Issues in writing for social media: an open co-inquiry

Event Details

Issues in writing for social media: an open co-inquiry

Time: August 21, 2020 from 2pm to 4pm
Location: Zoom (anywhere)
Website or Map: http://Link to follow
Event Type: amed, writers', group, free, coinquiry
Organized By: Bob MacKenzie
Latest Activity: Aug 20

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Event Description

How can we write most effectively for social media?

Social media (noun): websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.  (Oxford Languages)

Co-inquiry (noun): Collective inquiry into something (Wiktionary)

Your Invitation:  If anything, the Covid-19 pandemic may have accentuated a trend to communicate, publicise and self-publish via social media. You are welcome to join other co-inquirers – ranging from novices to veterans - in an open conversation about what might be involved in writing for social media.  No expert or guru positions adopted: all open sharing of experiences, hopes and fears in a spirit of co-inquiry. 

Some social media platformsPlatforms include general social media (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +), microblogging (e.g. Twitter, Tumblr), photo sharing (e.g. Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest), video sharing (e.g. YouTube, Facebook Live, Periscope, Vimeo) and other forms of interactive media. 

Some issues we might explore:  What are the commonalities and differences between writing for social media and writing for more ‘traditional’ print-based forms of communicating?  What are the pros and cons of writing for social media?  Why do we do it?  Under what circumstances is it most suitable?  What factors do we need to take into consideration?  What resources do we need?  Where can we seek support?  What relevant developments are on or just over the horizon?

Implications for practice?  Whilst we’ll be considering the implications of writing for social media for our own respective practices, we’ll also be helping AMED to develop relevant initiatives.

Our process:  For our co-inquiry, we’ll adopt a broadly Open Space approach for no more than two hours, with a comfort break somewhere in the middle.  (Face-to-face AMED Writer’ Group (AWG) sessions typically run over 3 hours, but we are finding that 2 hours at a time seem to be optimum in sustaining energy for live online sessions.)   With your permission, we’ll record the session to aid subsequent reflection and action.

Cost:  free

How to book your place:

Please indicate in the RSVP box at the top right-hand side of this AWG Events page by 12 noon on Thursday 20 August (earlier if possible) if you are planning to join us, or send me a brief e-mail. We’ll then send you the Zoom link a few days before 21 August, along with any other relevant information.

We do hope you’ll be able to join in this highly topical, interactive conversation. 

Best wishes.  Bob bob@amed.org.uk

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Comment by Ruth Elizabeth Slater on August 20, 2020 at 12:17

Thanks, Bob, really looking forward to this session.

Comment by Bob MacKenzie on August 20, 2020 at 8:17

In case it helps to get us going, I’ve attached a few notes/inquiry questions.

Social media – a mixed blessing for writers?  How are we experiencing the impact of social media on our writing lives?  Social media evoke different responses concerning opportunities, threats and the exercise of power.  They make different demands upon different people in different contexts. For some, who Susan Greenberg (2018) calls ‘digital romantics’, they represent a (relatively) new, liberating form of (semi-)open access information-sharing and distribution, unbridled freedom, enhanced connection, spontaneity, autonomy, power, speed and opportunity.  For others, they fuel a misplaced ‘anti-editing rhetoric’ (Greenberg again).  They represent clamour and ‘noise’, a shrinking space for careful, longer-form writing, an invasion of privacy, a form of oppression, a nuisance, a potential carelessness.  They can introduce deliberate confusion or malpractice in thinking and communicating, and make a sometimes-unwelcome demand upon people’s time and attention, causing stress, anxiety or other forms of distress.  One way or another, however, they are here to stay, and their applications are likely to become even more sophisticated and pervasive.  So how do we learn to live and write with social media?

Some inquiry questions:  If social media encompass both dark and light characteristics, do they privilege some people and contexts more than others? What skills, qualities and decisions do they require of us?  How do social media affect the ways we communicate generally, write, and what we write?  How are we affected by social media?  How do we negotiate their potential dangers, and optimise their undoubted benefits when utilised appropriately?  How do we make use of them wisely and well?  How do they relate to other forms of communication?  What developments and trends in social media can we foresee, and what are their implications for the wider business of writing?  What note should AMED take of our conversations today?  Lots of questions.

o   What social media do we read, write/post and generally pay attention to?

o   When, how and why do we do this?’

o   How do they make us feel when posting or receiving posts?

o   What general reflections do we have about the opportunities and threats that social media present, and about how they might influence the way we write, speak and act?

Answers on a postcard, please :).  Best wishes.  Bob

Comment by Bob MacKenzie on August 17, 2020 at 4:30

Thank you, Ruth.  Your thoughts are very helpful.  Perhaps I can put my ambivalence towards social media into the frame, and I'm also wondering if/ how we write differently in our posts, and how we respond to the posts of a variety of to others in/from a variety of contexts?  I''m looking forward to our conversations on Friday.  Best wishes.  Bob

Comment by Ruth Elizabeth Slater on August 17, 2020 at 1:33

I have become more interested in and a more frequent participant in social media since the lockdown. I belong to several closed groups on Facebook and have recently left one.  I frequently tweet about groups and causes I am involved with.  The experience has been a mixture of anxiety, irritation, joy, humour and connectedness. 

Recently, I have begun to interrogate my motives and my responses to the online behaviours of others.  Social media is an interesting and important phenomenon if used well and I am looking forward to exploring this with others in our Zoom space.

I put these thoughts out in advance of the session.  Kind regards

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