People looking at a string of digital information

Understanding Definition of Digital




Continuing off from last week’s blog we look further into the digital world by understanding the word itself. When “digital” comes up in conversation, the first thing that comes to mind would be technological devices like computers, phones, and tablets. At first the definition of “digital” seems simple, it must have to do with technology, correct? What about a blender? Would that be considered digital? How about a digital clock? Are they considered digital too? By asking more questions it is harder to truly know what is digital. However, with helpful readings, we can differentiate once and for all what is exactly “digital.”


                Reading “Dough Eyman’s article Defining and Locating Digital Rhetoric“, has opened up my eyes to the true definition of digital and how that form of information is more helpful than traditional forms of sharing information.

Different Definition

                The most surprising things about the definition of digital is that it’s not solely about modern technology at all. According to Eyman’s article, digital can referred to as “Our fingers, our digits, one of the primary ways . . . through which we make sense of the world and with which we write into the world. All writing is digital: digitalis in Latin, means “of or relating to the fingers or toes” or “a coding of information.” The idea that all writing can be considered digital was greatly surprising to me as I used to think digital can only be referred to as things written in the digital space. Now, I know that is not correct, and digital can refer to any form of digital.

Ancient examples

                It Is interesting to realize this as it shows that even in “ancient times” they had their form of technological advancements such as Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Aztec codices as well as other major societies with their form of written language as it allowed information to be stored and shared to others to read and understand.  

                The most interesting information I learned about digital systems is their effectiveness over analog systems due to binary codes. Binary codes are a form of encoding information through 0’s and 1’s. This is shown to be superior to analog systems. Analog systems uses continuous time signal for processing. Digital systems use discrete time signals to operate. But I could not see how binary codes could be effective when it’s only two distinct states, won’t it be limited? However, through understanding, I see that having two states makes it easier for readability and understanding. This is because most if not all programs understand the symbols of 0 and 1. Thus there is universal agreement to acknowledge these states and what they mean.

Additionally, instead of translating written information through understanding vocabulary, digital formats can be easily replicated in native formats. Meaning, the default file format in which the software program that originated the file creates can be easily replicated into other file formats. Within analog systems it cannot effectively transfer data and uses too much power. Thus, Digital systems using 0’s and 1’s is simpler and more effective for software to process.


                Overall, the definition of digital may not be as simple as we believe it to be. It can encompass different things that we wouldn’t consider “digital.”


3 responses to “Understanding Definition of Digital”

  1. […] my last blog, we explored the true meaning of the word “Digital.” Today I present to you the topic of […]

  2. […] digits about our fingers according to Dough Eyman’s exploration of the word. In my blog post “Understanding Definition of Digital” I explored Eyman’s section of digital coming out with the understanding that any written form is […]

  3. […] This idea that writing is a form of technology is not new. In my previous post on Doug Eyman’s research on the topic of “digital,” he argued that writing is a form of […]

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