Digital Writing
A Guide to Writing for Social Media and the Web
  • Publication Date: March 22, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554815678 / 1554815673
  • 160 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Digital Writing

A Guide to Writing for Social Media and the Web

  • Publication Date: March 22, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554815678 / 1554815673
  • 160 pages; 5½" x 8½"

This concise guidebook offers a rhetorical framework for writing and analyzing content for social media and the web. In the age of disinformation and hyper-targeted digital advertising, writers and teachers of writing must be prepared to delve into the digital world with a critical and strategic perspective. This book offers an interdisciplinary approach to writing scenarios, with insights from classical and contemporary rhetoric, the philosophy of technology, and digital media theory. Special emphases are also placed on preparing for writing, marketing, and communications careers in the digital space, and on ethical issues related to digital and social media.


In Digital Writing, Dan Lawrence skillfully blends ancient rhetorical concepts and contemporary philosophical thought with the pragmatic theories and best practices of the digital age. In this concise, accessible text, Lawrence speaks not only to students who aspire to writing careers, but also to teachers whose pedagogical development necessitates a nuanced understanding of the theories and machinations that underpin the digital world. Lawrence’s experience as a digital practitioner, his skill as a teacher, and the sophistication of his reflections permeate the book and promise to enrich the field of digital writing.” — Karla Saari Kitalong, Professor Emerita, Michigan Technological University

“Dan Lawrence sets out to do some impossible things in Digital Writing: to use ancient techniques against modern technologies, and to apply ancient principles to a society that has lost touch with them. Lawrence uses a tried and true historical framework to provide solutions to problems which have become societal and for which we have precious few such helpful guides. Lawrence urges the reader to do the one thing advertisers, marketers, and tech companies do not want them to do, something it is harder and harder to do with each passing microsecond: to stop and think. Digital Writing will open a lot of eyes to the subtle arts of persuasion employed at every turn of the average person’s daily digital life, and will arm them with the resources to be more intentional in their participation and more sophisticated in their response.” — Andrew McLuhan, author of written matter (Revelore Press, 2021)


Chapter 1: Introduction to Digital Writing

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 What Is Digital Writing?
  • 1.3 Rhetorical Framework for Digital Writing
  • 1.4 Rhetoric, Audience, and Technology
  • 1.5 Rhetoric in Application
    • 1.5.1 Ethos
    • 1.5.2 Pathos
    • 1.5.3 Logos
  • 1.6 Procedural Rhetoric
  • 1.7 Careers in Digital Writing
  • 1.8 How to Use this Text
  • 1.9 Exercises

Chapter 2: Writing for Social Media

  • 2.1 The Digital Writing Process
  • 2.2 Rhetoric and Social Media
  • 2.3 Seven Key Skills for a Digital Writer
  • 2.4 Emulation
  • 2.5 Interactivity
  • 2.6 House of Language: The Language Game
  • 2.7 What Is Social Media?
  • 2.8 Benefits of Social Media
  • 2.9 Social Media in Business
  • 2.10 Global Social Media Usage
  • 2.11 Major Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
    • 2.11.1 Facebook
    • 2.11.2 Twitter
    • 2.11.3 Instagram
  • 2.12 Digital Media and Marketing
  • 2.13 Marketing Departments
  • 2.14 Marketing versus Advertising
  • 2.15 Conversions
  • 2.16 Case Studies and Applications
  • 2.17 Writing Calls to Action
  • 2.18 Writing for Facebook
  • 2.19 Writing for Instagram
  • 2.20 Writing for Twitter
  • 2.21 Exercises

Chapter 3: Writing for the Web

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Global Internet Access and Usage
  • 3.3 User Behavior and Time Online: What Are People Doing on the Internet?
  • 3.4 Algorithms and the Black Box of Technology
  • 3.5 Ethics, Data, and Privacy
  • 3.6 Searchability/Findability
  • 3.7 Disinformation
  • 3.8 Writing Content for the Web
  • 3.9 Web Traffic
  • 3.10 Blogging
  • 3.11 Search Engine Optimization
  • 3.12 Content Writing
  • 3.13 Landing Pages
  • 3.14 Using Web Building Tools
  • 3.15 Exercises

Chapter 4: Digital-Visual Design

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Visual Rhetoric
  • 4.3 Graphic Design
  • 4.4 The Rise of Digital Video
  • 4.5 Digital-Visual Design
  • 4.6 Don’t Be Afraid of Adobe
  • 4.7 YouTube and Video Advertisements
  • 4.8 Aesthetics and Microgenres
  • 4.9 Emergent Technology and the Reality of the Virtual
  • 4.10 Exercises

Chapter 5: Digital Writing Jobs

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Articulating Skills and Digital Skills
  • 5.3 Acquiring and Claiming Skills
  • 5.4 Specializations and What Employers Look For
  • 5.5 Applying to Jobs
  • 5.6 Networking and LinkedIn
  • 5.7 The Digital Writer’s Resume
  • 5.8 The Digital Writer’s Cover Letter
  • 5.9 Conclusion
  • 5.10 Exercises


  • Pexels/Imagery Credits


Dan Lawrence is Assistant Professor of Writing at the University of Wisconsin–Superior.

  • • Original rhetorical framework for writing for the web and social media
  • • Interdisciplinary approach drawn from classical and contemporary rhetoric, digital media theory, and the philosophy of technology
  • • Contemporary, “real world” business scenarios for analysis and discussion
  • • Special emphasis on helping students prepare for digital writing careers
  • • Writing prompts and exercises for social media, the web, and ethical situations