Analyze several different forms of Internet writing. Study the writing that seems to be based on traditional print forms, as well as the hypertexts, image- and sound-based texts, and the "conversational" writing that takes place in email, newsgroups, and chat rooms. Then, based on your research, write an essay that discusses one of the following questions:
Remember that the most successful analyses use many examples to support their assertions.
- Will online writing merely supplant print-based writing, or will the two forms of writing continue to exist simultaneously, perhaps continually affecting the other?
- Is writing limited to text, or should we expand our notion of writing to include images and sounds?
- What are the forms and styles cyberspace writing seems to borrow from print-based writing and vice versa? What significance do you attach to the influences these two forms of writing have on each other?
- How will we define and establish conventions for writing in media that encourages so much variety, or do we need to question the purpose of establishing writing conventions in the first place?
- How do changing reading and writing practices affect the way we communicate and the way we understand our cultures?
Collaborative Project, Hyper-Extensions
Compose a style guide similar to Clift's that recommends writing guidelines for a specific discussion community (i.e., women's rights groups, sailboat enthusiasts, fans of Drew Barrymore, etc.). You may even want to use this style guide as one of the starting points for the collaborative community assignment in chapter 1. Keep in mind that your list of what constitutes a "good" style should reflect the values, goals, and assumptions of the specific discussion community you choose. If you choose to write your style guide using an existing community as a model, you will need to carefully study the writing practices of the community and perhaps even solicit advice from members of the community.