October 14, 2004

Writing for the Internet - What do you think?

Recently, while scanning everyone's weblogs for new content to comment on, I came across an entry in Tim's blog that describes his feelings on the WFTI course itself. It got me to thinking -- what are my feelings on the course? On the things we've learned about? For that matter, what are my other peers' feelings?

So go ahead and comment! Even if you aren't in the class now and took it during a previous semester, please feel free to give me/us your input. What are your feelings on WFTI?

WFTI - My Feelings

When I arrived in my first class on my very first day of classes at Seton Hill University, I had no idea what to expect.

That class was Dr. Jerz' Writing for the Internet course, and now that I think about it, my initial experiences in this class have had a big effect on me since then.

For example: I have always been an "artistic" writer. I like my writing to be long, thorough, thoughtful, and intense. I hate trying to cut back on writing, as this class has required me to do... And I'm a Creative Writing major, so in other words WFTI has forced me to go against the core values that my favorite hobby and career path are built upon.

Do I resent this? Well, I'll admit that I did at first. But now, I'm beginning to (slowly) understand how writing can still carry a great weight and have an impact even when it isn't full of elegant language and excessive detail. Simple writing is just as thought-provoking as complex writing.

Take this entry of mine on how a dot-com'er got stuck working at McDonald's, for instance. I consider the language that I wrote with to be some of the simplest on my entire weblog, and yet notice how this simple writing actually got me excited and thinking about my personal beliefs in the comments section.

Another example of simple yet effective writing is found here, on Valerie's weblog. She recently posted this entry about how she is thinking of changing her major... The writing style is so easy and fun to read that it almost sounds like what would be said in a conversation. This entry, too, however, provoked long and thoughtful responses from others in the SHU blogging community.

Aside from weblogs, there have been other opportunities for improving my writing skills in this course.

Interactive fiction (discussed in great detail on Moira's blog), something that I knew nothing about before this class, has become one of my newest passions, and I am really enjoying learning about the methods used to program and write for IF games. My classmates have provided me with a lot of help, and Dr. Jerz has also supported my exploration of this genre of writing... Thanks to all of this, I have found a new niche in my favorite hobby of writing that I will probably continue to work with long after I complete this course.

Hypertext fiction (discussed on Vicki's blog), another genre that just came out of nowhere for me, also seems interesting, and although I have not done any in-depth work with it like I have with IF, I still plan on learning at least a little more about it in order to make my skills and experience well-rounded (something that is almost essential for any good writer).

Wikis (discussed on Mike's blog) are another topic like the former two that I had no experience with prior to this class... I don't find them nearly as fascinating as IF, but like HF, it would still be helpful for me to know what they are and how they work.

There are, of course, plenty of other topics that we've discussed in class, but these are the most profound in my opinon.

I look forward to learning more about writing for the internet in this course, because it is undeniable that the internet is playing a growing role in our lives and our world, and it's best to get a head start on polishing my internet-related abilities.

What about you? What have you learned in WFTI? How do you feel about it? Has it challenged you, or helped you grow in any way? What did you like the most about it? What did you like the least about it?

Posted by ChrisU at October 14, 2004 12:57 AM

I love WFTI. Dr. Jerz keeps me interested. He's not boring and there's always something fun and new to learn about. I wrote an entry about how I never knew there was a certain way to write for the internet....now I do, and boy am I glad. There are so many things, like IF and Wikis I would have never known about if I hadn't taken this class.

Posted by: storm at October 14, 2004 11:38 PM

I, like you Chris, am an "artistic" blogger. I take pride in my ability to take a simple statement and expand it into something much more. I'm not a big fan on cutting back, but I am learning (plus, writing for the yearbook last year helped).

I also had never blogged, but always had wanted to. WFTI has opened up that "new world" for me. Hopefully I will continue blogging long after the course is over. Who knows, someday I might be writing a blogging text! (Although I wouldn't bet on it...)

Posted by: Vanessa at October 14, 2004 06:52 PM

I thought the group presentations were nice, and I got some good ideas for my group's newsletter. I especially liked the Transcending Madness weblog, it was a really impressive way to archive issues of their newsletter and provide extra content.

As for the amount of comments on people's weblogs, I think that it takes time for people to discover your weblog initially, and you also need to update regularly (meaning once or twice a week, at least) with content that isn't just fulfilling class requirements... Content that is interesting, funny, and/or controversial.

As was mentioned in one of our textbooks, the reward you get out of your weblog is usually at least somewhat related to the amount of effort you put into it.

If you want more people to comment on your weblog, comment on their's first and look at their interests. If a lot of people seem to enjoy discussing movies or politics or whatever, try making an entry on your own weblog that reveals some startling or worthwhile information about that topic. Try to find one that you share a common interest in with your classmates and peers, so that you can enjoy it too.

Of course, some people don't want that, and prefer to keep their weblogs mostly private. That's fine... But I think that having other people interact with you on your blog is one of the best aspects of this type of website.

Posted by: ChrisU at October 14, 2004 12:24 PM

Hey Chris. Writing for the internet has changed me in a few facets as far as my writing is concerned. I enjoy the class but sometimes I feel like the blogs are never ending. The best part about WFTI is that you get to learn so much about your classmates through their blogs. I have enjoyed voicing my opinions on my blog but it does feel a little dissapointing when no one comments on my entries. I can't really complain too much in this area because I have recieved some substantial feedback at times. The thing that I liked the least about the class would have to be the web page setups that took sooooooo long for me. Its all good now. Did you enjoy the group presentations? Did you learn anything neW?

Posted by: Leslie at October 14, 2004 11:41 AM
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