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Collection by
Paul Oh
Published
Mar 17 2011

Resources in this collection

5 Resources in this collection
Keri Franklin, director of the Ozarks Writing Project and Assistant Professor Of English at Missouri State University, found that learning to tweet meant learning to write—and read. "I learned as much about audience, purpose, conventions, and handling writing apprehension as I have learned from writing much longer pieces," she informs us.
Does our world of tweets and status updates make us less reflective and analytical? Clive Thompson, in this Wired magazine article, argues just the opposite. That in fact being able to communicate in short bursts allows us to later "dive deep."
What does the # mean to you? Read this resource to find out the many ways this symbol is used for various rhetorical purposes on Twitter.
You might think 140 characters isn't enough to yield much by way of content. But apparently it's more than enough to make visible various spoken language "accents."
In this article, teachers from New York's lower Hudson Valley discuss the impact of texting on the teens they work with, pointing out that with every writing form there's a need to help students understand the conventions of that form. Texting, as it turns out, is no different.

The Short Form

Twitter Prototype sketch

The whole bird thing: bird chirps sound meaningless to us, but meaning is applied by other birds. The same is true of Twitter: a lot of messages can be seen as completely useless and meaningless, but it’s entirely dependent on the recipient. - Jack Dorsey, a founder of Twitter, in the LA Times

Status updates, tweets, text messages, 4Square checkins—our lives are awash in short form compositions. Are they "completely useless and meaningless," or do they, as Jack Dorsey maintains, derive their value from the social context within which they live? What is the impact of these brief bursts of words and characters on teens, on teaching and on writing itself? What are the rhetorical strategies being employed within these emergent writing forms? How are we as educators learning to compose in these genres?

In this collection you'll find a pastiche of observations and understandings about the short form. Please use it as a starting point for a conversation about these forms of writing that are in all likelihood evolving even as you read these words.

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