Monday, June 15, 2015

Discussion Post: CHAT and Everyday Writing

In this discussion, I want you each to choose a genre that you've written recently (within the past couple months or so) and describe your writing in terms of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT).

To understand CHAT, see these readings from Week 1:
 Click "read more" to see an example of how I apply CHAT to blogging.


Here's an example of applying CHAT to your writing activity:

I recently began using Tumblr and WordPress, and here are some things I've noticed in terms of CHAT:
  1. Production: Compared to writing in Microsoft Word, producing a blog post is fairly "easy" because I tend use simpler language and shorter sentences.  But...
  2. Activity: When writing a blog post, I'm also doing non-writing activities such as reading Wikipedia to check my facts, or I'm drinking coffee to keep myself awake (I mean focused...)  So sometimes I get distracted on Wikipedia when I really need to just finish my blog post.  But I get so distracted because...
  3. Distribution: Unlike MS Word documents, blog posts are distributed to a public audience.  But not everyone will see what I write.  My reach is limited by...
  4. Ecology: Google search and Facebook algorithms really affect how many people will see what I've posted.  People searching for topics like "writing" won't see my posts unless other websites are linking to mine - my friends won't see my stuff unless Facebook puts my status update on their walls.  These physical components create the ecology of my writing.  But I can overcome these limitations if...
  5. Reception: I need people to like what I've written.  Because if enough people have a positive reception, they might...
  6. Socialization: A good reception may socialize people to "like" or reblog what I've posted.  Or I might also change the ways that people see the world, or maybe encourage someone to go for a hike to see those butterflies I wrote about...
  7. Representation:  People represent blog articles as being a specific type of writing, as writing that is fairly short and that provides a space for comments.  So if I write a twelve-page blog article with no "like" or "reblog" buttons, people won't share that as blog post...but then, publishers won't see it as a research paper, either, because it's posted online....

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