Digital Essay #1: Digital Media Analysis


Write a 700-1000 word essay analyzing a digital media object in relation to Janet Murray’s four affordances of the digital medium. Make sure you publish your essay to your website as a post by the deadline.

The “digital media object” can be a particular text (a specific video game, film, TV show, song–as long as it involves some digital technology in its creation or distribution), a platform (a social networking site, piece of software, website, app), or a particular technology (laptop, smartphone, iPod, FitBit, etc.).

Analyze how the object involves each of the four affordances she describes. Make sure your essay has a main idea; this main idea will likely involve how the affordances of digital media shape the form, function, and meaning of the object.

Also, to make this truly a “digital essay,” you must use at least three non-text elements in your blog post, such as links to other sites, images, embedded videos, or GIFs.

Questions to consider as you think about your object: How would this object be different if it were not digital? Is this object a digital adaptation of a legacy medium (such as a film or newspaper)? How do the four affordances work together in the functionality of this object? Which of the affordances is most important for your object? How does thinking about its affordances change your appreciation of this object?


  • Make sure your essay has a clear main idea/thesis statement. It’s not enough just to list the four affordances and describe how your object fits them. The analysis of the four affordances should lead you to a deeper understanding of your object–this is what should make up your main idea.
  • Briefly explain what each of the affordances means and use quotations from Murray when and where appropriate.
  • Think about where you want to insert your non-text elements. Don’t just throw them all at the top or bottom. Experiment with the design of the page. Use the non-text elements to help make your argument, instead of just for illustration or visual interest.

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