Digital Essays: Materials Draft
- Submitting Draft One: Materials Folder and Overview
- Responding (r9)
x8: Blog Favorites
English 212: Creative Nonfiction, Fall 2012
- Section 1, Mon: 6–8:30
- Section 2, Tues: 6–8:30
Fair Use on the Web: Eric Faden, “A Fair(y) Use Tale”
- Post Draft One, Overview and Materials Folder, to Dropbox group folder, by Fri, 3/30, at 9:00 am
- Post responses to drafts in Dropbox group folder by Tues, 4/03, at 9:00 am
- Bring 6 copies of overview with comments to class on Tues, 4/03
Please point to two passages from blogs in this course that you feel are particularly well written and briefly tell us what you admire about them. The passages should be between 25-100 words, come from different blogs, and illustrate different qualities of writing. Please quote from the blogs in your own post in addition to linking to them.
My aim is to celebrate the work people in this class have done as bloggers—but with a particular focus on prose style, on how the various writers in this class have gone about forming a distinctive voice for their blogs.
Please post your favorites by 9:00 am on Tuesday, 3/27. Use r8 as your category and tag your post with the first names of the bloggers you discuss. I’m eager to discuss the passages you choose in class next week!
Fastwrite: What, if anything, has made it hard for you to generate posts for your blog? What advice would you have to offer someone else about how to sustain a consistent pace of posts?
Groups: Spend five minutes on each blog. What ideas for new posts do readers have?
Andrew Keen (pp. 242–49) argues that social media have fostered a “cultural Marxism,” a “creeping narcissism,” a “flattening” of “talent” into “opinion,” and a loss of “our memory for things learned, read, experienced, or heard.”
- What sorts of evidence does Keen offer for such claims? What other kinds of evidence might be provided?
- What sorts of evidence—from other pieces in Digital Divide, from your own experiences— might be used to argue against them?
What are the cultural and individual gains of “nomadicity”? (See Todd Gitlin, pp. 207-14). What are its downsides?
Gitlin also points to the “invasion of solitude” (213) as one of the costs of universal access. How usefully, or not, does William Deresiewicz (307-17) develop and refine this concern?
- Digital Essay Proposal, due Friday, 3/16.
- Conferences to discuss proposals (optional): Mon, 3/19, 11–1, Tues, 3/20, 1-4
- Class, Tues, 3/20: We will meet in 01 Old Chem for an intro to editing with iMovie (iMovie_Handout).
- Continue blogging! I will review your blog and give it a final grade on Friday, 3/23.
Ideas/Proposals for Digital Essays
r6/Digital Divide (2)
In groups: Direct us to at least two key passages in the essay you’ve read and written about. Have a question or comment ready that will spark conversation about each passage.
- Douglas Rushkoff, “Cyberboy,” “People’s Net,” and “Social Currency” (pp. 112–29): Jonathan, Chinny Torie, and Parker
- Don Tapscott, “Net Gen Norms” (pp. 130–59): Kristin and Nicole
- Henry Jenkins, “Love Online” (pp. 160–65): Keturah, Allison, Lauren, and Ashley
- Cathy Davidson, “We Can’t Ignore” (pp. 166–71): Mollie, Jabari, and Sophie
- Christine Rosen, “The New Narcissism” (pp. 172–88): Helen and Emily
- John Palfrey and Urs Gasser, “Activists” (pp. 189–204): Shawn, Liz, and Lindsay
- Lindsay: Lists
- Chinny: Other voices
- Comment on two blogs by writers outside your groups
- Invite (by email or twitter) two readers from outside this class to read one of the blogs in it
- Invite (by email or twitter) two readers to follow your blog
- Continue blogging.
- Comment on other blogs from this course.
- Post r7 (response to section three of Digital Divide) by 9:00 am, Tues, 3/13.
- Submit Digital Essay Proposal by 9:00 am, Fri, 3/16.
I was intrigued by Douglas Rushkoff’s article “The People’s Net”, even though it was published in 2001, because I felt that it was centered on issues that are still very much prevalent today. Essentially, the article addresses the fact that while big-name corporations try to use the internet to their advantage, in advertising and otherwise soliciting purchases, it is individuals who really take the internet to its full (and originally intended) potential.
This article resonated with me for a number of reasons. Most of all, I am intrigued by the ways in which everyday people can turn the internet into a means of profit. Popular bloggers get free clothing, food and other goodies in the hopes of that they will give the products good reviews on their sites. Youtube artists get record deals and make money by adding advertisements to their videos. Sites like etsy and ebay (and even amazon) allow ordinary people to sell goods, whether purchased or made, to others across the world.
My question is this: Why do we have such a different view of these people compared to corporations? We are so quick to decry big-name companies for putting banner ads on the our favorite websites or box ads on the sides of our facebook, soliciting our business, but we have no problem when our favorite blogger talks about a product that was sent to them, free of charge, by one of these big-name companies? Is it because they are recognizable individuals, rather than a large group of faceless people hiding behind a company name? Is it because we acknowledge the fact that they started from the bottom, building a following and therefore earning the right to use the internet as a means of profit?
I’m curious about how others view this. As I learned from this article, the internet was created as a free means of sharing information. It was an opportunity for the individual to rise above industry. Do you think today’s internet has accomplished this, or has it instead just transformed the individual into another pawn in the efforts of big-name corporations to get our business? Where is the line drawn?
I’d like you to work as part of a blogging group for the next several weeks of this course.
A blogging group is a small group of writers who agree to follow one another’s work, comment when they are moved to do so, and meet regularly to talk about what they are doing. The aim of a blogging group is to help you keep writing by offering you not only support, advice, and ideas for new posts, but a sense that there are people out there who are actually reading your blog and who expect you to regularly update it.
Your tasks as a member of your blogging group are to:
- Subscribe to or follow the blogs of the other writers in your group;
- Check in on each blog once or twice a week; comment on posts that interests you;
- Be ready to talk briefly about what you’ve been reading in class. (We’ll set aside about 30-45 minutes each week for the groups to meet.)
- Try to get people outside of this course reading and commenting on the blogs in your group.
I’ve set up the three groups below in a semi-random fashion. If after the first week or two, you feel that you really can’t work productively as part of a particular group, let me know and we’ll see if we can’t make some changes. But I hope that this won’t need to be the case.
Good luck! Have fun!
- Allison Damon
- Shawn Hoffman
- Nicole Page
- Ashely Ruba
- Jabari Sellars
- Chinny Sharma
- Lauren Duin
- Sophie Green
- Mollie Mackler
- Parker Miles
- Kristin Oakley
- Helen Ren
- Jonathan Ho
- Lindsay Michalski
- Liz Portnoy
- Keturah Reed
- Tori Scott
- Emily Shiau
Fastwrite: What’s your favorite blog? Why? Is there anything about it that you might try to imitate in writing your own blog?
In groups: Jot down some notes about your aims, using the questions below. Then read your About pages and first post (if you have one) aloud. Listen to what your readers say about your aims and compare them to your notes. Then talk together about design elements.
- Focus: What is your blog about?
- Slant: What makes your blog worth reading?
- Engine: What drives the blog? How will you generate new posts?
- Readers: Who do you imagine yourself as writing to? (See Yahoo! sheet.)
- Method: Report, aggregate, comment, something else?
- Voice: What three or four terms best describe your blogging voice? (See Yahoo! sheet.)
- Title and tag
- About blog/you
- Theme, widgets, settings, comments, links, etc.
- Use of images, overall look
Response to responses: Please send me an email in which you (a) describe the feedback you got from your group, (b) outline a plan of work/revisions for the coming week, and (c) tell me what kinds of feedback you most need from me now. I will email you back.
Setting Up Blogging Groups
Moment of Zen
Colbert on SOPA and PIPA
- Start blogging! Pace: One shorter post (100–400 words) every week; one longer post (>400 words) every other week. Be professional. Recruit readers and commenters. Have fun!
- Follow the blogs by the other members of your blogging group. Comment on posts that interest you. Recruit other other readers.
- Tues, 1/31/, 9:00 am: Read Microstyle, pp. 1–119. Post r2 to this site.
Your first task in this course is to set up a WordPress blog. To begin to do so, go to the Duke WordPress site and log on using your Duke ID. From that point on, setting up a site is a point-and-click process.
What will be more interesting—and hard—is figuring out what idea or theme you want to center your blog on. By next week, I’d like you to have set up:
- A title and tagline for your blog;
- An “About” page (or post) that describes your aims and focus in writing;
- Another “About” page that tells your readers who you are;
- A WordPress that you’ve customized with your own header and widgets.
We will workshop these materials in class next week and you will be free to add to and revise what you’ve done throughout the semester. But I’d like you to make a serious start in the coming week. Please email me the URL of your site by 9:00 am on Tues, 1/24.
I encourage you to consider working with others in this course on a group blog. If you do so, you should list each person involved as an “Administrator” under Users.
I’ll start reading the blogs for this course on Fri, 1/27.I look forward to following your work!