August 2008 Archives

The Power Of The Pen

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Just Another Thought

Creative writing seems to be an art form that a brave few would dare venture into. According to a "Super Hero" shop, the writer could probably rank next to Superman. Check out this video from MSNBC:

Don't Confuse Me, Please


EL 236--Writing For The Internet
Bauer & Jerz, Writing Effective E-Mail

The clock is ticking for me to go out into the real world and knowing proper e-mail etiquette is essential. When I read this webpage, I understood how exactly communication is the key to this fast paced world. One of the examples that really hit home to me was the last example follow the number 10:

A colleague once asked me for help, and then almost immediately sent a follow-up informing me she had solved the problem on her own.

But before reading her second message, I replied at length to the first. Once I learned that there was no need for any reply, I worried that my response would seem pompous, so I followed up with a quick apology:

"Should have paid closer attention to my e-mail."

What I meant to say was "[I] should have looked more carefully at my [list of incoming] e-mail [before replying]," but I could tell from my colleague's terse reply that she had interpreted it as if I was criticizing her.

If I hadn't responded so quickly to the first message, I would have saved myself the time I spent writing a long answer to an obsolete question. If I hadn't responded so quickly to the second message, I might not have alienated the person I had been so eager to help.

A simple misunderstanding had caused an enormous rift. And within the professional and acedemic world, the last thing you need is a misunderstanding. These tips seem to go back to the Lewin article. One has to know the rules and stick to them (Even though the technological age encourage some of us to break them). Many people make the most simple mistakes that could cost them there job or there wonderful internship. These skills would definitely improve how, in spite of our comfort, we write properly. Maddie's blog made me understand that people can do a significant amount of damage even if they didn't "want to purposely offend anyone or drop some huge bomb." That usually what happens. I think in order to prevent such travesties, if you are confused on exactly how to word a message...slow down and read out loud. If you are in a rush do it anyway, it would give you less time to re-explain it. I pose this question to you:

Does e-mail really bolster such confusion?

Co-Creators of Chaos


EL 232--Writing of the Internet

Schackner, Freedom of speech redefined by blogs

Student conduct codes and computer use policies are applicable to blogging, experts say, and it's probably not hard to make a compelling case for why posting a video of your roommate having sex is a bad idea.

I remember when this article first hit the Post-Gazette my freshman year. Other than the lovely picture, the article really hit home about how even a small campus like Seton Hill can gain attention on a global front. We should never forget that our blogs are around for the whole world to see. I remember how some random person had a comment for me and my blog. I've also seen rants on blogs that had the capability of getting people into a lot of trouble. Different bloggers, sane or not, are "co-creators" of the internet, which means their sick ideas influence what make up the information online. I know it is a 1st amendment right to say and write whatever, but as I saw in another blog "your right to swing your fist, ends with my nose."

I Saw The Best Minds


EL 232-- Writing For The Internet
Lewin, Informal Style of Electronic Messages is Showing Up in Schoolwork, Study Finds

I want to start by saying I love the New York Times, despite what the recent politicians are saying about it. Reading this article reminds me of the opeining line I read in Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl":

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...

Excessive text messaging and e-mailing is basically turning my generation in to mad, language chopping typist. O.K. I'm guilty of this sometimes, but being unable to separate professional or academic work from social rants could create a state of panic. Don't believe me? There was a section in the article that really stood out to me.

“I think in the future, capitalization will disappear,” said Professor Sterling, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. In fact, he said, when his teenage son asked what the presence of the capital letter added to what the period at the end of the sentence signified, he had no answer.

What! A professor's son did not know why we capitalize the first letter of the sentence. It is a point of simplicity and comfort that we are quickly becoming used to. We are now relying on our technology to think for us in some respects.

I could remember back in middle school how I could not wait to get to a computer to sent an e-mail (I did not have a personal computer until I graduated high school), making sure I did not make a mistake. But one think I noticed was that it took too long if I wrote correctly. So I started to write in the infamous short hand that the article addresses.

The moral of this story...
Teens are lazy. Once they jump into higher education or professional roles, one of two things will happen: A rude awakening or a wake.

There was also an interesting fact at the end of the article. A lot of the teens who write outside of school are black and/or female. Different life experiences could result in different writing experiences, in the print and digital world. One thing good that could come out of the text message era is that everyone now has information at the tip of their fingers, but how it is used is a different story.