n this week’s blog I’m supposed to write about teaching writing online. I could regale you with student success stories from my online course. I could point to the ever popular Turn It In, a must-have for the savvy college comp professor on the vigilant trail of plagiarism. Nope. Not gonna do it.
Instead I want to share with you some insightful tips for using social media effectively and watching what you write. Social media is writing online, among a few other things both savory and salacious, but we’re not going there. No no, gentle reader. We’re going to the heart of the pithy post, the terrific Tweet, and the sensational status update: respect for and knowledge of the audience. That, and a bit of fun, after the break.
Journalist, commentator, new media publisher and former member of Second City, David Spark suggests that we can be a lot kinder and gentler to our audience by doing one simple thing: put more content in our content.
From following folks we don’t really know or care about to reTweeting reTweets of reTweets to sharing links without even bothering to read what you shared, we shower our friends lists with all manner of mindless madness. Being a photographer, I find #8 particularly offensive. Before autofocus and the five-point metering system and digital cameras we had an excuse, but now? Seriously folks.
Sharing is not always caring. Sharing in this sense is just following along like rats to a flute. The siren’s call of social media is not telling you to repost that LOLCat that you saw on your sister’s husband’s brother’s son’s MySpace… wait, he still uses MySpace? But I digress. Spark’s message is clear and simple and something old network fogies like your humble author know all too well. The Internet is Forever, and you are what you Tweet.
The message for our students is clear and simple: write with purpose, write with clarity, write with knowledge and understanding of your audience. Throw in a little bit of the funny. But above all, make it relevant and meaningful. Relevancy and meaning are what our students expect from us. The internet should expect no less from them.
And with that, I wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, as well as success on your end of semester papers, finals and projects.