Concepts – A Podcast

Hi everyone! After cringing through about an hour of hearing myself talk (as well as hours of cut audio), I’m finally done. My capstone project is a podcast talking about concept albums as a genre, looking at some individual albums as case studies. Shout out to everyone who helped me through the process and to Shelley for being so wonderful for both my capstone and gateway.

Here’s the link below if you’d like to check it out.

https://derekvdb.wixsite.com/derekvdbcapstone

My ePortfolio!

Hi everyone. I finished my ePortfolio. It’s right here. I had a lot of fun making it, and all of the writing it contains. If you find any spelling mistakes, please let me know – they aren’t like easter eggs or anything. It talks about where I am as a writer and as an extension, person I guess. This project has helped me developed as a writer and thinker, by appreciating writing as a series of choices, accommodating to the rhetorical situation. I learned to relax and watch myself write, without trying to perfect every sentence. And that’s helped me reflect about my writing and self.

Blogs N’ Such

For my third experiment, I’m writing a blog post to discuss paid leave. Blogs are great for a lot of things. They lay at the peculiar intersection of personal and private writing – a tricky spot to be in. Blogs are like online diaries, at their heart. They’re usually expressive, rather than informational. And this happens in flux because of this issue of audience. Blogs have issues communicating their points if they don’t properly consider who they’re writing to. Usually, the more expressive and personal approach means a more niche audience. It takes a lot to be universally engaging without being trite. This genre can fail its author if not handled well. It provokes self expression to a certain limit of alienation of a potentially passive audience. To avoid this issue, here are some pointers.

Use plain language.

Be deliberate with your prose. Write as if talking to a close friend. Not that you have to make yourself super vulnerable or whatever, but be consistent and honest with your dialectic to most comfortably deliver your message and let the audience know your voice/thoughts.

Understand your audience.

Blogs can be personal – I know. But remember that folks may actually be reading. Different choices in writing work in different situations, for different people.

Stay focused and have a point.

Really personally, occasionally rambling writing can be great. Sometimes (usually) it can be a bit much. If you’ve ever read Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, you might know what I mean. People can get lost in your train of thought. Your thoughts may sound cohesive and logical in your head, but that doesn’t always translate when written, Dave. If that’s part of your style or point, fine. Just know I’ve probably started skimming. Anyways…so ya…be careful. *deliberate rambling*

Consider your position within the conversation.

You’re presenting one voice, your own, to be among many others. Your blog post is a monologue in part of an ongoing conversation. Think about who you are within the context of the discussion. What does your perspective mean regarding your point, other people’s points?

I’m trying to step into the blogosphere, as a voice in an ongoing conversation that I arguably am not meant to be in. But, that’s part of the point. Blogs are a mean for people to share their take, express oneself and understand one’s situational relations with others. So in this case, I’m expressing the voice of an ally – a role that my blog post is going to show is important. I’m writing a blog post, leaning on the blogosphere community of people who think they aren’t part of this discussion, but who I’m saying should be. In doing so, I’ll try to write to the presumably male third party, to make the point that paid leave is everyone’s issue.

Infographics

I’ve chosen to rework my original text in the genre of infographics. The original text, a speech about paid family leave, is already formatted to be point driven. So, I should be able to maintain this deliberate concision. Though separately, a tangible rendition will give the text a greater sense of permanence. This’ll let the text reach a greater audience – a common concern regarding this topic.

 

So, let’s talk how to go about this ish.

 

Infographics should never be printed. Just don’t do it. Because then it’s like a pamphlet. And the only thing pamphlets are good at is being accidentally left in your pockets when you do laundry, ruining your pants and day. So, skip that. Digital mediums are also easier to share, allowing the text to reach a broader audience, hence a common avenue for infographic creators. But the pockets/pamphlets thing is important too.

 

However, spatial organization is still important for digital texts. Consider how this blog is formatted. It has a defined width, and continues down as far as necessary. This is done to preserve the visual and cognitive flow of the text for the reader. Infographics ought to do this too. To be most effective, it’s important to

pace and space your argument

well, so it’s not interrupted or awkward. (See?)

 

Staying digital also lets you incorporate different media within your text. You can use images to create a theme. Keeping your content thematic makes your text’s argument more consistent, and hopefully memorable. Another medium to consider is hyperlinks. They’re a convenient way to include different voices within the text. This can establish credibility, by providing corroborating evidence. Or you can use them to cite your own sources, if you’re into that.

 

Infographics usually rely on the “facts and figures” of the matter. This is a key aspect regarding the content of the text. Quotes, statements and statistics are the most concise way to reach your audience in this situation. Remember that members of your audience may be uninformed, unfriendly, or just passive. Using these tools helps deal with that.

 

So, audience – this part’s important. This topic doesn’t regularly surface in the news or casual conversation, which is often the case for many infographics. So, their intent is to be captivating, concise and compelling, considering the need for efficiency within the text. I guess the audience is usually the passive, Facebook-scrolling person, who’ll hopefully be swayed, or at least informed, by the text. The author should be aware of this convention, and make an effort to make their text memorable.

 

Infographics, paid family leave – we’ll see how it goes. I think it’ll be an effective avenue to convey the same ideas within my original text, in a more visually focused, tangible medium.

Multimodal Communication: Beef Wellington, Comics and Rubik’s Cubes

So, it turns out that every text is multimodal. The texts that I’ve chosen use different media; though what proved to be consistent, is their intent to convey meaning and perform.

This image is the thumbnail from Binging with Babish’s video, Room Service from Mad Men. The text is a video on Youtube, and thus inherently uses each of the outlined modes of communication. The text is a step by step instructional video, demonstrating how to recreate food from everyone’s favorite movies and TV. Unlike most recipes, it features the visual and aural modes, allowing the audience to be shown and not told, offering more engaging direction. The author is able to step past typical culinary jargon, by demonstrating exactly what he is saying. And further, the set of the video is spatially oriented to accommodate the camera angle – a deliberate choice in the performance. This also notes to the text’s usage of gestures. In that, the author moves and positions himself deliberately to cater to the perspective of the audience – through the camera – as seen in the thumbnail. 

The following text is a step by step instruction on how to solve a Rubik’s cube. The text uses the visual and linguistic modes. It’s organized in an efficient manner, allowing the audience to follow along with ease, and is visually thematic, in it’s color scheme. Regarding linguistic elements,the text’s use of language is concise and direct. This specificity is important, considering the text’s intention.

This last text is a comic from the series xkcd. Its tearable segments are meant to make the text look like a printed flyer, invoking spatial elements that fit the “flyer” genre. Its word choice invokes the same expectations within this genre. This is seen in the title section, as it reads, “Volunteers needed for a scientific study…”. 

Ultimately, my statement held to be true – these texts use different media, all with the intent to perform. And still, certain modes prove to be more effective in different contexts.