The end is near: final project syllabus

by lizzschumer

This is your chance to shine, folks. Think about what we discussed regarding scandals last week, and the importance we’ve placed on social media and your online presence, throughout the semester. This is your chance to showcase what you’ve learned and what you already know about how to live online, as a writer. You have been building an online persona all semester through your blogs, and now I want you to prove you know your stuff (which you do). Take this chance to defend your reputation or demonstrate that you know how to do so. Build a framework. Show you’ve got what it takes to hold your ground, in the Wild West we call the Internet.

Final Project: Myself, Online

Due: In class April 29

Format: Hard copy, 1.5 spacing, Times New Roman (or similar), 12 pt. font, 1-inch margins





Number of pages

Length: As needed; minimum 1,000 words (points will be deducted for shorter papers).

Point value: 100 points

Description (from syllabus)

In this digital age, writers are often their own products or “brands” as much as their work speaks for itself. The days of the elusive magazine editor or cabin-dwelling recluse writer are behind us, and writers must be accountable not only for their work, but their lives and what their persona does to complement or compete with their work. For this project, you will think about the impact your “online life” has on your (real or fictional) life as a digital writer, and what a “digital scandal” would do to that image

You will have two options:

  1. You may curate a page of your class web page to introduce yourself as a writer, using your aggregated social media presences to introduce your persona, as a writer, a student and a citizen of the world. You must explain in a paper to be handed in how these feeds work together to create your “brand,” and it should be immediately apparent what that brand is.
  2. You may respond, on a separate section of your class blog and in a paper to be handed in, to a (PG-13 rated) scandal that has threatened your image as a writer. Research how other digital writers have dealt with (or failed to deal with) digital PR threats and formulate your own targeted, immediately apparent response to your own threat. Points will be given for creativity and efficacy of your campaign, as well as demonstrated understanding of the importance of maintaining and protecting an online image.

You will hand in a paper describing what you have done online. This will be considered your “thesis” for this project, and will carry significant weight for your grade. Make sure you provide a link to the page you created.

  • 25 points: Clarity and efficacy of message. Since this is a writing course and we have spent a lot of time discussing how to clearly get your point across, whichever option you choose must be clear and readable not only for the instructor, but anyone who may find your message. Image control is a very public thing, and you must demonstrate that you can convince me, as well as the (largely hypothetical) public that your reputation remains intact. Points will be given for how much thought you have put into constructing and/or protecting your online persona, as well as how well you can describe it. Tell me what your message or “mantra” is and why you chose it, using the methods we learned in class.
  • 25 points: Spelling, grammar and syntax. Your message is only as effective as its conveyance, so the way you write it is important. Pay attention to your “voice,” as well. In both options, it is important that you “sound like you,” so make sure you are writing like yourself, even when writing about yourself. Points will be given for proper sentence structure, spelling and clarity, as well as the efficacy of your
  • 50 points: Demonstrated awareness of the way social media works, both as a tool to convey and destroy an online persona. Describe why you use it the way you do (for option 1) as well as demonstrate that usage on your page. For option 2, give a clear, step-by-step description of why and how social media is going to work and against you in your hypothetical scandal and reaction plan, as well as what you are going to do, using what platforms. This should be written out as a plan of attack, including any press releases you may send out, the message you plan to construct and why it will work, what social media channels you plan to use and how often, the timeline for your response and the hypothetical reach you intend to get. You may also (and this is an opportunity for extra credit) compare yourself to a celebrity or online figure who has had a similar “scandal” or media crisis and discuss how you would handle your situation better, or if they did well, why you chose to model your own strategy after theirs.

Late papers will not be accepted. Extra credit may be given for exceptional work, so this is your chance to boost your grade if you’re nervous about that. Sloppy work will be penalized and outstanding effort will be recognized and rewarded accordingly.

Read: For some inspiration this week, read about how one start-up, Buffer, responded to a social media crisis.