Our goal in this class will be to engage with writing for digital media using a framework that moves beyond merely connecting digital writing to an existing, analog form of text; that is, we want to explore truly new, born digital forms of writing, rather than merely digitized forms.

While we will sometimes engage with analog forms of text and communication, our real objective is to move away from thinking about writing for digital media in terms of genres — like animated GIFs, social media, blogs, wikis, etc. Instead, we want to explore the characteristics that most distinguish digital media from analog written texts.

Our work in this class will be divided into five units, each focusing on a principle central to writing for digital environments. In each unit, we will read critical work to provide us with a framework for understanding the central idea, browse through samples of digital writing that embody this principle, and create our own digital work, together in class, and on your own.

Each unit will be written about in more detail as the semester progresses, but we will be looking at digital writing that is:

These ideas form the basis for much of the existing electronic and digital writing out there, but this list is by no means comprehensive, and these principles are certainly not mutually exclusive.

For more on the characteristics of writing for digital media, check out Mark Samples’ “What’s Wrong With Writing Essays” and David Golumbia’s “Characteristics of Digital Media.”

These assignments will culminate in a final digital project consisting of a revised / expanded version of one project that embodies at least two of these characteristics, accompanied by a critical, reflective essay that explores the cohesive vision of its creator.