The perception around technology and writing is that it has created a gap in our ability to write effectively and professionally. Acronyms are used regularly. Slang terms and short form is typical. Articles and posts are written to be easily digested and even skimmed without missing the major points.
A recent survey by Advanced Placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) found that 78 percent of respondents agree that the use of digital technologies encourages student creativity and personal expression. Whether it’s kids in classrooms or adults looking to further their writing abilities, technology can foster creative writing and improve overall skills. Here’s how:
Technology allows for more frequency in writing and the ability to practice writing in different formats. Consider how many different places there are to write online, and how often it can be done. In 2015, it was estimated that 2 million blog posts are written daily. One can be limited to 140 characters on Twitter but some of the most influential quotes in recent history have been made via tweet.
Tweets are, technically, written word. Time compiled a list back in March of the 10 most popular tweets of all time. One of them, three words: “Four more years.” Penned by President Barack Obama, this tweet garnered over 838,000 retweets. Think about the online dialogue going on around this monumental moment. The words associated with the reelection of the first black president. There was certainly a lot of writing happening and in many different ways.
People are learning the art of professional writing through research articles, cover letters, and posts through reputable media, but also the art of informal language and adjusting tone and voice to meet certain standards.
Social networks provide writers with a broad audience, wide reach, and the ability to collaborate with so many others. The same AP and NWP study found that of those surveyed, 79 percent agree that social media encourages greater collaboration. There are nearly 2 billion people to connect with through social networks. Those looking to practice their skills can bounce ideas off billions of others from different backgrounds, social classes, cultures and more.
The ability to share writing with so many others and through countless outlets provides writers with feedback they might not receive otherwise. Whether it’s an industry expert providing more context through a comment, or parents responding with stories of their own to parenting blogs, each viewpoint shared gives the author more to work with and even allows creative juices to flow in the commenters.
Personal blogs give authors an outlet for personal expression and a place to freely share their thoughts and ideas. Some blogs are written for parents, others for technology gurus, even still, there are those used strictly as a sounding board or information drop. It’s a place built by the writer for the writer. If they’re lucky and their goal is to have their blog become a place that others visit, they’ll hone their skills in a particular subject and become a thought leader. They’ll be asked to use their unique voice to promote products, services, and talk about subjects relevant to readers.
If the blog is an online repository, they’ll read through their posts and find their mistakes, be able to fix them for the next post and continually grow. They’ll look back at the things they used to find important enough to write about and see how they’ve grown since then. A blog is truly a place for writers to express themselves in whatever way works for them and practice skills they might not be able to in everyday jobs.
Technology doesn’t have to be seen as a hinderance to a writer’s ability. It has given traditionally non-writers the chance to write in ways that is appealing to so many out there, and allows professional writers to be seen in places they never thought possible. Social networks like Instagram and Facebook have become mini-blogging sites where thousands of users follow others based on their daily quips. Widespread technology has grown the reach of traditional print and put topics in the hands of people who can make a difference. Technology does foster creative writing and offers a place for every type of writing to be seen.