English 104W-1117, Introduction to Prose Genres
Media and the Masses:
Social and Mass Media, and Messaging as Prose Genres
Dr. Paul Matthew St. Pierre
Assignment 1: Blog Essay (1600 bits), with One Revision
Write a blog essay consisting of no more than 1600 bits of textual informations (characters and spaces) entered onto your preferred social media site. The essay could be in the form or a single post or a series of posts. For example, an essay on YouTube might consist of a single video with text; an essay on Twitter might consist of sixteen 100-bit tweets tweeted over the course of sixteen successive days. At your discretion, the essay may feature links to photos, URLs and other non-textual data; these will not be calculated in the 1600-bit allotment.
This assignment is designed to promote creative and experimental endeavor in nonconventional essay writing. If you subscribe to Marshall McLuhan’s theory that “the medium is the message,” then the content of your essay may be less important than your social medium itself and the message you convey by using it to construct an essay. In 1917 American poet Wallace Stevens published his poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” in his collection Harmonium; in 2011, he might have posted “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” at his social media site. In 2009 mmmpoetry posted a YouTube video of the inscribed text of “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” with a narrated soundtrack (http://blogs.sfu.ca/courses/fall2011/engl104w). Taking inspiration from Stevens, you might post or tweet a blog essay titled “Thirteen Ways of Looking at….” Inspired by Canadian director François Girard’s film Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993), about the Canadian classical pianist, you might write a blog essay titled “Thirty Two Short Tweets About…” consisting of thirty-two 50-bit entries on Twitter. Of course your essay title need not make reference to the number of posts making up the essay. In short, be imaginative.
This assignment consists of two parts: an original submission and a revision of it. The original submission must be a finished work, not a draft or proposal. Grades will be assigned (worth 20%) based on the revised final submission. Make both the original and the revised submissions to your tutor, not as printed copy but in the form of a link to your site. Be sure to designate your posts or tweets in some way to indicate that these are to be considered your ENGL 104W blog essay.
First submission: due October 12, 2011
Revised submission: October 31, 2011