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Update Culture and the Afterlife of Digital Writing

by John R. Gallagher

Paperback Price $27.95
Ebook Price $22.95
30-day ebook rental price $10.00

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“Not enough scholarship has attended to the large gap of how writers respond to and learn from audience reception, and this book takes an approach that sharpens our understanding and puts us on a path for similar scholarship. . . . Update Culture and the Afterlife of Digital Writing makes a valuable contribution by developing our understanding of delivery and circulation in particular digital environments.”
Daniel Keller, The Ohio State University

“An outstanding work that will serve as an important contribution to the field of digital rhetoric and to writing studies more generally.”
Douglas Eyman, George Mason University


Update Culture and the Afterlife of Digital Writing explores “neglected circulatory writing processes” to better understand why and how digital writers compose, revise, and deliver arguments that undergo sometimes constant revision. John R. Gallagher also looks at how digital writers respond to comments, develop a brand, and evolve their arguments—all post-publication.

With the advent of easy-to-use websites, ordinary people have become internet writers, disseminating their texts to large audiences. Social media sites enable writers’ audiences to communicate back to them, instantly and often. Even professional writers work within interfaces that place comments adjacent to their text, privileging the audience’s voice. Thus, writers face the prospect of attending to their writing after they deliver their initial arguments. Update Culture and the Afterlife of Digital Writing describes the conditions that encourage “published” texts to be revisited. It demonstrates—through forty case studies of Amazon reviewers, redditors, and established journalists—how writers consider the timing, attention, and management of their writing under these ever-evolving conditions.

Online culture, from social media to blog posts, requires a responsiveness to readers that is rarely duplicated in print and requires writers to consistently reread, edit, and update texts, a process often invisible to readers. This book takes questions of circulation online and shows, via interviews with both writers and participatory audience members, that writing studies must contend with writing’s afterlife. It will be of interest to researchers, scholars, and students of writing studies and the fields of rhetoric, communication, education, technical communication, digital writing, and social media, as well as all content creators interested in learning how to create more effective posts, comments, replies, and reviews.

New Books Network: Language

John R. Gallagher is assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is author of Update Culture and the Afterlife of Digital Writing and coeditor of Explanation Points: Publishing in Rhetoric and Composition, and his work has been published in Computers and Composition, Enculturation, Rhetoric Review, Technical Communication Quarterly, Transformations, and Written Communication.

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  • Paperback Price: $27.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-973-2
  • Ebook Price: $22.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $10.00
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-974-9
  • Publication Month: February
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Pages: 202
  • Illustrations: 10
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by John R. Gallagher
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-973-2
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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