Multimodal Composition: What Counts as Writing?

My fellow scholars and I were asked to read four texts out of Writing About Writing from chapter five titled, “Multimodal Composition: What Counts as Writing?” From the four texts, two of them I believe were helpful and worth reading, while the other two were almost the exact same thing and I didn’t feel had any real impact on me.

The two that I believed were interesting to read and helpful with my thinking were “Instant Messaging and the Future of Language” by Naomi S. Baron, and “Texting and Writing” by Michaela Cullington (student). In the text written by Naomi S. Baron, she makes a very interesting point that through history, language has constantly been changing. She explains how even Shakespeare spelled his own name six different ways. Since the creation of print culture however, writing turned into a common genre, separating it into what’s formal writing and informal writing. Baron then fast forwards to the present and acknowledges that since the 20th century there has been several new educational practices, and changes all around in the linguistic and behavioral world. She talks about an online survey that says undergraduates are engaging themselves in several activities at once; “working on a paper, listening to music, eating, speaking face-to-face, and managing  up to 12 simultaneous IM conversations (722, WAW).” This was very cool to me because I actually witness this on a personal level with my friends all the time; I myself have never understood it, however, because I’m not the best multi-tasker, but am slowly turning into a better one. She continues saying something that I think is completely correct, “The most important effect of IM on language turns out to be not stylized vocabulary or grammar but the control seasoned users  feel they have over their communication networks (722, WAW).” I think that this isn’t only true for communication networks, but I’ve found that I just feel that way about life in general; if I keep myself busy and juggle around a bunch of things, yes I may feel overwhelmed, but I still feel in control of the things going on around me and that keeps me happy. I find this being a huge connection to why the younger generation is so fond of multiple conversations going on at once, and that it’s a very cool connection to make.

The piece composed by the scholar Michaela Cullington titled, “Texting and Writing,” I also found beneficial and interesting to read. Cullington looks at the controversy of whether or not text messaging is hurting students writing, benefiting it, or not having any really effect. I enjoyed this reading because Cullington looks at all sides of the picture, and makes sure to include everyones thoughts. Then after looking at others’ research, doing interviews with students and teachers, and conducting more research, Cullington comes to his own conclusion. Cullington concludes that there is a bit of false data out there, and that much of it is just peoples thoughts, opinions, and claims. However, after conducting research and self reflecting, “that texting is not interfering with students’ use of standard written English (781, WAW).” After reading this piece, I personally agreed with Cullington and could relate.

The  other two texts my fellow scholars and I were asked to read of which I didn’t like were titled “Writing, Technology, and Teens: Summary of Findings,” and “Revisualizing Compostion: Mapping the Writing Lives of First-Year College Students.” I feel as though I can talk about these two texts in one paragraph because they were so much the same. All the two of them talk about is data, quantifiable data! While reading both pieces of writing, it felt like I could have just looked at two different sets of graphs and gotten all the information they were talking about. I like to read something that I can personally relate to; if it’s just a bunch of numbers and data separating gender and ethnicity, I loose attention. This especially happened when reading one right after the other, because lots of information was just repeated. Why couldn’t they have just connected both texts together? I know that it was to groups of people, and two different sets of data, but much of it was the same so why did Writing About Writing choose to include both into its book?

This is how I separated the four pieces of writing asked by my fellow scholars and I…..


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