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60(ish) Seconds: Writing in the Digital Age

Leah Bailly believes any writer in the digital age can change the world.

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Can you imagine if the COVID-19 pandemic was 30 years ago? We’d be so isolated: watching our university classes on TV, only hearing about the world through mainstream media. So many voices would be left out. So many words unpublished.
 
But today, we have YouTube, Instagram, Facebook: all tools of mass self-communication. This means a 17-year-old named Darnella Frazier can film George Floyd’s murder by police and with this act of witness, a teenager can spark a wave of global protests.
 
In my writing classes, I want to empower students to use the tools of the digital age. Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock have shown us that the internet can elevate grass roots leaders. Young, unconnected writers can gain massive followings. Hong Kong can be connected to Belarus, a trans man from Northern Alberta can connect with a trans activist in New York, and forge community there.
 
Today, we can assemble freely online. We can form communities where once we were isolated and alone. We can elevate voices that were silenced. We can broadcast, we can publish. We can share and click and like. I want students to feel both connected and empowered.
 
Any writer in the digital age can change the world.