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Tag Writing, Search Engines, and Cultural Scripts

Computers and Composition Volume 35, Number 1, ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


In this article, I explore the social, political, and ethical implications of search engine use and tag writing. Unlike scholars in economics, law, information science, and media studies who have weighed on these issues for more than a decade now, I argue that scholarship in rhetoric and composition has taken a narrow approach by connecting search engines and tag writing primarily with the teaching of research skills. Relying on a folksonomic approach, I conduct a case study of a Romanian online campaign that aimed to work with and against Google in order to change Romanians’ online identity. Based on this example, I show how search engines can be used, on the one hand, to write new identity scripts and to change cultural patterns, and, on the other hand, to reinscribe power relations and limited identity politics. I also argue that the campaign is an example of public rhetorical education that calls on us, teachers and scholars of composition, to rethink our pedagogies and to expand our teaching tools. Ultimately, integrating search engines and tag writing into the classroom can teach students to use technologies more responsibly and to reflect critically on their everyday writing practices, which, in their simplest manifestations, are powerful forms of culture-writing.


Hirsu, L. (2015). Tag Writing, Search Engines, and Cultural Scripts. Computers and Composition, 35(1), 30-40. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 27, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Computers and Composition on January 29, 2019. Computers and Composition is a publication of Elsevier.

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