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Elevator Pitch for the New Media Age: Short-Form Writing and Speaking

Course enrollment will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

Tweets, Facebook posts, e-mails, texts, instant messages, news alerts, ads: ours is the age of short-form communication. This course offers an introduction to different styles and genres of short-form verbal and non-verbal communication to help make you a more persuasive, concise, and creative writer and speaker. We will examine historical and current uses of the short form across a variety of fields ranging from politics, philosophy, poetry, art, to business, advertisement, and new media, and explore its innovative possibilities for our new media age.

This course will combine practical work with theoretical explorations. We begin by analyzing and discussing examples of short-form messages from different fields and media, such as: samples of slogans and short-messages from recent election campaigns; slogans and messages used in protests, especially the Occupy movement and the recent Twitter and Facebook revolutions; commercials and brands; philosophical aphoristic writing (Voltaire, Nietzsche, Emerson); Fluxus and conceptual art; Graffiti and street art; poetry (haiku, Emily Dickinson, Electronic Disturbance Theatre's "Transborder Immigrant Tool;" ipoems); flash fiction; newscasts; recent YouTube videos gone "viral." We will couple our analyses with brief theoretical readings about new media, rhetoric, and persuasion. Using strategies and techniques we discover in our analyses, we then move on to practicing "the elevator pitch" on social, personal, and political issues that matter to us both in writing and orally. Students will develop essential writing, speaking, and interpretation skills required at a college level and an understanding of the art of short-form communication that they can use in numerous contexts.

This course will give students the tools to analyze and discuss verbal and non-verbal messages from a critical, cultural, personal, technical, historical, and ethical perspective. It will teach them to express themselves in a concise, clear, and cogent way; a critical skill in our fast-paced world. By the end of the course, students will be able not only to identify techniques and strategies of persuasion involved in short-form communication, but also to use them creatively to craft concise messages in various formats.

This course has no prerequisites and provides a unique skill-building opportunity for all college-bound students.

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