Style in Micro-Messages

See NotesOnLongakerOnStyle

We're going to look at style in public micro-messenges, such as tweets, GIFs, Instagram images, or tumblr posts. We'll use to locate, collect, and comment on the rhetorical artifacts of interest.

As with all projects for this class, don't try to do this in one sitting. Understanding and applying the ideas we're working with benefits from setting things up and then making multiple passes at the project, with hours or a day between.Use twenty or thirty minutes here and there over the week, returning to your work to reconsider and revise your notes into micro-analyses over time.

Getting Set Up

1. Sign up for an account on, and work with the help stories and tutorials to learn how to use it. Browse the site to see how people use it. Try setting up a practice story, collecting some sources, organizing them, commenting on them ... For practice sessions, you can save your work to Storify without publishing it to the world.

Note: You don't have to sign up for Twitter or Instagram or FB to do this. You can access tweets and Instagram images without an account. I would suggest avoiding FB as FB posts aren't always micro-messages. Stick with tweets, GIFs, images, tumblr posts. If you are unfamiliar with any of these, 5 minutes googling the term will get you the background.

We're using Storify because it provides search, collection, organization, and annotation in one window. It also provides side notes and collaborative work, so we can (0r I can) annotate your annotations. Storify doesn't take too long to learn, but set aside some time to practice (or play) with it.

2. Read L & M, chap 5: Style. You don't need to memorize the terms and figures of style, but you'll need to be familiar enough with the material that
You can practice using the features of style by identifying them in, say, texts and stories you're reading, or online texts such as tweets, sms texts, web pages …

3. Set up a Story for your project on Storify. After you have started to collect micro-messages, Publish your story, then copy and paste the link to the story to your wiki name page.

Locating the URL: From your My Stories page, mouse over the story image, then click on the View icon. That will take you to the page view of the story. Copy and paster the url of the story into your wiki page.

The url will look something like this:

The Project

We should see elements of style in micro-message. Even further, because micro-messages are small, we'll see elements of style that allow compression and compaction.

In this pass, we're looking for as many different schemes and tropes as we can find. We're trying to get an overall sense of the range of stylistic moves that are possible, and what they look like when they appear in micro-messages. From another angle, we're using a list of well-recognized figures to interpret how rhetors

4. Collect at least 20 messages. Tweets, GIFs, Instagrams. Go for a mix of modes: text alone, image alone, and text and image together.

To collect messages, search in Storify for specific terms or names, using just the term or a # tag, or both. Record your search collections in a note in Storify.

Deadline: Fri 30 Oct

This is where you should be by Fri 30 Oct, end of day. When you have your collection started, publish it, and copy and paste the url into your wiki name page. I'll start looking in on Friday and Saturday to see everyone is doing.

5. Review your collected messages and make notes in Storify. You should make notes on

Diction: register. Start your analysis with a consideration of register.

The use of figures and tropes. Longaker has a set of lists, pp 144 - 156. Some may be familiar, others less so. Become familiar with the definitions so you can skim the lists to locate possibles. You'll learn the definitions and how the figures are used by applying them to the messages you've collected.

Make multiple passes through your collection of messages to develop your notes at this point.

With each pass, add observations and notes. Move back and forth between your collection and the text, reviewing figures and making notes on those possible figures.

To add text areas, use the Insert menu in the upper-left corner, next to the Undo Redo buttons. A new paragraph will create a new text area.

Deadline: class-time Tues 3 Nov

This is where you should be by class time Tuesday. In class, we'll review some notes, see what else we can see, supplement, compare ...

after 3 Nov

6. Now that you have gathered notes on each item in your collection, and now that we have had a chance to compare notes, develop those notes into an informal but thorough micro-analysis of each message.

There is often always more going on that you might see at first!

Include in your analysis
Note: An analysis will use the rhetorical terms we're working with, both from our last work with web sites and our current work with style. If you're not using the rhetorical terms of style, you're not doing a rhetorical analyses. Illustration: these are descriptions of the rhetorical artifacts: At this point, turn towards rhetorical analyses: what argument is the micro-message making, and how is the rhetor using stylistic moves to make that argument.

developing a larger analysis: for 10 Nov

7. Once you have a close, thorough analysis of each message, re-organize the messages to reveal a larger consideration. Re-order the images and your analyses on Storify, and use headings and text introductions under your headings, to illustrate or argue a point about how you see visual and textual style being used in micro-messages.

There is very likely an argument latent in your selection and analyses. Bring it out by re-arranging the material and adding your notes to create, basically, a visual-textual essay. It doesn't need to be a grand, world-shattering point. It might be an overall observation or summation of what you have found. But create that overview by organizing and by using headings and text notes to illustrate the point.
Here's a technique to kick-start analysis: Re-phrase your description in terms of argument. "A gif that expresses the power of knowledge" might become "The GIF argues that knowledge is power by .... " Start to use the rhetorical terms will focus your attention on a rhetorical analysis.

In-Class Students

Have a pretty complete and well-honed analysis ready for Tuesday. In class, we'll lo0k each of them over individually for strengths and possible points of development. You won't be presenting. Instead, you and I will review what you have and work from there.

After our in-class review, a final revision will be due Thu 12 Nov, midnight.

On-Line Students

Please have your work on this project ready for review and comment by Thu 12 Nov, midnight.

Style Collections for 2015

See NotesOnLongakerOnStyle

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