Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hack Social Media to Write Something New

Recently through the #CLMOOC, I was excited to find some ideas that utilize social media in a different way. In essence you hack what's there to make something new! 

Most kids have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or some other social media account and most kids have a cell phone with text messages. Why not take that content and create something new? 

The goal is to take first lines and to create poetry. You can set the rules or kids can- but the idea is go with first lines from messages they have received. No advertisements or memes can be used, you must pull from the first lines- although you can pick and choose from the first line of each text message or post. Students can list the lines in the order they find them or they can list multiple lines and play around with the order. 
Obviously appropriate content is also a must when setting the guidelines. 
Take it up a notch and challenge them to create haiku from first lines or try some flash fiction. The possibilities are endless. 

Here is what I did from first lines in my Facebook Feed. The rules I set for myself include: 
1. Use first lines only from people I knew.
2. No advertisements, commercial posts, memes or video/picture captions could be used- only status posts. 
3. I could pick part of the first line
4. I could scroll through rather than choose one post right after the other, but once I selected a line I could only go forward, not backward in my feed.
5. I could add punctuation where I like to help make meaning. 

Here's my FB hacked poem: 

Just trying something different.
I’m at the point in life where
Really wish certain people would disappear off the face of the earth.
You could own the Earth and, still,
It's crazy to think that tomorrow
there needs to be more heart warming stories-
Leotard, tights, high heels, Starbucks.....everything a girl needs!
I am coming out of my 'shell'
You can only do what makes you happy. 

Students could do this with text messages or Twitter first lines as well! What if you chose first lines from various novels? Not only would it be neat to make something new, but the line of a story might catch their interest and they commit to reading the book! 

If you have younger students who are not into social media or you fear that some students just can't handle this (e.g. inappropriate content), choose first lines from your feed and allow them time to play and re-arrange- I bet they will be intrigued since it came from your Facebook or text messages and that adds motivation.  This method also gives students opportunity to work with something rather than trying to create from nothing. Staring at a blank page with the intent to write can be frustrating- but providing them content to hack and re-arrange gives students something to work with. Imagine the excitement as students read aloud what they created and aha moments when we discover that so many differences exist using the same ideas.

For other writing ideas using Social Media see:Mini Writing Assignments- Twitter Essay

How are you using social media to inspire writing in the classroom?