Texas A&M University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 2608-2615
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
Comprehensive, critical social media skills are more and more important to global citizenship. Social media has played a key role in multiple political and social actions over the past few years, including the response to the 2009 Iranian Presidential Election, the Egyptian uprising in 2011, and the recent response to police misconduct through video recording and sharing in the United States. Additionally, social media has become an important aspect of vocational skills. In the United States, job postings requiring social media skills rose 87% from 2011 to 2012.(1) For universities interested in liberal arts and career training, composition classes need to incorporate social media in both their pedagogical techniques and their content. I aim contextualize why composition classes need to develop social media content and show how specific assignments using social media as both tool and content can increase student’s critical engagement with both composition and social media.

In order for students to create effective compositions, students must be able to identify the rhetorical situation of the genre in which they are creating. Ruiz-Madrid & Villanueva (2010) explain that genre awareness is a key component in the development of digital literacy. Conversely, rhetoric and genre studies can be broadened by looking at digital form and contexts.(2) In Blog, Twitter, and Facebook assignments, students can not only read and analyze these specific digital genres, but they can participate in their creation and response. Whether or not Facebook or Twitter is the face of future digital genres, using these specific programs allow for both practical and theoretical applications and analysis. In this paper, I introduce three composition assignments, thematic course blogs, microfiction through Twitter, and identity presentation in Facebook. Along with presenting the assignment parameters, I also discuss each assignment’s possible pedagogical utility and how each expands critical literacy.

(1) Lombardi, Abby. “Hiring for Social Media Skills Begins 2012 at New Highs” Wanted Analytics. Wanted Technologies Corporation, 16 Feb. 2012. Web. Dec. 2012.
(2) Luzón, María José, María Noelia Ruiz-Madrid, and María Luisa Villanueva. Digital Genres, New Literacies and Autonomy in Language Learning. Cambridge: Newcastle. 2010. Print.
Composition, social media, digital literacy, genre studies.