In this essay assignment you are asked to explore the readers and

a)      CHOOSE THE HASHTAG: choose any hashtag that is of interest to you and that has or has had an impact on you (it’s up to you what sort of impact!);

b)      DESCRIBE THE HASHTAG: give a full description of the hashtag with as much paratextual information as possible including a summary of its meaning, its main characteristics, its ostensible purpose,and its general “bibliographical” information (author, origin, material/media context, date created);

c)      REFLECT ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE HASHTAG AS A READER: briefly describe the impact this hashtag has had on you as a reader (or literate consumer/producer of word and image), and the “who what when where why how” of your relationship with it;

d)      GIVE AN ACCOUNT OF THE HASHTAG’S “RECEPTION HISTORY”: give as full an account as possible of the reception history of the hashtag. In this sense, reception history is the life of the hashtag in the hands of its readers and disseminators, how it has been received, used, and interpreted: this could include but not be limited to reviews, comments, the formation of groups, new/other versions, spin-offs, other media uses, artistic interpretations, images, news articles, videos, scholarly articles/conferences, books, films, riots, censorship, Facebook page(s), website(s), tweets, links,et cetera. In doing this exercise you will uncover the way in which the hashtag guides “paths of reading” and inspires interaction over time and space and across different media channels and environments. You will likely encounter a wide range of examples, and won’t necessarily be able to cover everything you find or everything that’s out there. In that case, provide a summary of your findings and then devise some criteria that will allow you to choose an angle from which to give a more fine-grained andrepresentative picture of the hashtag’s reception history, illustrated and well supported by specific examples. Don’t forget to explain the logic of your criteria or it may seem random and without a point;

e)      IDENTIFY AND DESCRIBE THE “TEXTUAL COMMUNITY/IES” CREATED BY THE HASHTAG: using the evidence gleaned from the hashtag’s reception history, identify and describe its readership(s) (are there many? few? Is there cross-pollination? Any unifying or divisive qualities? What are they like?);

f)       CONCLUDE: by thinking about the ways in which learning about the reception history and the textual community/ies or readerships of your hashtag has affected your relationship to it. Comment on what you have learned about the hashtag as a textual artifact through completing this assignment

 

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