The Case for Retweets

J Brentlinger

Social Media

It’s a common complaint: stupid status updaters and incessant retweeters, filling our feeds (and by extension, our minds) with useless prattle, hoping beyond hope to get attention for themselves. I speak of people who unabashedly beg retweets for the seemingly silliest messages, claiming they’ll get some sort of reward from their mom or their friend or their partner…but only if this message gets 5k retweets! It’s a fact of life on social media, especially Twitter. Twitter’s a form of publicity,

Teaching Twitter

Pete Kunze

Pedagogy, Social Media, Tools

Last week, #BlackLivesMatter launched its new website here. “Not a Moment, but a Movement,” the main page declares, underscoring the ongoing efforts to criticize racial injustice, especially in regards to police brutality and mass incarceration. Though the Black Lives Matter movement began as a hashtag on Twitter, it has blossomed into the public conversation on race, and its message has spread across social media.

How Do YOU Use Twitter?

J Brentlinger

Pedagogy, Social Media, Tools

How do you use Twitter? I’ll bet lots of ways. Maybe you’re creative. People use Twitter to show off what they can say in 140 characters. Or maybe you make your own news feed, without any stigma attached to what you like. You really can. People follow NPR, Taylor Swift, and Pope Francis all at once, just to see what each of them says about the news of the day. But you might want to be part of a larger

What Color is the Twitter Bird?

Axel Bohmann

Social Media

Graffiti of a black Twitter bird outlined in white on a black background.

Do a Google image search for terms like ‘tweeting’ or ‘people using Twitter’ and look through the results. Notice anything? Unless Google personalizes your search way differently from mine (and anyone I’ve asked), you’ll see a lot of images of the following type: a phone or tablet displaying some form of Twitter client, held by a hand or pair of hands. Very often, the perspective of the image asks us to imagine that hand as our own.

Cultural + Digital Literacies

Rhiannon Goad

Social Media

Black and white photo with a teacher standing behind four children and typrewriter like computer terminals.

Over the course of this semester, I’m working with DWRL instructors to develop a series of lesson plans to help students explore the intersection of race and activism on Twitter. As these lesson plans take shape, I began to think of ways learning about Twitter could help our students develop their communication skills. In other words, I’ve been thinking of the ways in which cultural literacy overlaps with digital literacy.

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#AllLivesMatter: The Lives of a Hashtag

Pete Kunze

Social Media

Two features appear to characterize Tweets: the 140-character composition and the use of hashtags. Hashtags allow users a range of possibilities: expressing tone and emotion, connecting to like-minded individuals, participating in larger conversations. Their popularity has transcended Twitter, and we now see them employed on other social media platforms, in advertisements, and even in everyday parlance.

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Introducing Our Fall 2015 Research Priorities: Activist Twitter and Race

DWRL Staff

Social Media

Sillhoeutte of a person walking a dog while looking at a phone. The person and the dog are shadows against a reddish brick wall.

The Research Priority for Social Media in 2015 is ‘Activist Twitter and Race’. Twitter has emerged as a significant site for activism and activist rhetorics, and it has been an especially important nexus of Black activism. Hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter, #Ferguson, #IfIDieInPoliceCustody, and #ICantBreathe, among others, have drawn attention to stories and social inequities that traditional news outlets fail to address.

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Introducing Our Research Areas: Social Media

DWRL Staff

Social Media

Image showing a graffiti version of the Facebook "Like" Button, with one like

In recent years, social media websites have become increasingly popular venues for rhetorical exchange as well as social and political engagement. They have also attracted the attention of teachers and researchers interested in writing in digital environments.