Indecisiveness and ePortfolio “Other Writing”

For someone who is usually so scatterbrained when it comes to making writing decisions, I’ve been surprisingly focused when it comes to designing my ePortfolio. With the timeliness of my beginning to apply to internships to this summer, the idea of having a synthesized, digital timeline of my writing development to present to potential employers has been particularly motivating.

With that said, I have had a general idea of the “other writing” I want to include in my ePortfolio. Optimally, I’d like to incorporate my personal food/restaurant blog, some kind of sample from my internship at Food Network Magazine this summer, and my Writing Minor Blog. However, I haven’t determined which portions of those writings and in which way I want to include. I would love some suggestions!

For my food blog, I’m toying with the idea of linking to one of my favorite/most impressive posts, and from there my readers can explore the rest of the blog. Do you guys think that will be a thorough enough representation of my blog?

I’m most indecisive about which professional writing samples to include. Some of the samples that do not necessarily display the most creativity utilized a lot of sales related skills. A lot of the examples are pitch presentations, restaurant guides, or data compilations rather than creative writing. Do you guys think those kinds of examples would be valuable to include as well?

I just wish we could go back and play around with Wix templates more! But I know the final product will be something I’m really proud of.

The Digital Imperative

I find myself struggling to comb through many of the readings I have to do for other classes. It’s hard to stay engaged with these dry readings, especially when they do not seem current relevant to what I’m learning.

Elizabeth Clark’s article was different. Reading this article, I was proud of the digital rhetoric pedagogy we have adopted in Writing 220. As I’ve begun interviewing for internships for this summer, one community I’ve stressed as being highly important to me is that of our writing minor cohort. I think that so much of that sense of a tight-knit community has been facilitated by the digital conversations we’ve been engaging in.

I love the in-class peer review workshops as well, but what I love most is the blog. I find myself reading posts outside my blog group, even outside of our section, because they are so inspiring. These posts involve a lot of insight that I don’t necessarily think would be provoked in an in-person workshop.

In an age where many my age are more comfortable texting and emailing than speaking on the phone or in person, the experience of creating digital rhetoric comes easily and inspires creativity. I believe the benefits Clark reviews (community, collaboration, etc.) can be extended to include creativity, inspiration, and constructive-critique.

Me, the techie?

Not gonna lie, working with two unfamiliar tech platforms simultaneously this week was a little overwhelming. After settling on a Tumblr page for my remediation project, I got straight to finding and organizing content for my blog. As I said in my last post, finding advertisements, photos, videos, and news stories was the easiest part. Attempting to create an infographic about Sabra Hummus, on the other hand, was the trickier part. The latest issue I have run into is not being able to download my infographic as PDF without paying $20 plus. If anyone has any suggestions regarding how I can share my infographic for free by downloading it instead of solely sharing the link, please let me know! I’ve attached links to initial drafts of both my Tumblr page and my infographic below:

http://sarahschumanhummus.tumblr.com/

https://infogr.am/app/#/edit/sschuman_1415127458

Remediation screenshot

Surprisingly, I’ve found myself enjoying the ePortfolio creation process. I came into it with a clear purpose and clear audience, which has shaped my mock-up. I want my ePortfolio to be clean, professional, and simple to navigate. I want it to be the kind of thing I can attach at the end of an email to a potential employer alongside my resume and cover letter. Thus, I definitely want to include extracurricular writing pieces as well. I’m a little worried about the challenges I’m anticipating once I start integrating actual content into my portfolio, but for now I’m liking the process of design and navigation. Here’s what I’ve accomplished as of now:

http://editor.wix.com/html/editor/web/renderer/render/document/2718fbe3-1f83-4fb7-87b2-21c4289a8c23?metaSiteId=1d4a0725-f8ba-494a-844f-1657e97842be#!the-minor/cm8a

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 2.57.36 PM

 

Diving in Headfirst

Admittedly, I was terrified to add a foreign technological component to my Tumblr. I was a wimp and decided to add the easiest media to work with to my blog first, and save the infographic, which I have never done before, for last. So I started with pictures, videos, podcasts, and news articles until Naomi encouraged us to step out of our comfort zones.

So far, so good. I began creating an Infographic about the history of Sabra Hummus that I want to model after this clever example from Bon Appetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/trends/article/huy-fong-s-sriracha-hot-sauce

The platform I’m using, Infogram, is fairly simple. It’s free, and it has a ton of well-designed free templates. It’s drag-and-drop technology is super easy to learn and I feel comfortable adding text and images. It even saves automatically. The only caveats are that you cannot adjust text size (or text formatting in general), which is annoying because I want to add in links as captions to photos, and I don’t want them to be super big. I also wanted certain parts of the timeline on my infographic to have larger fonts than others, but I will have to play around with and readjust the look of my infographic in general to make certain parts of my text stand out more than others.

This screenshot doesn’t cover the majority of the content of my infographic, but it gives you an idea of where I’m going in terms of design. Let me know if you have any suggestions, especially if you have used this technology before.

Beginnings of my infographic...

The Scarecrow and Digital Rhetoric

The home page for Chipotle's "Scarecrow" campaign website.

When discussing what can and cannot be considered digital rhetoric in class on Tuesday, I found the lines to be a little fuzzy. In the blog article we read for class, multiplayer games like “World of Warcraft” were considered digital rhetoric while other visual media like YouTube videos could not always be classified as digital rhetoric.

Still, I find the Chipotle Scarecrow campaign, a multi-faceted campaign, an effective example of digital rhetoric. Through the use of a game, a short film, and facts, Chipotle aims to educate people about healthy alternatives to processed food, animal confinement, and the use of toxic pesticides in our food supply.

I know that the first time I watched the short film, I was shocked at how sad an animated film of animals could make me feel. The film uses scarecrows as symbols of those interested in healthy and safe food production methods and industrial giant “Crow Foods” as a symbol of the corporations exploiting animal and human safety to make money in their food production. In this dystopian fantasy world, the scarecrow seeks to provide an alternative to these unsustainable ways of processing food (and offers Chipotle as a leader of that movement).

The video, in combination with the game, is an effective, affective, and interactive way for Chipotle to send a strong human interest message. Chipotle’s exigence is clear: if the video and game is able to invoke the emotional response it did in me in other customers, they will be able to make a significant social change.

 

 

My brother, the texting poet

This weekend, my little brother Joey is coming to visit. He is a senior in high school, and, though he may not admit it, considers Michigan a dream school and would be devastated if he were to be rejected.

Joey is an incredible writer. My dad, a former creative director at an advertising agency turned creative consultant and business owner, passed on a writing-skills gene that I am convinced somehow skipped me. In addition to his eloquently written school assignments, he serves as editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper.

As silly as it may seem, Joey’s best writing, in my opinion, comes from his text messages. I am the more extroverted sibling and he the more introverted sibling. While he is a man of few words, every word he says has greater bearing than the sum of all of my jibber-jabber.

Honestly, usually I am the one initiating text convos between the two of us. But each of his responses, even when they’re only one word, seem to have a lot of thought behind them. It makes the rare days when we decides to text me a question, or to vent about something at school or with my parents, feel that much more special.

As I said, Joey is freaking out about college applications, and about Michigan in particular, but as a man of few words, I notice many of his moments of anxiety through his little text questions. Still, if he can write college applications with the depth and sincerity with which he composes his text messages, as silly as it sounds, I know he’ll have a fighting chance.

Repurposing the Repurposed Idea

Although I was initially deciding between a few different pieces to repurpose, I think instinctively I knew that I wanted to rethink a blog post I wrote for my personal food blog, “Piece of Cake” (http://collegegirlinafoodieworld.wordpress.com/ for everyone who’s been asking for the link!) This particular post was about a crazy delicious hummus stall my family ate at during a visit to the Arab Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. And while I knew how meaningful that dining experience was to me, I wanted to dig deeper as to why.

At first, I thought that I wanted to repurpose my blog post into an article for a culinary magazine, such as “Food & Wine” and reflect on my experience at that hummus stall while connecting my story to some greater cultural and political implications of the food we were eating and the place in which we were eating. However, I don’t think that idea was focused enough. It may be hard to seamlessly integrate research and facts with narrative, and to find that balance.

After more thinking, I’ve decided it may be more logical to separate my article into 3 parts. These 3 parts will make up an article all about hummus. While as of now, I can’t say exactly what those 3 sections will be, they will be something along the lines of:

1. The history of hummus/the history of the food in relation to Israel

2. A reflection on my unique hummus-eating experience v. what hummus is typically considered today

3. A review of a few hummus spots in Ann Arbor

My article will potentially conclude with a list of middle eastern restaurants in the Ann Arbor area and their information. I’m hoping that this new structure will aid in the organization of my paper, as now there will be clear areas to discuss history/research and clear areas for narrative. I think that this also better goes along with articles typically found in culinary magazines like “Food & Wine.” So I guess my question for my blog group, with whom I discussed my original format, is whether this new format makes sense/whether they like it? I would completely value your input before I begin writing!

momofukufor2

momofukufor2's mouthwatering crack pie recipe post

My obsession with momufukofor2 began this summer, when, I saw an Instagram post of a magical delicacy called “crack pie” and had to find out more. After a little researching, I found out that the “crack” in crack pie is a ooey-gooey, buttery filling, and that the geniuses behind this dessert had also thought one of my all-time favorites, birthday cake truffles.

…think about it. Slightly undercooked cake dough formed into delicious, rich truffle balls. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that.

After more research about Momofuku Milk Bar, the dessert spot behind all of these crazy creations, I stumbled upon momofukufor2, the genius brainchild of Maria. I wish I would have thought of the premise of her blog first: in a year’s time, she cooked and ate every recipe in the Momofuku cookbook (Momofuku Milk Bar is just one of the restaurant concepts in the NYC based Momufuku group.

I admire so much about her creativity and ideas, and use much of it as inspiration for my own food blog. Like Maria, I have a small target audience for my food blog (college students), so I look to her for tips on how to maintain a consistent voice/style that engages a target population. Her photos are beautifully composed and shot, her stories are clever and well-told, and she really makes you crave everything she writes about. Plus, she’s realistic. When a recipe doesn’t work out exactly as planned, she’s no bullshit. She takes full advantage of the creative freedoms afforded by this new media format for writing about food. She’s absolutely one of the primary creative inspirations I attempt to emulate in my own writing for fun.

Style-ish

Writers essentially distinguish themselves from one another through their style. All are given the same raw materials to experiment with; words and phrases with shared meaning. Like painters and their canvases, or dancers with a piece of music, it is up to each writer to determine how to utilize their blank slate.

When I write, I have a difficult time likening myself to a painter, a choreographer, a photographer. Some subconscious barrier prevents me from categorizing myself in the same creative realm as my peers. I realize that it’s all in my head, but sometimes I feel as if my worries about defining my writing style cloud the fact that my style is in fact existent, and is constantly in development.

I loved the style masquerade activity, because putting on the “mask” of someone else’s style was a useful way of comparing your style with someone else’s clearly defined POV. Upon seeing that I was tasked with mimicking Martin Luther King Jr’s style with my English 315 Final paper last semester, meager in persuasive power in comparison to MLK, I almost laughed out loud. But adopting his tone, word choice, and abstract/concrete language proved that embracing elements of style in my writing need not be laborious. Rather, style can be fun and easy. You could say I was surprised.

I think I want to tie in my “Why I Write” project into these realizations in some way. Most of the time, when I write, it’s because I have to. When I was younger, I was constantly sketching, writing in my diary, and writing letters and notes to family/friends. Somewhere in the sea of high school and college academic writing, I lost my creative spark and my passion for writing. I’m hoping that minoring in Writing, and being given the opportunity to explore Why I Write through different media, will enlighten that spark.

Murals=Writing? Maybe…

One of the gallery examples that surprised me, and that we didn’t discuss much in class, was the Yelp restaurant review. There is much more to these reviews that meets the eye. They fit under many of the umbrella categories of writing we discussed in class, like entertainment, advertising, and personal. While these articles aren’t held to the same standard of professionalism as an advertisement and are not being graded like a piece of academic writing, the reviews are being read critically by consumers and their selling points can be influential.

The other gallery item that gave me pause was the mural painting. After reading the description below the image, I am still unsure whether or not I would categorize the painting as a form of writing. However, Enni makes some very valid arguments on why murals can be considered writing: like writing, the murals deliver a message and express emotion. This example made me second guess my definition of writing as something that had to be done with pen and paper or by a computer.

This activity, and the reflections we have begun to analyze in Writing 220, have helped me to expand my definition of what qualifies as writing. In the “cut-up” activity, I was reminded of the creative freedom writing allows, which goes way beyond just making an argument. This “What Counts” gallery was another reminder of the creativity present in such a wide variety of writing genres. Everybody’s definitions of “What Counts” as writing can be flexible and can differ from one another, and that is where so much of writing’s creativity stems from.