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  1. Richard, I know and enjoy your scholarship in composition, and have done so for a long time; I was speaking more to the way you’ve recently begun to engage concerns about technology and writing, and certainly wasn’t trying to come across as adversarial — I apologize for that mistake, which was entirely mine. Seeing you work things out in public on your blog has been engaging and provocative, and I was interested that your audience shifted a bit for this post, though your concerns remained largely the same. My intent was only to point out that people in Computers & Writing (at the conference, on the techrhet listserv, in Kairos) have been engaging many of the same concerns that you’ve engaged (about Twitter, about what you characterize as “the end of privacy” in a rhetorical move that strikes me as having some similarities to what William Deresiewicz does in “The End of Solitude,” about the role of technology in your meditations on “Culture and Anarchy 2.0”), and was hoping to reciprocate your generosity in publishing your reflections by pointing toward some places where other folks have addressed similar concerns. Honestly, no ill-will intended; just trying to say, basically, “Hey, I think you’re doing really smart stuff, and I’d love to see you give a talk at C&W or engage some of the scholarship at Kairos.”

    • Mike:

      No foul. Tone is hard to establish in brief stretches. And I appreciate both your candor and your supportive response. The post you’ve commented on is just the catalogue copy from the conference: I was hoping that it might draw some of the attendees to t2c prior to my talk.

      Figuring out how to reach out to other readers is also a question of tone–and I’m trying to find something that works, but this involves making it up as I go along. One part of exploring the issues raised by self-branding involves diving into self-marketing, self-promotion, self-distribution. The venues you suggest deliver audiences: that’s the genuine beauty and appeal of peer-reviewed publication. But, although it wasn’t a fully formed idea when I began trying my hand at online writing sporadically two years ago, once I shifted over to t2c 15 months ago, I realized that part of this project was my own version of striking out for the territories. One too many tussles over moving from submission to print, one too many pieces that took three years or more to see the light of day, and a deep sense that I had stopped growing as a writer and a thinker during the six years I served as department chair–these experiences swirled into something like a conviction that I would go all in with this project and ride it as long as I was learning from it.

      Regarding your last two sentences–from your keyboard to the conference organizers’ ears!


  2. If you haven’t done so already, you might try checking out journals like Computers and Composition and Kairos, where scholars have been investigating these sorts of concerns for a while now, as well as conferences like Computers and Writing. I will confess to a certain degree of irritation with the way the MLA’s recent “Ooh! Computers! Shiny!” engagement with the so-called digital humanities fails to acknowledge or investigate composition’s deep and substantial prior body of work on the topic.

    • Mike,

      Not sure why the announcement of my giving a talk to private school administrators triggered this response. A little research will show that I’m hardly a newcomer to the field of composition. People are busy: they invite outside speakers in to help them think about issues that have an impact on their daily lives. And mostly folks like to invite people in who can make the issues clear to them and who don’t treat them like idiots. It’s that last bit that’s not so common in the academy, regardless of whether one affiliates with the MLA, CCCC, or Computers and Comp.

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