The Final Blogfolio.

Okay. I am slightly freaking out. I will be home in less than two weeks… where has this year gone?! 

When I signed up for this class, I honestly had no idea what to expect! All I knew was that I enjoyed technology, computers, and discovering new things. This class has really opened my eyes to the different uses for technology and media. Yes, computers can be used for personal, fun, recreational purposes. But more importantly we can utilize these insanely awesome forms of technology to make a difference in the world. It doesn’t have to be some HUGE revolution started from behind your personal computer. I think a great first step would be just being nice and loving towards one another across social media. We may not all be able to edit a cool looking video or create a graphic that explains important statistics, but we can all easily spread love and happiness. I sound kind of like a technological hippie… but I feel pretty strongly about this! If we think before we post, where would we be?

First of all, I’d say I’m pretty proud of myself for keeping up with all of the blog postings assigned this semester! I never skipped one, and I sometimes added a random video or quote blog post here and there. One observation that I’ve made about my writing over this semester is that I really like to write about things I can connect with personally. That seems like such a no-brainer, but I guess I’ve only noticed it until now. When someone else writes something that tugs at my heartstrings or makes me think in a new way, I want to comment on it! It seems like I can write a blog posting for days when it possesses a subject that is very personal. I feel like I could write for hours on end about subjects I truly enjoy or I am passionate about. For example, one of my first blog postings, The Dance, was about… well… dance. I LOVE TO DANCE! Writing that blog post made me think back to when I was three. “Ever since I was three I was hooked; the rush and adrenaline created by performing is incomparable to any other feeling I’ve experienced.” It brought back sentimental memories. How cool is it that writing can do that?! It can make us remember things we love; it can bring back memories that we haven’t visited in a while. I feel like some of my best writing comes out of situations like this.  

Another thing I’ve noticed about my writing is that I like to use dashes to make my writing have a certain conversational flow. I also capitalize words to enunciate them as if I’m talking to you. Because our class has been using a blog I’ve given myself more freedom to write not so “MLA-ish” if you will. I’ve always appreciated blog authors that write TO the audience. (There I go with that capitalization) It’s like a conversation! My first couple of blog postings weren’t as casual. I was still getting a feeling for the blog and how I wanted to write my posts. I was transitioning from the forming writing I was used to doing first semester to the more casual blog-style. I think where I started to get more “casual” was in my post You Learn Something New Every Day. I posted this in my last paragraph: “I’m just a font nerd. I’ve even watched a documentary about one of the most revolutionary fonts in the 20th century… Helvetica! I can guarantee you that you have seen this font with out even realizing it. It is used CONSTANTLY.” In this blog post I realized that hey! This is MY blog. I have total freedom of how I sound and what I say. Another blog post that I really used this in was Is it consuming my life? When I read that blog post over again I laugh out loud. I can just envision myself saying those words out loud! I finally got into the groove and wrote exactly how I was feeling. The dashes and the capitalization helped me express my feelings. “When I was with friends on Saturday and not checking my phone constantly, I felt more free. It honestly felt good not to have to keep checking Twitter like it was my job. Uhm, light bulb! Social media is maybe… slightly… consuming my life?”

As a writer of this generation I think it is essential that I utilize all of the digital genres that I can. There is SO much out there on the internet for us to use. Tumblr, Worlde, WikiSpaces, WordPress, FaceBook, Pinterest… and countless others. To get the most out of your writing, try these different outlets and see what you like best! WordPress is great because you can write and share pictures. You have your computer screen (blank canvas), your keyboard (paint), and your fingertips (paintbrush). Make a work of art! Use your words wisely. Express yourself. That’s a major thing I have learned this semester. Utilizing all of the new technology around me to express myself is important! I have accomplished a body of work that provoked me to think about different issues as well as effectively express myself. One of my favorite passages that I wrote this semester was from my blog post Tough Stuff. I wrote, “The beauty of words is the way we interpret them. Each reader can take away something different from a story or a poem. A song can even make each listener feel differently. The freedom and creativity words hold is insurmountable.” Being able to freely express my thoughts and feelings through this blog has broadened my horizons. Just simply pouring out what I’m thinking helps me sort out my innermost beliefs. 

Reflection is really important in life. In order to grow and become a better person, I need to look back on this year and see what I have accomplished. I also need to see where I struggled and what I learned from it. Reflecting back on this blog experience, I have compiled a grouping of my strongest/favorite work throughout the year! Voila. 

 

Favorite Comment I made:
on with a tender heart‘s blog post, Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust

  • I like this comment because of the high dive anecdote that I included. 

The blog post that most intrigued/inspired me this semester:
My Poorly Knit Sweater‘s blog post, Music

  • I connected with this blog post because I consider myself a musician. I used to play the piano, so I definitely related to Stephen’s views.

My two strongest blog postings:
Is it consuming my life? & The Dance

  • I really liked the first because I called myself out! I criticized myself, and it made me question why I do things a certain way. I think that’s imperative for continued personal growth. The second blog post is strong because I wrote about something I care about. It is easy to expand on a topic when I have strong feelings about it.

My most stretching blog post:
Musical Literacy

  • This blog posts made me think! It took me a while to write, but I really enjoy the finished product. Thinking about literacy in a non-writing sense stretched my imagination.

My strongest analytical writing:
Tough Stuff

  • Even though this blog post isn’t very long, I really like some things that I concluded. In my opening paragraphs above, I included a passage from this blog post that I enjoyed. 

My best use of a visual image:
Interesting Blogs

  • I like this idea of including the photo of the webpage you’re talking about. It gives your audience a visual to work with. Instead of them typing out the blog URL, they can just glance at the picture and get an understanding of what you’re talking about.

My best use of a hyperlink:
You Learn Something New Every Day

  • I created two hyperlinks that connected back to an article. Doing this as a blogger gives you credibility and offers your audience more resources.
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Rhetorical Analysis

Because my Digital Activism project is focused on KONY 2012 and Invisible Children (IC), the website I will be doing my analysis on is invisiblechildren.com. While clicking around the site to get a general feel for it, I stumbled upon the “About” page. Right there, the world “ethos” appeared at the top of IC’s about page. Here’s what they had to say about it:
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This is the vision and belief of IC. The “author” of the website//organization is a group of people wanting to stop injustice in East and central Africa. IC is targeting anyone who would have an interest in stopping injustices such as this. 

The website is FULL of information pertaining to the organization and ways people like me and you can get involved to make a difference. In my opinion, all three entities of Aristotle’s rhetorical appeals are strong on IC’s website. The ethos is very clear. They have a description of their ethos under their “About” section! The audience’s desire to trust the author is further solidified through IC’s use of emotional images and videos as well as meaningful data. Pathos is scattered all across the website. Pictures of children and emotional stories are shared. IC utilizes video to portray their content and ideas as well. Image
Logos is VERY strong on the IC website. There is SO much information pertaining to their different programs and just what they’re about. Statistics and numerical data is presented to the audience in a very clean and organized way, making it easy to understand. This is important to do especially when dealing with a heavy and sometimes confusing topic. Logos is also represented through the support of important political leaders and celebrities. Actresses Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson will be speaking at an upcoming IC leadership conference called “The Fourth Estate.” 

I could honestly go on and on about all of the good things IC is doing on their website. The ethos is supported through strong pathos and logos. IC obviously has very smart and creative people working for them! They are delivering important information in an aesthetically-appealing way.

 

XP

Man! This semester has just been filled with lovely opportunities of expanding my knowledge of digital media! Here are a few experiences that I’ve had over the last few months. 

WordPress
Before this class, I haven’t created a blog where I actually write things out. I know that sounds weird, but it’s the truth. I’ve had a Tumblr, but I’ll get to that later. WordPress has been an experience for sure! Not only have I been writing out my thoughts and feelings, but I’ve been able to design my blog too. I’ve been able to customize my layout and personalize it! I absolutely LOVE designing, so working with WordPress has been really fun. It took a while to understand the different Widgets and all that jazz, but it’s been worth it. I’m happy with the way my blog looks!

Tumblr
My Tumblr experience differs from WordPress. For me personally, Tumblr is much more about the pictures. Some people who have these types of blogs really utilize them for text, but I’m the opposite. I could spend hours on end scrolling through the blogs that I follow. I get inspired by the pictures that I see! Also on Tumblr, the blog set-up is different. I have a bit more freedom when it comes to the “look” of my blog. 

Pinterest
I LOVE PINTEREST. There, I said it. The sharing of ideas is amazing!!! One cool thing that I learned and have utilized from Pinterest this semester is the ability to have a “secret” or “hidden” board. My followers cannot see the pins I make onto this board! I made one of these for a friend’s birthday. I don’t want her to see the things I’m thinking about getting her! Originally, Pinterest didn’t have this option when it was created. With time, Pinterest has adapted to people’s needs. I think that’s imperative for a site like Pinterest to remain successful!

WikiSpaces
This semester I created a Wiki page! MaryAnn and I added to our “Digital Textuality” Wiki and created a “Twitter” page. It was a challenge to define something as if the reader has absolutely NO IDEA what you are talking about. Talking about things that pertain to Twitter such as hashtags, retweets and mentions was difficult. It made me realize just how hard it is sometimes when writing a description about something. While making the page, we formatted it like a page off of Wikipedia. That was another challenge in itself! I am a perfectionist, so I wanted everything to look, well, perfect. I think we did a pretty fantastic job!

Wordle
How fun is Wordle?! Creating a picture of different words is kind of exciting to me. I am a very visual person, so putting my “Where I’m From” posting into the application was very entertaining! It’s just a completely new way of portraying myself. Instead of using a blog post, I am using color and a unique font that expresses who I am! Not only are the words telling the reader about me, but now the image can say something as well. It takes the poem to a new level!
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So, I have definitely learned a lot this semester. I feel like with technology advancing more and more each day, I will keep on growing in my knowledge of digital media.

Practice Blogfolio

I am completely blown away every time I think of how fast this semester has gone. Honestly, where has the time gone?! I have grown up, and discovered things about myself I didn’t know I would. I had no idea what to expect from this year. I have made some of the best friends a girl could have, and I could not be more thankful for that. Oklahoma City has become one of my favorite places. There is always something new to discover or try. This semester, I have written approximately 4,000 words on this blog. Honestly I wish it was a little more, but hey! I feel like 4,000 is quite a lot. Reflection is really important in life. In order to grow and become a better person, I need to look back on this year and see what I have accomplished. I also need to see where I struggled and what I learned from it. Reflecting back on this blog experience, I have compiled a grouping of my strongest/favorite work throughout the year! Voila. 

Favorite Comment I made:
on with a tender heart‘s blog post, Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust

The blog post that most intrigued/inspired me this semester:
My Poorly Knit Sweater‘s blog post, Music

My two strongest blog postings:
Is it consuming my life? & The Dance

My most stretching blog post:
Musical Literacy

My strongest analytical writing:
Tough Stuff

My best use of a visual image:
Interesting Blogs

My best use of a hyperlink:
You Learn Something New Every Day

ICC Reflection

First off I’d just like to say how CUTE these kids were! They brought a smile to my face. On Wednesday as the kids were leaving the ICC I heard one say, “I LOVE INTERCESSION!” That just made me so happy. Coming to the ICC is a privilege and a fun time for them. Not only are they having a good time, but they are learning valuable life skills. Every single one of the kids possessed at least a functional level of digital literacy. They could all maneuver whatever program they were using whether it be JumpStart or Kerpoof. Yes, some did come to a few bumps in the road, but they got right back on track when helped! When they were all wearing headphones, all you could hear in the room was the sound of clicking keyboards and mouses. I was very impressed! Some kids definitely possesed more of a knack for figuring out the programs without being taught exactly what to do. Today when I volunteered I witnessed a fifth grader named Carter really take ownership and excitement of what he was doing. He was on Kerpoof making several movies! Miss Veronica had just taught them the basics, and after she let the kids go on their own, Carter soared. Along with his functional digital literacy, I feel like Carter showed advanced digital literacy by figuring things out on his own. He never needed to ask for help. In fact, he was going around the room and helping other classmates! He even showed Miss Veronica a thing or two. The kids were able to share their movies with other classmates online. Carter made sure that everyone watched his! The kids were able to make comments about each other’s movies and get inspired by each other! In this type of setting, this seemed like critical digital literacy to me. The act of sharing and discussing digital work shows that each kid is proud and excited about what he or she created. I think what they are doing at the ICC is so wonderful. The kids are being exposed to technology and are able to be imaginative and creative at the same time. Awesome stuff!

Tough Stuff

Are published words [even on blogs or wikis] unreliable sources of the truth, seeing as we can’t speak face to face with the author to clarify questions or to confirm his/her authority on the subject?

These kinds of questions are extremely tough for me to answer, but I’ll try my best to put my two cents in. Whenever an author publishes a work, whether it be a novel or a blog post, there will always be reader interpretation involved. Each person reads a book or blog post differently. Particular words and ideas stand out to each individual reader. 

I think when an author posts something online, he should be aware of the possibility of his words being interpreted and questioned. It is part of the blogging world! People will comment, ask questions, and incorporate your blog postings into their own. Readers on the other hand need to understand that what they are reading is not necessarily “the truth.” It is someone’s opinion and interpretation on a subject.

That being said, I don’t think published words are unreliable. They are springboards for new ideas to be created. They are sources for discussion and growth.  The beauty of words is the way we interpret them. Each reader can take away something different from a story or a poem. A song can even make each listener feel differently. The freedom and creativity words hold is insurmountable.