My Capstone Project: The Chat Room

I can’t believe the time to share my project is here! It’s definitely still a work in progress because I am still editing podcasts and the website, but I am very excited to have the final product completed next week and to share a glimpse right now. Please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions with me about the project!

Introduction:

The Chat Room is a three episode podcast series that explores how people’s behavior on social media varies in different contexts. It seeks to answer some of the most urgent questions in society today: Would you share the same thing on Snapchat to your best friends as you would on Facebook where you’re friends with your grandma? Which social media platform did you share your overwhelming enthusiasm when Beyoncé announced her twin pregnancy?

This podcast has two purposes: first, to inform others on how different social media contexts dictate what, how, and why people share what they do, and second, to make you smile and maybe even laugh about the topic that seems to consume our society more and more each day. So what are you waiting for? Join The Chat Room.

Link: https://www.annaprenzler.com/

Feel free to look as pensive as Ryan Gosling when listening to my podcast.

 ryan gosling podcast headphones earbuds listening to music GIF

Thank you guys for being such an awesome, inspiring group of people. I can’t wait to experience all of your projects.

I finally have a title!

One of my biggest concerns and anxieties throughout this process was choosing a title for my podcast. As you’ll see in my presentation today in class, I finally came up with a title for my podcast that focuses on how different social media environments impact our behaviors: The Chat Room.

I came up with it very randomly, as most ideas do, while talking with one of my roommates. I think this name will remind millennials and older listeners of the archaic “Chat Room” on AOL messenger or AIM messenger, causing them to not only feel nostalgic but perhaps laugh at themselves. This name will also bode well for introductions, because the first question I will ask each guest is to choose a screenname for The Chat Room. I think not only will this make them laugh and feel more comfortable sharing throughout the podcast, but it might reveal some emotions they have about what and why they share online and the identity they associate themselves with online versus in-person.

I have yet to create a logo or image for my podcast, but definitely want to start creating that soon so I can show my guests a more finished product when we are editing the podcast together. In my research, I found that including guests in the editing process will make them feel more engaged and proud of their work, causing them to share this podcast organically among their friends and family. This is essential to my podcast’s success, because having my guests share will make it accessible and intriguing to a much larger network than I could possibly share in my own network.

So, what screenname would you choose? My middle school screenname was pinkdrmaqueen125…so take with that what you will.

Thanks for listening!

Cheers,

Anna

 

Learning by Listening

I want to create an interesting, entertaining podcast. But how do I do that? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself since this idea was first incepted. What equipment should I use? How would I find awesome guests? How can I help make guests feel comfortable enough to chat openly? Do I want to include any music? What should it be called?

These questions have been floating around my mind all semester. But something I’ve realized just recently is how important it is to learn by listening. In other words, I have been looking up top trending podcasts, or podcasts my friends and mentor suggest, and evaluating them. Why don’t I like the way that sounds? Why do my friends like it? What keeps them engaged? By critically analyzing current podcasts, I can learn what I like and what I don’t like, and eventually form a concrete idea of what I want and how to make it happen.

A couple podcasts from all different genres that have helped me realize what I like and don’t like:

  • Anna Faris is Unqualified
    • Anna gives not so great relationship advice alongside various celebrities ranging from the millionaire matchmaker to Seth Rogen. hilarious show.
  • The Lively Show
    • Jess Lively is a graduate from UMich and her show aims to add intention to life, discussing a range of topics from business to motherhood to wellness.
  • Bloomberg’s P&L
    • Pimm & Lisa focus on the markets, hosting guests from Bloomberg Intelligence and other influential newsmakers.

A few podcasts I plan on listening to:

  • Drink Champs
    • two rappers get guests drunk and discuss a number of topics. let’s just say this show is not for the easily offended.
  • Don’t Keep Your Day Job
    • they talk to people who made it big with doing what they love in the creative world
  • Guys We F****D
    • yes, it’s just what it sounds like.

I have started to realize what kind of environments foster open conversations, how the pace of conversations can affect the podcast, and how different genres foster different sets of rules, just like in any other form of media, including writing. It is also interesting to see which podcasts have their own websites versus those that are just available on iTunes or SoundCloud, and how that adds to their image or persona. I look forward to continuing to discover how I want to craft and present my podcast.

Feel free to comment your favorite podcast so I can take a listen!Image result for anna faris is unqualified

Cheers,

Anna

Do you have an alter ego?

For my capstone project, I want to explore the idea of “alter egos” both on social media and in physical situations. I think that there has always been pressure in society to be someone other than yourself, but I think that the use of social media has significantly changed this societal pressure.

What do you share in-person versus on Facebook or Snapchat? Who do you interact with on different forms of social media? Do you feel constrained to the social dynamics of certain social media platforms versus others? These are some of the questions I want to address in my project. However, I’m hoping to gain insight from my peers on why this topic is especially relevant and important.

In order to reach this understanding, it would help if you all could comment your opinions on this topic. Do you act differently on Facebook versus Instagram? What about Snapchat? How do you act around your roommates versus in class, and how does this compare to your presence on social media? Do you feel you have an alter ego on social media, and why? Is it because your Grandma has a Facebook so you’ve learned to censor your posts aka blur out the red cup in your Gameday pics? (Shoutout to Betty White). How do you manage the broad range of audiences on these platforms? Do you alter your ego to match these requirements?

An article that really inspired me to research this question further was one for my social media marketing class, about the era of Facebook: http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/13/5488558/danah-boyd-interview-the-era-of-facebook-is-an-anomaly

Thanks in advance for your input, and in the meantime, please feel free to be inspired and #blessed by Beyoncé’s twin pregnancy. Beytwicé amirite?

Cheers,

Anna

It’s been a hot minute

Howdy!

WordPress greeted me with a “Howdy, Anna Prenzler” so I figured I would keep up the trend. I’m really excited to be a part of the MiW Capstone course with you all! Despite my greeting, I’m not from the south but originate from central Illinois, about two hours south of Chicago. I am a senior studying business with a passion for writing. I find it absurd that it is somehow my 8th and final semester here at Michigan, but all good things must come to an end, am I right? Regardless, I’m so glad that I chose to minor in writing and can’t wait to see what this course has in store.

I have loved writing from a young age. In 5th grade, I won an essay contest. In 6th grade, I wrote my favorite teacher a Christmas story as a holiday gift. Throughout the years, I wrote in a travel journal and attempted to write several short stories. And as a senior in high school, I wrote and gave my high school’s graduation speech. But if I’m being honest, I don’t spend nearly enough time writing for my own enjoyment as I once did. Today, I write primarily in the professional community, as well as academia, with various subcategories within the academic area.

As a senior in the business school, I participate most often in the professional writing community and the academic community with a business focus. My main form of writing has become writing emails to recruiters or fellow group project teammates (super exciting, I know). Additionally, I’ve had experience in my academic courses writing business plans, creating Powerpoint presentations, creative briefs for advertising pitches, and writing consulting reports with a team. These pieces of written or digital work have been challenging and rewarding. But they are very different than the “Englishy” type writing that I most enjoy, which has made it difficult for me to transition between communities.

As Erin talked about in Ketter and Hunter’s case, she found it difficult to write certain types of pieces without being “Too Englishy.” In other words, switching between different forms of academic writing (English vs. history reports) was difficult because it was necessary to use different techniques for providing evidence. I definitely relate to this in switching between business reports and other writing such as papers for my Political Science class. For example, when writing a report on how to grow millennial readership for The New York Times through social media, my entire team had to re-write our report because it was too “fluffy” rather than concise. It was difficult for us to transition from the more traditional academic writing done in humanity classes to the concise style of business writing. However, I think that learning the difference between “Englishy” writing and business writing was an invaluable skill to learn in my four years here. It prepared me to craft research and business reports in the professional setting, knowing that generally people in the professional community skim rather than read, making conciseness of utmost importance.

Diving deeper into the subcategories of academia, I have written in different communities – creative writing, political science writing, psychological research, etc. This is one of the many benefits of attending a liberal arts university. The most recent challenge I encountered was writing a 10 page case paper on University of California vs. Bakke for my political science class last semester. I would say this was one of the more challenging assignments I’ve ever completed, but also the most rewarding. I had never taken a political science class prior, and it was a huge learning experience. Although my lack of experience made writing a case paper extremely difficult, it taught me how to dissect and analyze court cases in writing. It allowed me to gain an understanding of how to read and write about a court case in-depth. This may not seem like it directly improves my value in the business world, but the amount of determination and persistence I used to climb the steep learning curve showed me that it’s worth it to put in the work to achieve the desired outcome. I also think it allowed me the opportunity to explore another type of professional writing which will be useful if I do decide to ever pursue a career in law or related to law.

Overall, I’m extremely grateful that I’ve gotten to explore different writing communities throughout my life and specifically as a student at Michigan. I understand why Erin believes that academic writing forced her to fit “pieces of proof into the confines of a frame” but I disagree. I think that a lot of my academic writing, particularly within the business school, has taught me how to deal with ambiguity and present my case in the best way possible. Moreover, taking risks like enrolling in a upper-level writing political science class allowed me to learn something new through my writing. Although I’ve had experiences with academic writing where I felt confined to a prompt, I feel that this can be seen as an important skill because typically the ability to reach a certain specific goal or conclusion is necessary in professional writing and presentations as well. While it was at times difficult to transition from business/professional type writing such as consulting reports to more academic “Englishy” writing, I think that learning the fine line between the two has been one of the most valuable skills I’ve learned here at Michigan.

 

That’s all, folks!

I am super happy with my completed eportfolio. I hope that you all enjoy it, and I really thank everyone in the MiW 2015 cohort as well as the fabulous Professor Naomi Silver for all of your encouragement, feedback, and support. I have never produced a website before and I am so glad I got the opportunity to do so this semester. It was definitely challenging and stressful but in the end, all of my hard work totally paid off.

If I had more time to continue working on my eportfolio I would probably continue to add to my “music” section which is completely irrelevant to the coursework of Writing 220 but I feel adds a lot of personality and expression to my site. I would also work on a different way of embedding my repurposing project and “Why I Write” rather than just inputting it as a text box, if that makes sense. I also want to add some sort of blog aspect to keep my website current and ever-changing.

Going into this website, I wanted it to be 100% professional. However, I think ultimately I came up with a balance between professionalism and expression. By linking my resume to the site and dedicating an entire page to academic projects I have produced while at U of M, this site is super useful for job applications and interviews. At the same time, by adding lots of photos of my family and experiences as well as a section dedicated to my passion for music, I feel viewers can get a sense of who I am as more than a prospective employee but as a person.

Overall, this was an amazing experience and I cannot wait to continue learning more about myself as a writer and person throughout the minor in writing program. Enjoy my portfolio!

porkey

 

Go you. Do you. Be you.

This semester has been a minute. You know what I mean? But you will learn so much and feel so much and explore so much all at the same time. This course is truly eye-opening and extremely challenging. It pushes you farther than you thought possible. As a business major, I came into this course confused as to why there was not more structure or pressure or any sort of competitive atmosphere. It honestly was uncomfortable at first because everything was different and open and vulnerable. That being said, I think this class is exactly what I needed. Junior year everything becomes so real – you are no longer a naiive underclassmen. You are supposed to LEAD the leaders and best. Um, what? That’s a lot of pressure! But this course allowed me to become that naiive, doe-eyed and curious freshman once again. I saw everything in a new light and began to explore parts of my creativity and interests I didn’t even know existed.

My advice to you is keep an open mind. You might think you have everything figured out, or that the minor in writing is perfect for you or your resume, or that this will be an easy class because writing comes easily to you. Maybe one or all of those are true – but that’s not what is important. I would have to say that I came into this class with all three of those thoughts. And here I am, sitting writing this blog post in the wee hours of the morning because life is so busy and challenging and exciting all at the same time. None of those things came true. And I’m so glad they didn’t.

My advice to you is to challenge yourself. Don’t take the easy road. Take on the documentary film project, or podcast, or whatever it is that this remediation project leads you to do. In the moment challenging yourself is hard and pushes you over the edge and you think you might never sleep or breathe or blink again, but it is so worth it. It is.

My advice to you is to feel okay with not being okay. There have been several points in this course where I am just NOT sure or okay with what I am producing as a writer. This not-okay feeling is okay. I promise. It means you are being open-minded and challenging yourself.

Most of all, though, you got this. Go you. Do you. Be you. And enjoy everything Writing 220 throws at you.

-Anna

It’s Tuesday and I’m Already Drowning in this Week

Doozy. This week is a doozy. But it’s also amazing, because I am focusing on many of my passions: writing, communicating, and music.

Let me explain. So, to be honest, the forefront of my mind consists of my a cappella group’s concert this Friday. But my remediation is a close 2nd. I’m extremely excited about creating my documentary about Ross students – the challenges they face, stigmas they must endear, and wonderful people they meet.

After meeting with Naomi today I have realized that I must identify the strong moments within my current film, elaborate on those, and then form my direction and story arc that effectively impacts my audience. It’s challenging to understand the message I want to convey through my documentary, but also exciting. I am looking forward to interviewing more students and faculty later this week, and further understanding the story and message within my documentary. It’s been extremely interesting and motivating to further understand my feelings and thoughts regarding this documentary through filming and talking with students.

The goals that I have set for myself are challenging but necessary to complete a product that sends a powerful message. I need more interviews that drive students to truly think about how they feel about their Ross experience. I need to identify the strong moments within my piece and use those to develop my story arc. And I need to thoroughly edit the technical pieces of my footage so that they enhance my story rather than detract from it.

That being said, this photo accurately sums up how I feel about this week and life in general.

drowning in paperwork

Why I Write III

My title “Why I Write III” was simply an attempt to poke fun at the fact that not only did George Orwell write an essay with the same title, but Joan Didion claims she “stole the title for this talk from George Orwell.” She claims that one reason she likes the title is simply the way it sounds, and I would have to agree with her.

She goes on to say that writing “is an act of saying I, imposing yourself on other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act.” This resonates with me, as an assertive and often domineering voice, in that writing is constantly a form of communication but often persuasion. Another specific piece of the essay that resonated with me was “grammar is a piano I play by ear….all I know about grammar is its infinite power…The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind.”

I found this lecture so inspiring that I decided to investigate Joan a bit more, and found a quote that truly defines why I write:

“We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.” – Joan Didion

This truly encapsulates why writing is essential to my life – I have a horrible memory, and I want to be able to treasure my experiences and feelings and thoughts. I want to remember who I was and who I am in each and every moment, and the thoughts and feelings that form that being. And by thoughts I mean that writing is not only a form of recording events, dialogue, and moments, but a medium of expressing one’s most inner thoughts and feelings. I think often incredible, profound and unique thoughts are lost in the jumble and chaos of daily life, and writing down those thoughts can save them before they fall into the deep abyss of lost ideas.

Writing is really the only intimate time we have with ourselves and our own inner thoughts. Whenever we speak, we are usually directing it toward a certain individual, but writing can be indirect or direct, and directed toward someone or no one at all. I think often this ability to be in touch with oneself is why certain people disdain writing – you hear of students dreading their academic essay, or even 4th graders complaining about writing a story. It’s because as individuals we are afraid to be alone in our thoughts, and even worse, physically manifest our thoughts in a form of writing that could potentially reveal our true selves before we are ready to realize that truth.

But this truth, this net catching our ideas, thoughts, loves, and who we are before they reach the empty abyss of forgotten memories – is why I write. I write to remember, to love, to understand, to feel. I write to never forget who I am.

Software Solutions

I spoke with my former Film teacher and decided to work with the software Final Cut Pro (luckily my brother has it on his computer, so I won’t need to purchase it) and use an HDCam or Canon cameras as my device for recording video. I borrowed the hardware from the MLB media center and found it was relatively easy to use.

I haven’t been able to start editing via Final Cut Pro but I am guessing that will require a lot of guidance from my brother who has used it to edit videos in the past. I have worked with iMovie before but Final Cut Pro is much better quality, so I think the challenge will be worth the result.

As far as my storyboard, I realized I really only have 3 different main shots that will be contributing to my film, the first being longtakes of Ross culture via the Winter Garden, cafe, 2nd floor, etc. The second shot will mainly consist of interviews with students or educators across a table view in the study rooms in Ross. Finally, the last take will mainly consist of classroom shots with audio coming from interviews.

I am excited to begin the recording process, and welcome any feedback regarding my storyboard or device/software use!