Facebook, MySpace?, and various journaling communities all privilege personal narrative as a powerful means to construct political, entrepreneurial, and entertainment personalities. Our students, however, have repeatedly learned that their stories are not important. Throughout their educational careers they have been given impersonal, prescriptive writing assignments that punish them for incorrect grammar. Their conception of academic writing is limited to the rigidly constructed five-paragraph essay, something that spelled success in high school writing assignments and on the SAT writing examination. So, while presidential candidates make much of the opportunity to connect with voters through personal stories that make them seem more "real" or "down to earth," and affluent teens and young adults keep blogs that offer their opinions on everything from fashion to sex to politics, our community college students are silenced in this larger cultural milieu, believing that their stories and their lives are unimportant. Their online presence is a means of everyday, survival communication that happens on the go, in short bursts as they connect with others in their community. They do not see this online communication as a connection to the larger world of writing.
By allowing students to use blogs in their academic writing community, the learn how to express themselves to an immeasurable audience and will in turn learn to privilege their own voice as it appeals to others. One disadvantage to using a media like blogging in the classroom is the absence of emphasis on correct spelling and grammar usage. The use of ‘text speak’ as spilled over in to the world of academic writing because of the high volume that it is used in students’ ever day lives.
Josh Keller’s “Studies Explore Whether the Internet Makes Students Better Writers”