Large social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are making the news a lot these days as both lawmakers and citizens consider the benefits and consequences of widespread, networked, instant communication.
Without needing lawmakers to weigh in, we, as academic and research writers, can see and often agree on the effects of social media engagement on our writing practices and processes: fragmented attention, decreased concentration, and increased distraction. None of which supports the development of professional-level research writing skills or the building out of large research or scholarly writing projects.
Even as many of our brilliant academics study “social media,” our scholarly writing practices, processes, and productivity are supported by our clarity of focus, increased concentration, and repeated, dedicated periods of engagement with our projects.
To align our content with our practice and to support the deep work of our writers, the CSU Writes team made the decision in 2016 not to advertise our events or to create program “buzz” via social media. Instead, we use campus email and word-of-mouth to share about our high-quality and “deep” workshops, retreats, and drop-in writing sessions.
Founded in 2015, CSU Writes soon started offering workshops on “Deep Work,” drawing on the research and strategies of MIT-trained Cal Newport, now a tenured professor of Computer Science at Georgetown. A technology enthusiast in his own right, Newport’s rules for knowledge workers speak directly to us as research and academic writers: 1) work deeply, 2) embrace boredom, 3) quit social media, 4) drain the shallows. His books Deep Work (2016), Digital Minimalism (2019), and A World without Email (2021) have informed numerous CSU Writes workshops and offerings, for our goals align with Newport’s ethos. We support high-quality, engaged research writing (and thinking).
We support you as a writer. We support CSU as an academic, research and scholarly writing community of professionals, experts, and becoming-experts. And we ask you to help spread the word about the fabulous program we all create together when we gather (virtually or in-person) to talk, share, and do our deep work of writing.