Broadly, my research considers literate activity as situated within social, cultural and technological ecologies and asks how technologies influence writers, writing processes, and identities. I consider the ways that individuals use specific writing technologies and how they integrate these technologies within their daily lives. Influenced by research on “literate lives in the information age” (Hawisher & Selfe, 2002) and other situated studies of literate practice, (Prior, 1998; Prior & Shipka, 2002; Casanave, 2002; Roozen, 2009) my research explores how individuals use writing technologies and adapt them to their needs, often in ways not intended by the designers. This work contributes to an understanding of writing in digital environments and its cultural implications, as well as the implications that this literate activity has for the teaching of writing.
My most recent work applies these questions to writing in digital environments, and takes up Nancy Baym’s (2009) call for research that considers “how online experiences are integrated into lives increasingly lived through multiple means of mediation” (p. 130). My book project, tentatively titled Writing on the Social Network: Identity, Literacy, and Digital Ecologies, expands models of literacy ecologies to include writing technologies, specifically social media. Through qualitative case studies of undergraduate and graduate students using social network sites within their daily literacy practices, I demonstrate how these individuals use these technologies for their own purposes and integrate them within their own literacy practices. This study demonstrates the important role social network sites play in the complex literate lives of graduate and undergraduate students.
My research considers questions of literacy, identity, and technology, and I investigate the ways in which writers navigate rhetorical situations in digital spaces. As individuals increasingly live and document their lives online, they revise notions of audience, authorship, and privacy in ways that have implications for language, communication, and the teaching of writing. In exploring the ways that individuals write in digital environments through situated, qualitative research, my work contributes to the understanding of these changes for culture and education.