Digital Ecology of Writing


In the article ‘Coordinating Constant Invention: Social Media’s Role in Distributed Work’, Stacey Pigg described the role of social media in innovative writing practices. Symbolic analysts “who work outside traditional organizational structures” exploiting social media as a tool to explore the areas of interest and to guide to reach at the areas of interest. Social media create a common platform where people come and represent social norms, writers become part of it, learn here and implement the gains in their writing. These gathering of people results in blend of distributed knowledge which helps writers to invent text, develop identities and form career channels. Piggs’s observation on Dave’s writing project and analysis elucidated the role of social media. It helped Dave to find the social context for his writing, a network to which he became identical member and to understand the complexity of the network to release his writing through a possible route. To persist in the set community, he used search tool to find relevant contributors so he can exchange his content and can link to their work. Understanding of context and being in relationship with other writers, helped him to learn the optimum time to release his work and these successful activities open new door to extend the relationship.

It can be inferred that you need different skills to launce yourself on social media platform and to be there. People use social media and reflect different interest. Basically, it increases diversity of an idea, hence results are more vigorous, but you should be able to take into account that diversity to get the advantage of this platform. As we have read in Cooper’s ‘Ecology of Writing’ knowing your audience is important, social media helps in that. It reduces the distance between writers and readers, hence you can analyses more audience at a time, but same time it increases complexity of social coordination developed. Social practices are continuously changing, you should be fast enough to chase the rapid shifts in interest. Pigg stated that Dave did not create a new network, instead he became part of existing network, because he found that there was a diverse community, he wanted to be a part of, had already in existence. If you don’t get a match with your work, whether you wait for turns or create a new community, both are limited by unpredicted and dynamically changing social practices.

Diversity and distance of social media keep evolving and offering improved platform to get together, at the cost of scope for deception. Lack of legitimacy on social media reminds me ‘Figures are false or deceptive figures’. Several factors are associated with legitimacy of social media, hence it is difficult to determine but easy to deceive others. Increasing interest in social media vulnerating the integrity of online writing practices. Writers who heavily depends on social media are prone to manipulate the content to raise the social status and to disperse their reach. These activities may also affect the writing practices of others. In fact, you may trap your writing practices in already existed deceptive network.

If you want to know more about Social media deceptions, please follow the link below:


Chameleons of the Craft: Ever Changing Style and Environments, and Jobs

Katie’s post made me think of one of my most favorite texts I’ve read since starting college: Richard Lanham’s Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information (which Amazon just told me I bought September 2015… yikes, but all things considered, Michelle can attest that it definitely affected the way I responded to my classmates in Advanced Comp over the summer), which then, of course, lead to me reading Pigg’s piece and still drawing connections to the importance of stylistic thinking.


Pigg’s article states: “this article begins to trace how social media and digital participatory writing environments are intertwined with the inventive practices of sym-bolic analysts who work outside traditional organizational structures.” Which to me highly connects to the ideas I’ve grappled with from when Lanham states “Add all these differences up and we get a complex and detailed reenactment of the oscillation between the flat and fixed expressive field of printed text and the fluid animated world of three-dimensional human behavior. This oscillation becomes a fundamental one: the difference between an oral and a literate culture” (109). And when he later follows it up with discussion of oral cultures being interactive and easily lost. What I’ve continuously thought about is how the incorporation of the “symbolic” and the “interactive”/”participatory” into our written, linguistic, “literate” communication of ideas fits into the way we communicate ideas and (more recently because of conversations with some of my coworkers) how it contributes to the ethics of what we’re writing. This is unless the symbolic idea Pigg is trying to discuss is based in letters are a place for symbolic words on screen/page….. cuz if that’s it I’m not in the mood to buy it right now.

This, again, all contributes to the ways in which we get our information and how we decide what to consume. Katie spoke specifically to click-bait and the way we consume that kind of information. Which (in the case of click-bait) is strictly chosen based on placement and choosing to present information in a specific way (which the presentation of information because of the abundance of information and the lack of time for consistent attention is exactly what’s in Lanham’s book).

Pigg’s article then goes into questioning the ways in which these kinds of issues affect professional writing. So I guess we”re being forced back into the actually relevant topic of this class and not off in the happy theoretical land of thinking about everything I’ve learned thus far in college.

Luckily for me, Pigg continues to talk about the way the physical body and the way it’s interacting with its environments is a part of how culture influences the way we write. So I will take a moment to appreciate that watching a person write in a coffee shop and say that it contributes to their writing is the same as me sitting on my couch cross-legged writing this blog post right now.


All in all… I think Pigg is trying to tell us that we need to calm down and be adaptive. Like, everything is always going to be changing, so we can’t keep doing it the same way. Whether that’s where we are writing physically, or how we are writing on different platforms. We’re going to have to get used to changing, because otherwise we’re pretty screwed and won’t be able to keep being writers. But maybe that’s wrong and I should’ve read closer.

Establishing Legitimacy in An Ever Changing Platform

Katie Kelly

Pigg’s observations of a writing process in relation to the use of social media can be likened to one trying to start their own business. They must find a market base for their product, in this case their knowledge, writing, and contribution. Once that is found they must establish the connections needed to provide their product. Pigg demonstrates this with Dave’s collection of fellow fathers on twitter and blogs along with supporting material throughout the rest of the internet. Then they must notify their potential market of the availability of their product, such as Dave did in the network he built and establishing “Fatherhood Fridays”. And finally they must find a way to maintain their current product with potential and simultaneous proliferation and growth. How very interesting that these new roles that have been established outside the classic employment and organization paradigm still seem to follow similar processes and structures to those of independent performers.

In a lot of ways, I call to question the credibility of these new roles that online, freelancing writers hold. It may be a given that if one writes about a topic, they are decently informed and educated in said topic. However, thanks to all the identity issues that come with an online presence (the stealing of, the impersonating of, the lack there of, etc.), it is a valid fear that the knowledge and contributions made by others could potentially be ill-founded and incorrect. It was clear from the description of Dave building his dad-blog that a lot of effort went into to legitimizing his role as a father who can blog. Part of that legitimacy comes from having a child, I’m assuming. But in the case that Dave for some reason wanted to be a dad-blogger without actually having a child, the same effort could be put forth into faking it. Pigg mentions that Dave spent time learning the norms of the online dad community, which could be done with or without a child for a potential dad-blogger. In this case, his research and information used to create blog posts would be a compilation of other sources about being a father, which may not be incorrect information per say. But is it truly new knowledge contributed to the community when their only source of writing inspiration is that of existing knowledge and what they can infer from that existing knowledge?

This is the problem with credibility when discussing online platforms for sharing knowledge and writing and other forms of collaborations. If it were a textbook, the knowledge would be heavily vetted prior to use the textbook in a classroom. However, there is unlimited access to many online platforms of collaboration with little to no vetting by the platform itself. It is up to the readers to properly verify the legitimacy of the posting, which may or may not happen. Much like a business, these writers with online postings will on perpetuate on one of two methods, neither of which rely on validation of credentials. Either a large enough following that gains something from the postings (information, entertainment, etc.) or just a commitment to continuously putting forth one’s ideas.

While I value the use of online platforms for collaboration, there are many problems that need to be overcome so that writers with valid knowledge to add to the massive pool of the internet don’t have to be questioned. Fake news and clickbait is a plenty and construing how we collaborate. Our information must be valid for it to be useful and built upon.