Blog Post

The Digital Writing Makerthon: a Virtual Flash Mob

The Digital Writing Makerthon: a Virtual Flash Mob
A virtual flash mob unleashes upon the web (or into a single space on the web) a somewhat coordinated, somewhat chaotic flurry. All too often the work of the web looks nothing like the web, forcing dynamic text into static containers, community into hierarchical forums, and rich experiences into flat content management systems. The classrooms of the web are too often contained, given no room for improvisation, experimentation, failure, and discovery. We are interested, rather, in creating events that push the boundaries of what is possible online, relying on the rich ecosystem of digital space to create things impromptu and unexpected. The democracy of the web is not something it hands to us a priori but something we must take, forcefully if necessary.
Beginning November 15 at 11:59PM Eastern, Hybrid Pedagogy, in association with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Continuing Studies, will host a Digital Writing Makerthon. A playful experiment like MOOC MOOC and DigiWriMo, the Makerthon aims to create a text-image-sound hypertext novel written in 48 hours by multiple authors. More than a simple text novel, this novel project will invite all forms of digital media: text, video, audio, animation, graphics, tweets, computer code, etc. As well, the novel will exist in multiple places at once. While the narrative will be primarily housed in one document, writers may choose to use hyperlinks within that document to lead readers willy-nilly across the landscape of the Internet.
Last year during Digital Writing Month, hundreds of writers collaborated to write a novel in one day. This year, we're raising the stakes, allowing more than just text to fill the page. In true maker fashion, we want story to give way to craft. We're calling it a makertext -- a narrative made into a living artifact.
Digital writing and storytelling is at the center of many online experiments -- from DS106 to Phonar to the journal Hybrid Pedagogy itself. In his recent article, Sean writes, "Storytelling has changed. Stories are no longer told to audiences, but by audiences." Some would say that digital environments, along with the inherently social and collaborative capabilities of platforms like Google Docs and Twitter, have changed the nature of writing, in ways both good and bad, permanently. The Digital Writing Makerthon seeks to explore what happens when writers actively engage with narrative as it is both enabled and deconstructed by digital tools.
The Makerthon will be held from November 15 at 11:59PM EST to November 17 at 11:59PM EST. (Visit World Time Buddy to find out what time we'll be starting in your time zone.) Writers-artists-makers are encouraged to join for as much time as they can commit during the weekend -- be that 15 minutes or 48 hours. 
The Makerthon is a collective act of creativity -- a massive artistic collaboration -- but it is also a demonstration, a gathering place for doers, makers, writers, and thinkers. For more information, and to sign up, visit, and follow @Jessifer and @Slamteacher on Twitter.



No comments