My name is Mike and I am in the MA in English program. I’m taking this course as an elective and to fulfill a requirement for my Advanced Certificate in Teaching Writing. I currently work as a writing tutor at the Grant Campus Writing Studio at Suffolk Community College. I’ve also taught English courses at Long Island Business Institute and Dowling College (before it closed under the cloud of suspicion). I write “worn in” short stories and novels about weirdos giving 110% and read a lot of American fiction. My favorite authors are William Gibson and Raymond Carver. I also love Jack Reacher novels. Those are the basics.
I got my first email address in 1994 when I was a freshman at the University of Maryland- College Park. I accessed my email through a UNIX shell using Pine. Sometimes I even used a dial-up modem and remember when downloading a picture from someone would take an hour or more, and even then there was no guarantee that it would work. I remember Google’s first block letter logo. Websites were basic, and most had porn. Obviously, a lot has changed since then. One thing that has not, however, is understanding the importance of writing on the Internet.
This is not to say that writing is just text based. I used to be a snob and not use emojis in my emails or texts. Many misunderstandings later taught me that wouldn’t fly. We live in an age when our writing does most of our interaction for us now; things like voice inflection and body language can’t be taken for granted. And while we wait for the invention of the universally agreed upon sarcasm font, we have to make due with the language abilities we have. I take a mostly descriptivist view of language insofar as that to try to pin down too many rules for language in an ever-changing medium like the Internet is to kill it, the way a butterfly under glass is basically a very pretty corpse. So I grow and learn to keep up as best I can.
I think that language can solve just about any problem. I’m that kind of optimist. To do this, though, we have to be good at using language. We have to be thoughtful and purposeful. Since the Internet has a long memory, we have to make sure that whatever memories we build are things we won’t be ashamed of coming back to bite us in the ass later. If I can go my whole life without having a “Chinese hoax” moment where an old post can be used to embarrass me later, I’ll consider myself a success.