Short writing assignment #1: Media: love and/or hate

Do you find media a distraction and a nuisance, or helpful and inspiring?

Ok, trick question: there are so many kinds of media that this question is impossible to answer. But in your short writing assignment, your job is to become a little bit reflective and analytic about it. Give us a sense of what your best experiences with media are, what you dislike most, and why.

An easy starting point might be to think about how you like or dislike different kinds of media. (Maybe you love the ESPN app, but you hate Facebook.)

Getting a little bit more analytic, what do the media experiences that you love have in common? What do your favorite media do for you? (Maybe they connect you to friends and family? Introduce you to other parts of the world? Give you a great diversion from stressful days?) Or what do your least favorite media do to you? (Bore you? Make you anxious? Distract you too much of the time?)

The goal here is to start to identify the bigger categories of things we use media for—and the things that make media exposure unpleasant.

The readings from Week 1 are about this a little bit—they both talk about what media can do for us (tell stories, give George Orwell an outlet for his ideas and thoughts), and how they disrupt our lives (as Clay Shirky describes, by always asking for our attention).

Your short writing assignment should be 500 words, written in good prose with complete sentences, punctuation, etc. Bring a hard copy with you to section next week, and be ready for a conversation with your classmates.