ENGL 219 – Blogs, Tweets, & Social Media


Prof. Sandra Jamieson
Office: Sitterly 306
Office phone: 973.408.3499
Office Hours: Tuesdays –  9:00-10:00 (BC 18A) & 4:15-5:30 (SITT 306)
………………Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays 12:00-1:00  (BC 18A)
……………….& by appointment

ENGL 219
Time: Tues, Wed, Thurs, 10:00-12:05
Location: BC 18
Dates: June 30-August 6, 2015


Course Overview:
Ironically, although some bemoan the decline of literacy, effective writing is more important than it has ever been. Today, text messages can organize protests, tweets can announce a revolution, email and social media can influence elections, and blogs can make people rich. Yet the very immediacy of instantaneous written communication can lead to serious miscommunication with dire consequences. At first these forms of writing seem very different from the handwritten letters and manuscripts of the past; however, they may be closer than we think. To be effective, electronic writing must follow some very different rules; yet these forms also challenge writers to be concise and clear, they depend upon principles of classical rhetoric, and they require reading strategies as old as writing itself.

This course will explore the relationship between audience, purpose and text in a cross section of electronic formats, including tweets, blogs, Facebook posts, discussion groups, text messages, and various social media and curation sites. We will develop criteria for evaluating each form of writing, find examples, assess what makes them effective (including questions of ethics and responsibility), consider the decoding skills they demand from readers, and practice the form ourselves. We will also explore broader social, ethical, and philosophical issues raised by these media and consider the positive and negative aspects of various forms of online communication.  Students are not expected to be familiar with all forms of social media before entering the course, although some of the class writing will be in these formats and students will be asked to develop a coherent online presence (or brand).

See the menu bar for more details about this course!

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