Rhetoric of (American) Digital Publishing : A Brief Introduction

If you are like most Americans,  the first place you are likely to hear of a breaking news story is through your Facebook feed, Twitter, or the news section of your iPhone, all of which have been curated for you. It wasn’t always this way.

Moving quickly and without apology, the internet is forcing writing to do things that it has never had to do before, in large part ( I would argue ) as a response to the demand for new ways of subsidizing writing projects (journalism, books, essays, blogs, and so forth). Advertising is not so simple anymore, and if users are forced to pay for a particular piece of content, chances are they will be able to find it for free elsewhere.

This is a very exciting time for digital publishing and writing in general, which is undergoing major, near-constant transformations. The internet is affecting the ways we read, write, and process information online in a huge way – but it’s hard to see what’s happening when we’re immersed in the process in real time.

As William Gibson once quipped, “The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.” This semester, our class will be exploring the future of writing as we are currently experiencing it.



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