Gone are the days of long-form…Can it be saved?

As I sit in the reference room reflecting on the “what counts as writing”, I can’t help but think what the person sitting next to me thinks about the same question. She’s currently drawing chemistry molecules, yuck, and most likely considers that writing. I consider that more of a foreign language, but to her, writing a blog post could seem like more of a tedious task instead of writing. Whatever the case, it goes to show how versatile “writing” is.

Throughout the whole process of deconstructing what writing means, most striking to me to me was the emergence of shorter, more digital writing. Gone are the days of essays being the only form of writing. Enter tweets, Facebook statuses, headline writing, Instagram captions and more. I found this shocking. As a person who uses Twitter for unhealthy amounts of time I, honestly, never thought of it as writing until now. Rather, I just thought of it as another task. Reflecting now, I see writing a Tweet almost as difficult as writing an extended essay. With a long paper, a writer has nearly seven pages to get their point across. On Twitter, you have 140 characters to get your whole idea across. Think of condensing your seven-page paper into one or two sentences. It’s not easy.

Next, this activity really made me think about the changing culture of humans. That is, of course, the shortening of attention spans. No longer does someone want to read long-form piece of journalism. Rather a reader would like to scroll through a Buzzfeed list. No longer do people want to read books. Rather they want to read Tweets. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, although as someone who is trying to enter the world of journalism it can be a tad disheartening, but rather it goes to show what writing is evolving into: Short, simple, clever posts.

It’s not to say that long-form is totally dead or that people don’t read longer pieces. Instead, perfecting the practice of “short writing” such as writing headlines or captions is the key to success. If a headline or caption doesn’t catch a reader’s eye, there’s a certainty that they wont read it. However, if the caption is there, perhaps the long-form piece will get read. I dealt with this all summer at the New York Daily News as a sports writer. The stories I wrote nearly always hovered around 500 words, which can be long to people. But what the News mastered was the art of writing titles. A top every story was an engaging headline that drew readers in. In fact, there a job at the News’ sports desk dedicated to only writing headlines. That’s how important it is in this day and age where Print Journalism, as bleak as it sounds, is slowly dying.

Writing is everywhere. This activity shows that. It’s versatile and that maybe selling writing short. Writing can be used to become organized, get good grades, learn, as a hobby, as a job, to heal and many, many more ways. For now, though, what used to be known as writing is certainly changing for better or worse.

 

 

Tweetable Moments.

Why is it that we, the 2014 version of the human race, feel the need to document our day’s moments in 140 characters or less? Why is the light blue app with little bird the first place our touch screen-trained fingers go? Is the moment less of a moment if we let it pass by, as almost all moments do, without digital evidence of its happenings?

These are just questions, and I don’t really want answers. I just want to send these cosmic questions out into the void. So goodnight, dear void. 

Challenging Technology

For my remediating project, I am creating an advice twitter account for young, 20 year olds entering the professional world. As a young 20 year old myself, I’m a pretty avid tweeter. I know the ins and outs of the site pretty well. So it’s a little difficult for me to challenge myself in this area. But what has become challenging is changing my image on twitter from a personal to a professional one.

Rather than having a silly background pictured tiled for my design like I do in my personal account, professional twitters have to look put together, with a serious background that is eye catching. Rather than having a selfie as my thumbnail, professional twitters have to have something as their picture that will show what they are right off the bat. My tech challenge was how to create these elements for myself.

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I created this image at cooltext.com, an easy to use sight to create professional looking text logos or images. The hard part comes when you try to use that image in practical use. I made about 20 of these images, each in different sizes, trying to get them to fit in the background of my twitter page. I may be doing this in the completely wrong and extended way, but I figured it out.

This project has made me realize that while I find myself to be fairly knowledgable in technology, just from my day to day uses, there is so much more I can learn about these technologies by taking them at different angles.

 

Twitter: The Mini Blog

When I finished my first Intro to Writing class yesterday I thought to myself, “I’m in trouble.” What do I know about blogging? The answer that rang certain in my head was absolutely nothing. I tried to make a blog once… It was called “Sarah Out Loud” and I updated it maybe once. I didn’t understand it and I knew that nobody would ever look at it besides me so what the point, anyways?

So that’s it. Thats the only time I have ever blogged.

Or so I thought. (Yes, this is a piece of self-realization.)

While reading Andrew Sullivans, “Why I Blog”, I found myself in a sync with the author. He started off right off the bat by saying something that I never thought about before: The word blog is a conflation of two words: Web and log. HMM! Right then and there I knew this was going to be an interesting piece that got my gears moving.

One of the major ideas of the piece was that blogging allows for the most truthful instant reaction/thought/feeling in response to a situation. According to Sullivan, “It is the spontaneous expression of instant thought–impermanent beyond even the ephemera of daily journalism” and “the deadline is always now”. And then you know what he said? “It is, in many ways, writing out loud”.

I was hooked. Remember my blog that I tried to write one time? Sarah Out Loud. “Maybe I should give this blogging thing another try,” I thought to myself.

THEN IT HIT ME. I do blog! Probably 8-10 times a day. On Twitter! It’s just like blogging isn’t it? Just shortened. When something makes me mad, happy, excited, sad, silly, hopeful, or intrigued I tweet about it. The more I read the more I confirmed that tweeting is a form of blogging.

Tweeting requires a person to say something personal in a public manner. In the heat of the moment, say when you are mad at a friend, boyfriend, coworker, teacher or other companion, it is so easy to tweet right on your phone about why you’re so pissed! Hey, it’s probably good for you to let it out a little bit. But then a few minutes later when you’ve calmed down… There tends to be that “oh crap” feeling when you kinda wanna go delete that tweet before many people see it. But you know what? I never do. I think a true tweeter doesnt go through and filter their tweets after its all said and done. The point of twitter is instant thoughts, feelings, opinions and reactions, so by going through and filtering your tweets afterwords just ruins the whole idea of it. And as I read this article, I started to understand that many bloggers also feel the same way.

“To blog is therefore to let go of your writing in a way, to hold it at arm’s length, open it to scrutiny, allow it to float in the ether for a while, and to let others, as Montaigne did, pivot you toward relative truth.”

Needless to say, I was a large fan of this piece. Like a huge fan.

Both of the other articles were interesting and unique in their own ways, but it was Andrew Sullivans piece that really struck a cord for me.

Guys, I think I just became a blogger.

Or have I always been?