What I’ve Learned: The Strengths and Weaknesses of Digital Writing

Over the period of this course, I have learned to grasp the various concepts and strategies that make up writing in the digital age. The task is certainly not easy; it requires a visual sense of what can work, and what cannot, both in terms of rhetoric, and perhaps most importantly, design. There have been several key points made throughout our readings that focus on this, and I feel as though, while my digital writing skills may not always be perfect, they have provided me a tremendous amount of help in shaping my digital literacy.

A Look at the Readings

The readings have allowed me to grasp some of the critical points that make digital writing work. In Bloggers Boot Camp: Learning How to Build, Write, and Run a Successful Blog, there were several useful points that helped me learn how to display the content of the blog, and help grab (and keep) the reader’s attention. One of these examples includes incorporating graphics into the piece, for visual appeal. In addition, it is important to keep blog posts relatively short, and to the point, at least not going on for pages and pages; with that, the reader loses interest. Boldface subheads, and shorter introduction sentences allow for a greater scalability, once again kept in  mind when getting the reader’s attention in a digital format.

Pullman’s readings on digital writing have similarly helped me understand a digital writing format. In chapter 7, Delivery, Pullman argues for more simple, efficient, and interesting designs when conveying information online. As Pullman describes, “Emphasize imagery. Use words sparingly. Make sure the person or people behind the site are prominent and available” (Pullman, 151). I had used this information considerably when thinking about a web design layout; simplicity is key, and in many ways best allows the reader to acquire the information necessary to the blog’s purpose. After all, no one likes a complicated webpage.

 

Additionally, Writer/Designer has allowed me to grasp the critical concepts of rhetorical analysis, which I used considerably for a couple of blog posts, in addition to a multimodal project focusing on different car websites. The rhetorical analysis process, which includes understanding audience, purpose, context, the author, and the genre, has helped me better understand concepts used in the digital age, such as using websites to attract consumers (used in the Chevrolet analysis) in order to utilize these concepts to create projects and posts that better get across the purpose used in multimodal projects, such as blog posts that encompass videos, text, as well as graphics.

 

What I’ve Learned

The readings, and the greater course goals, have taught me a considerable amount of digital writing. This encompasses the idea that so much has drastically changed in this respect when compared to traditional writing, in terms of formats, the implementation of graphics, as well as the various multimodal aspects that help gain the attention of the reader. My greatest strength perhaps has been in learning to write in a digital style, more specifically creating captions between sections, incorporating graphics, as well as embracing different font types to create emphasis on certain subjects and points. My greatest area in improvement, I feel, would be in this same area; while I feel as though I have gained much through the course in this respect, there is still much to be learned when making certain pieces work for their desired audience. Such elements as fonts, proper placement of media, as well as learning how to exactly deal with longer pieces, continue to be areas of constant improvement. In order to improve this, I have looked at various sites that incorporate a proper digital writing format, such as magazines that include The New Yorker and The Atlantic, which do a clever job of incorporating longer pieces into this format. Perhaps more improvement comes from picking up tools and these from these websites. In the end, though, much of it seems to come from practice, constantly learning how to master the tricky skill of digital writing.    

As a bonus, here’s some of the projects that have helped me learn more about the art of digital writing:

https://jackpwrd.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/an-exercise-in-jump-to-text/

https://jackpwrd.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/genre-set-analysis-how-car-websites-compare/

https://jackpwrd.wordpress.com/rhetorical-analysis/

https://jackpwrd.wordpress.com/multimedia-change-campaign/

 

 

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