The Short Form

Curated by Paul Oh
March 17, 2011

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.

What's Inside