Genre and Purpose of the Argumentative Writing
Digital Publishing: the Blog Post
This paper will ask you to:
• Understand the various stylistic and craft elements, as well as genres, of blog culture
• Employ some of these conventions in writing your own argumentative blog post
o Making a claim is key (e.g. it can’t simply be a set of observations/descriptions, or a roundup of what other people have published on the web, even though these are common genres of blog posts).
o Keep in mind the fundamental principles of sound critical reasoning and writing we’ve discussed since January—they’ll still apply.
The Wild World of Internet Readership
But let’s not pander to the lowest-common denominator (as in, make it several degrees more intelligent than any Youtube comment you’ve ever read. n +1, yo.)
Occasion for Writing
The Internet is a giant, content-craving amalgam of media—text, image, sound, video, animation, GIFs, memes, lolcats, html, tumblrs, and beyond. Nicholas Carr writes that it is “subsuming most of our other intellectual technologies. It’s becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV.”
It is a medium in which constraints of time and space evaporate—a piece of writing on the Internet could in theory have a trillion words, unchecked by the need to bind pages together with glue or to fit inside a library’s reading room. Curiously, though, the infinite space has contracted the expected length of media in many ways. Blogs are a case-in-point: they certainly can be ambitious in scope, especially taken in sum, but each discreet post is an art in balancing the average Internet-reader’s attention span with the more robust demands of sound, convincing writing.
In other words, just because the format and tone may be novel doesn’t mean that principles of effective written communication fall by the wayside. Precise phrasing. Knowledge of your potential readership. Compelling insight. Acknowledging complexity. Evidence for claims…
Achieving this balance is an exercise in judicious rhetorical choices, and will be important in a professional world where you will likely be asked to engage in short-form digital writing.
Therefore, the Internet demands 800-900 words that address the following task:
Write an argumentative blog post of some kind…
• Paper copy and digital submission (we’ll figure this out together—probably via Blackboard), so that hyperlinks and other web-based intricacies will work.
• The paper is shorter and due within a smaller time frame than usual, and engages a type of communication—blog-writing—that may seem more trivial (or at least easier in some way) than longer, more formal works. BUT this is still worth 8% of the final grade, and will be evaluated with the same high standards we’ve established all semester. Those standards, of course, will be adapted to reflect the nature of blogging.
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