Hacking the cool: The shape of writing culture in the space of New Media

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4 Scopus citations


Beginning with a problematic assignment in a "New Media Writing" class, this article demonstrates, first, the significant, perhaps irreconcilable differences in the writing/reading environments of print as opposed to New Media: the interiority, on one hand, of the individual text implied in the "shape" of narratives and other elaborated verbal performances and, on the other hand, the mythic exteriority of networked, information space and the market logic of its "attention economy." These differences pose a challenge not only to the traditional practices of academic, literary, and professional discourse communities, but to what this article terms "writing culture"-that is, popular cultural practices and assumptions conditioned by the procedures and experience of textual elaboration. Examining student hypertexts, key critical works on New Media, web sites, and literary theory and history, this article suggests a solution to this challenge, arguing that the future development of online writing genres ultimately cannot depend on imposing written shapes on network space. Instead, a close analysis of a hoax from the auction site, eBay, suggests how parody can constitute a lens through which the Web's own generic conventions filter the critical/creative consciousness that has long epitomized writing culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-442
Number of pages22
JournalComputers and Composition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 26 2007


  • Cool
  • Elaborationism
  • Filtering
  • Hypertext
  • Narrative
  • New Media
  • Parody
  • Shape
  • Space
  • Writing culture


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