Before enrolling in this Multimedia Writing course, I was both intimidated and fascinated by the world of blogging. The writing style, the collaboration of image and text, the use of hyperlinks and HTML, and the idea that my audience would extend beyond a professor’s red pen, were aspects that intimidated me as a student and a writer. However, these particular features that one finds in a blog and not in an average research paper can make writers feel more engaged in their topic and essentially see multimedia writing as an outlet fostering creativity and originality.
By including text, image, and hyperlinks in blog posts, you are actively participating with the medium of multimedia and encouraging your reader to look beyond the simple text and see all aspects of the post. Externally linking writing to another form of media makes a post powerful and effective in a way that cannot be done with a short response paper. Multimedia writing forces you to creatively express your writing in the most unique way possible. Even if that means bolding or italicizing a phrase here and there. If you don’t believe text can change a reader’s mind, refer to Steve Jobs’ somewhat successful career that began at his value for typography…Furthermore, multimedia writing can foster one’s research skill since readers are instantly given hyperlinks and outside sources that support the text. A reader may never find every source you present at the end of a research paper, but he/she will want to click on the video you are highlighting, or the full newspaper article you are responding to in a matter of seconds. The research process has changed from using the monotonous MLA style to a call-to-action style that engages both the writer and the reader. Therefore, multimedia’s interactive character is an advantage for all.
However, multimedia writing is difficult to dive into headfirst. What is it about the process that is so challenging? (And dare I ask, why would we have an entire course on this type of writing?) Testing the waters requires you to publicly express your ideas to anyone in the cyberworld—and this is intimidating. When I tell my friends about this writing class and that our assignments are in the form of blog posts, most respond, “I’m not that creative. I wouldn’t do well in that class.” This is the challenge that multimedia writing faces. Multimedia writing is accessible, but it isn’t necessarily user friendly unless you have the desire to participate in it or are forced to use it.(And we are talking more than your Facebook page). The style of writing seems to weed out those who do not feel confident about their writing from the start, since features like html coding and photo editing are taking over what used to be a blank piece of paper.
Fortunately, this Standord d. school professor, Tina Seeling, has the perfect answer to those who are discouraged from the creative process that is embedded within the world of multimedia writing: “We are creating our lives every day and yet we don’t think of it as being “creative” in the traditional sense. However, if you don’t look at your life as a creative act then you’re not going to view yourself as someone who needs to invent it in a really thoughtful and interesting way.” Amen. We should not be intimated by this form of communication. We are aware that it is a process that requires more thought processes than simple library research. But multimedia writing is that thoughtful and interesting way that any writer can use to grow as a creative and successful individual no matter their background in writing. As students of 105M, we are testaments to this fact. If we look back on our first meme post to our final video project, we can pat ourselves on the back for our maturation as multimedia writers. I created an image with some scarce text that probably no one will ever see, and ten weeks later produced a YouTube video with text, image, and tags that generated 3,000 views. We have the medium at our fingertips, and by using every dimension of it, we will grow as thoughtful, engaged, and innovative writers. As I wrap up this final reflection I will refer back to my favorite assignment of the class. In tackling multimedia writing, we must “Be Bold,” make mistakes, and keep writing!