Profile of a Digital Writer

You write online to accomplish certain kinds of work—to present information, to make arguments, to reply to what others have said, and son on. But in doing so, you also present a version of yourself—what people sometimes call an online “presence”.

In the last few weeks of this course, I’d like you to think about the sort of presence you want to have online. To some degree, this is a question of what platforms you choose to post on (or not), and how often. But it’s also a matter of voice and tone, of how you present yourself both to readers you know and to those who might stumble upon you for various reasons (or through pure happenstance).

As a way to start thinking about this, I’d like you to write a brief profile of a digital writer you admire. This does not have to be a well-known author (although it could be); you might choose a friend or classmate whose posts or tweets you enjoy and regularly follow. The only requirements are that you choose someone (a) whose work you know, that you can quote with admiration, and (b) who you can talk to.

Once you’ve identified someone you’d like to write about, contact them and set up a time to talk. (If this needs to be done through Skype or email, that’s okay, but face to face is usually best.) Prepare a brief set of questions (the guidelines Fenton and Lee offer on pp. 16–17are excellent), and have a phone or other device on  hand to record your conversation (or be ready to take notes).

You’ll then have two sets of data to draw on in writing your profile: your subject’s actual writing, and your conversation with him or her. Write a brief post in which you present the writer to us and explain why you find them interesting.

(Incidentally, if there is a need to keep the identity of your subject confidential, that’s fine.)

Deadlines: Identify and contact your subject by Monday, 4/24; write your profile by Thursday, 4/27.

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Author: Joe Harris

I teach composition, creative nonfiction, and digital writing at the University of Delaware.

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