Test blog # 2
Posted by danalivesay
In “The Rhetoric of Reach: Preparing Students for Technical Communication in the age of Social Media,” authors Elise Hurley and Amy Hea contend that “technical communication instructors are well-suited to teach social media in our classrooms…” (2014, p. 56). I agree and believe students can benefits from the technical communicators expertise; especially since “know your audience” is the mantra of both. But why should they do it when they environments almost clash? Social media writing and technical communication are different “art” forms with different subjects, styles and intentions.
Social media writing is often emotional not persuasive, opinionated not factual, and careless instead of careful. Social media sells – either oneself or a product. The design of social media communication is opposite that of technical communications’ thoughtfully created artifacts. Technical communication is grounded in scientific, instructional, or persuasive prose; professionalism is guaranteed. Technical communication aims to make complicated information clear. Social media writing is small: small spaces, small terms, and smaller sentences. It’s killing the elegance of writing.
In the 2015 article: “Are Social Media making us Stupid?” Liz Swan and Louis Golberg quote Sherry Turkle as stating “a fluency with texting and tweeting is commonly correlated with a dearth of skills in face-to-face interactions…and eroding the traditional divide between speaking and writing” (p. 8). And there’s a danger with “being out there.” Write “wrong” in an instructional document or report and the error can be quickly corrected. Do it online and it can kill a career or stall one yet to start. Reputations matter and one Google search and your boss is deciding if you’re their next best or least likely. Fortunately, this can be avoided and everyone has advice. Check out Time Magazine’s 10 Social Media Blunders That Cost a Millennial a Job – or Worse, or CIO with 6 Social Media Mistakes That Will Kill Your Career, or the mocking by Shurver.com of those who said a bit too much in 8 Careers Destroyed by Social Media.
Social media intersects professional communication with collaboration and content sharing, and reach and crowd-sourcing are good heuristics for defining an active audience, and helping creator and consumer interact. Yes, technical communication instructors can help students improve their social media writing skills, but should it be their job? Perhaps in a visual rhetoric class, but in today’s social media climate wouldn’t a business or marketing professor do as well? What about an English Composition instructor? Or Miss Manners.
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