentially, network literacy brings back to communication the social aspect of writing, in that it requires the writer to work within the model of social interaction, where interlocutors continuously shift their positions and approaches based on what others are saying and how they’re saying it. The author Myka Vielstimmig, quoted in the introduction of this piece, proves to be the epitome of this social act; the "she" is actually a pseudonym for two writers (Kathleen Blake Yancey and Michael Spooner), who sometimes write collaboratively. In doing so, Yancey and Spooner acknowledge that what they produce is not a result of either one of their individual contributions, but instead a whole that is greater than its parts.
For this sort of interaction and knowledge production to happen in mediated networks, there must be a sense of social presence; that is, partipants must have a sense that there is an other who is listening (and to whom they can listen). In physical communication, immediacy and intimacy, two components of social psychology, describe the ways social presence is constructed between communicators (Wiener & Mehrabian, 1968). Immediacy refers to the psychological distance between the communicator and recipient, and is normally manifested in both the speaker’s rhetoric (both visual and verbal) and the audience’s response. It helps to think about immediacy in terms of how we can (in face to face interaction) quickly gauge the uptake of our message by our audience, and then allow audience response to inform or shape how we construct our next message. Intimacy refers to the physical or material aspects of an exchange, such as eye contact and the physical distance between communicators, which are flexible and momentary, and which normally reflect the comfort level of those involved in the discussion. That our group of writers here exhibited, through the replication of patterns of rhetoric, textual immediacy and intimacy brings into sharp relief the connectedness and social nature of their writing.
Network literacy requires the ability to negotiate intimacy and immediacy in computer-mediated Web 2.0 spaces. It requires sustained participation and interaction as the conventions of networked communities shift to accommodate (and shift because of) constant change in membership. Therefore, network literacy requires of writers a new authorial positioning like Vielstimmig claimed: an identity that can no longer ignore the intertextual nature of who we are and what we’re writing. The small corpus of bloggers examined in this study illustrated that what writers allow in to their writing, in terms of simple rhetorical genre and practice, is as important as what they eventually end up producing; and that for these writers to know which rhetorical practices were accepted and preferred by their chosen community, they had to participate in others’ work first, and they must continue to participate. Network literacy requires that we revise the traditional rhetorical triangle yet again, this time accounting for the cyclic, constantly iterative nature of writing within a community of other writers, and the ways that the writer/reader (or prosumer) both generates the network and exists because of the network.