When Words Go Global: a #digped Chat

Digital writing – in my understanding, the act of creating texts or other products through digital tools which are designed to be shared with readers via digital means- diverges significantly from the private hand-written journaling I did for years. From my laptop and occasionally from my tablet I draft texts which I primarily publish immediately … In both cases, these texts are out there for anyone and everyone with reasonably free internet access to see, read, and also ignore. ~ Sherri Spelic

Digital Writing Month 2015 is entering its first few frenzied, frantic, fanatical days, and immediately upon entry into November the questions arise: what is digital writing? who reads digital writing? who authors it? where does it end up? For the last four years, we’ve been asking these questions alongside participants in this month-long MOOC-like thing. And this year is no different.

Except that it’s very different.

Where Jesse Stommel and I ran DigiWriMo for three years, each time adjusting course to explore new waters of collaboration, massive writing, and the nature of text, image, and sound online, this year our exquisite colleagues Maha Bali, Sarah Honeychurch, and Kevin Hodgson have taken the helm… and they’re directing us into new waters indeed. Never has Digital Writing Month been this international, this focused on issues of identity, inclusion, and voice. Our brave new leaders are bringing us closer to the issues of global digital writing than ever before.

Writers have a responsibility,” I wrote.

“And originally, I thought that responsibility had to do with telling the truth and being honest; or it had to do with trying to make a home on the Internet; or that we need to be conscientious about how we work, and for whom our words toil

Writing is an aching occupation. And maybe not because we do it all alone. But maybe because we can’t ever be alone. We can’t ever turn our backs on the world to which we simply must belong.”

More than ever, our writing exposes — not just us, but others. In our words, whether we know it or not, we reach across boundaries. Sometimes, we cross those boundaries in the wrong ways, or unexpectedly, or without notice. Sometimes, we cross them well, in the right way, conscientiously reaching out to enter into or invite in a community.

This Friday, November 6, at Noon EST, DigiWriMo, Hybrid Pedagogy, and Digital Pedagogy Lab will host a raucous, yet deeply inspective, Twitter chat under the hashtag #digped. We’ll be looking at what happens not just when writing becomes digital, but also what happens when words go global.

A few questions for you to consider before joining the chat on Friday:

  • How do we negotiate our own identities online in ways that support or co-opt others’ identities?
  • How do we form communities of words, images, video? What are the most powerful tools at our disposal for creating collaborations across time zones, language barriers, cultural and religious difference?
  • What is digital writing? Who is the audience? What happens when our work lands in places we never expected, and what happens when it lands nowhere at all?
  • What stories do we tell online? If you were to write an article for Digital Writing Month, what aspect of digital writing would you speak to? What is your voice online?
  • How do we read digital writing? This isn’t just about whether we skim, or bookmark, or hyperlink, or share… How do we engage online with the writing we find there? How do we look for it? What of ourselves do we bring to the act of reading digital writing? And can digital reading be digital writing?

If you are interested in this conversation, join us Friday, November 6 at Noon Eastern. For those unable to join the conversation this week, the #digped chat happens on the first Friday of every month at Noon Eastern. If you have suggestions for future topics, feel free to add them to the comments on this entry or tweet them to @Jessifer, @slamteacher, or @hybridped.

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