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 Writing versus "Real" Writing

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TheDirector



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PostSubject: Writing versus "Real" Writing   Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:04 pm

Someone posted this to a list for writing teachers:

http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/301/press_release.asp

It a Pew Research study about student writing. In a nutshell, they find that students do a lot of emailing, text messaging, online chat, even personal writing, but they don't consider any of that "writing." The stuff they do for school is "real" writing.

To me, it's all writing, and it would be good if we could get it all connected together. If anything, the school writing is more like pretend writing or practice writing, and less real.

This has almost nothing to do with science fiction, but you are doing a lot of writing for this class. Is this "real" writing? What do you folks think about this?

John Edlund
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Andrea F



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PostSubject: Re: Writing versus "Real" Writing   Sun Apr 27, 2008 10:27 pm

In my view, text messaging, instant messaging and emails don't count as "real" writing. Pretend writing is a bit strong; more like general communication writing. "How have you been?" "What time are we meeting?" We send these messages and then don't think a second more upon them.

I see "real" writing as requiring deeper thought. Essays, stories, journals; I see planning, revisions, structure(even if it is just paragraph structure). "Real" writing requires practice, skill, and creativity if the situation calls for it.

Maybe, in the long run, it just comes down to your audience. If you are writing to a single person, and your message is not an important, thought provoking one, then it is simply written dialogue. When you are writing to a larger audience, or no particular audience at all, then one naturally goes toward the formal "real" writing standards. I don't know...this is just what comes to mind.
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TheDirector



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PostSubject: Re: Writing versus "Real" Writing   Sun Apr 27, 2008 10:35 pm

Andrea,

Those are good thoughts. You are right to talk about audience, and maybe we should add purpose. But even when you are writing a quick text message, don't you think about who you are writing to, and how they will feel about your message, and don't you adjust a little for different people?

John Edlund
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Andrea F



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PostSubject: Re: Writing versus "Real" Writing   Sun Apr 27, 2008 10:58 pm

I see your point. I guess I'm just use to seeing more of a distinction between writing and conversation. If you include texts and instant messages as "writing", then there must be at least 2 very distinct types of writing. Maybe it just comes down to formal versus informal writing. There is formal and informal in speaking/conversation aswell, but the distinction seems to be less direct. Word choice may change, but the basic method of thinking and then speaking stays the same. (Speaches are in a different catagory in my mind since they are often written down and critiqued before given, classifying them in my mind as writing.)

The benefit of writing is our ability to take down our thoughts, tweek them, perfect them to our likeing, and then share them; an option we dont have with spoken conversation. In this way, just as a speech seems like a reading of something written, instant messaging/texting seems like writing what we would normally speak.

Maybe you couldn't tell, but I'm not much of a writer. Math and reading is more my thing. Maybe that there is why I consider "real" writing requiring more effort than our day to day writing.
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Wind

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PostSubject: Re: Writing versus "Real" Writing   Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:00 pm

My super mega ultimate pet peeve, currently, is when people use ellipses in place of regular punctuation. Also, I find it a turn on when girls actually spell out "you." I know, I know - it's sad in way more ways than one.

"hey wind... whats up... yeah dnt kno wen the beach things going down... ill call u up if i find out anymore... ttyl... shauna" (not an actual quote, but, regrettably, not completely fabricated either)

That sort of written coherence + a girl = stay far, far away.

- for me anyway. Maybe other guys go for that kind of thing.

"# 73% of teens say their personal electronic communications (email, IM, text messaging) have no impact on the writing they do for school, and 77% said they have no impact on the writing they do for themselves."

Ouch. I say anytime you write anything at all is an opportunity to improve your writing. Something as simple as a one word answer to a text or instant message can be significant if you approach the opportunity correctly. People who write like Shauna above (if not teaching themselves to deliberately commit and ignore blatant writing errors) are wasting their time.
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Wind

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PostSubject: Re: Writing versus "Real" Writing   Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:29 pm

Andrea F wrote:
I see "real" writing as requiring deeper thought. Essays, stories, journals; I see planning, revisions, structure(even if it is just paragraph structure). "Real" writing requires practice, skill, and creativity if the situation calls for it.

The benefit of writing is our ability to take down our thoughts, tweek them, perfect them to our likeing, and then share them; an option we dont have with spoken conversation. In this way, just as a speech seems like a reading of something written, instant messaging/texting seems like writing what we would normally speak.

You're arguing that the only difference between "real" writing and "informal" writing is time. Based on that, I'm inclined to disagree with you - *everything* we write is "real" writing. You can't dismiss anything you write as "not really writing" based on the two seconds or so you had to type it out and hit "Send." The mental processes we go through in instant messaging, texts, and emails - audience, purpose, expected reactions, preemptive rhetorical tweaking - are identical to the processes we go through for "real" writing (whether we realize it or not).

I'm constantly improving the way I write. I spell perfectly on instant messages and use proper grammar form in texts and emails while thinking deeply about who I'm writing to and how I want them to perceive the message. Let me say this: this practice has helped me *immensely* for timed essays (particularly) and take-home essays alike. Chiseling in little things like spelling out "you" instead of using "u" really does make the overall writing process a little easier when it comes to "really" writing. I can confidently state that Improving your writing on the microscopic level (texts, IMs, emails) will help out tons in the long run.

I'll admit, however, that I'm not *perfect* in casual writing. Here's a typical AIM conversation:

Wind: hey
Friend: hey
Wind: dude, i have homework today
Friend: NO WAY
Wind: HELL YEAH I HAVE HOMEWORK TODAY
Friend: a lot?
Wind: a lot.
Friend: do less homework
Wind: and fail class? okay
Friend: to relax, you know?
Wind: right.

Yeah. I forget about capitalization and only use things like periods for tonic emphasis. Hey - different mediums, different techniques.
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aitokunaga



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PostSubject: Re: Writing versus "Real" Writing   Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:53 pm

I read a book in elementary school that was made up of just letters between two fictional characters. There was a sequel that instead of letters used emails and instant messaging to tell the story.

With this in mind, I guess I have to say that IM-ing and texting are "real" writing in my opinion. They just involve a different style of writing. I'll even go as far as to suggest that perhaps "u" and "plz" and the rest of the words used in IMs and texts are part of a different language than that used in traditional "real" writing. Of course I include emoticons in this new language Very Happy.

Incidentally, the books are by Ann M. Martin and Paula Danziger, and are titled "P.S. Longer Letter Later" and "Snail Mail No More." And yes, they're girl books.
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Multi

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PostSubject: Re: Writing versus "Real" Writing   Tue May 20, 2008 11:17 pm

+times i ned 2 rit n fst tlk o/erwise i cn't rit V wht /e prof is say

sometimes I just have very short things to say: brb, afk, wth, lol, rofl, gl hf, cya, fyi, btw, tinstaafl, gg, pwn

othrwse i jst n't wan2 b un der stud. mks m fel deevee us + i lke ut

y n't u join uz, Wind? Fink dis tlk iz in dik itiv of moe-rons? I Fink itz hill air eeee uz! + itz fun 2 try 2 un der stan

bafically tat's it. u say words esaculy how u want nd n't lit sum1 else tell u how 2 spoke!

Quote :
We don't need not education! We don't need no thought control!
-Pink Floyd, The Wall

I definitely agree with Andrea F'; Time spent on the writing is the only thing that determines "real" writing (it took time to find all of those symbols).



. . ... . ......:;|V||||;:...... . ... .
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djhull



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PostSubject: Re: Writing versus "Real" Writing   Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:45 pm

I also think its all writing. I see the new text messaging and email as a kind of new form of writing and as it spreads and more people get to know it, it will become more common. The "black tie" school writing is more appropriate in formal situations. (ie the workplace). Friendly electronic communications can be made quicker and simpler if you know that the person your writing to will not mind the shorthand.

You are getting your point across in different ways. Even if the grammar isn't perfect, nine times out of ten, the reader understands what you were trying to say.
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Denise



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PostSubject: Re: Writing versus "Real" Writing   Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:48 am

"# 73% of teens say their personal electronic communications (email, IM, text messaging) have no impact on the writing they do for school, and 77% said they have no impact on the writing they do for themselves."


I think that everyday writing sort of programs you to your style of writing in the professional/formal occasions. Take for example, I know a person who texts like he talks. Incoherent. Okay, maybe that was a little exaggerated because I understand him when he talks...it's just..."ghetto". Does that make sense? And in meetings and other such formal situations, he can't help but slip into his colloquial speech. I really do think it's because he is so used to texting and talking in "ghetto" fashion that it's affecting his professional self as well.
This doesn't apply to everyone...I'm sure that there are many people who are able to pull this off...
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