Break and Social Media; Or Why I Never Left High School

Break is a time for reconnecting with old friends one has been separated from by the cruel forces of colleges in other cities. It is for catching up, meeting up, and making time for the old high school gang. Of course, this gathering is probably less absolutely vital since the advent of social media; I can keep track of Emily, Clayton, and Jen from my own computer every day I’m in Ann Arbor. And for this I am thankful. New media is excellent for staying connected (Thanks Captain Obvious). But it is also excellent for pettiness, gossip, and fighting.

In my new media essay, I talked about how new media enables a constant stream of conversation, and how that would be great, except sometimes the conversation isn’t worth having; like when a whole bunch of commenters use the space under a kitten video on YouTube to hate on Justin Beiber. I don’t like Justin much myself, but seriously guys, his fans should not all be shot along with everyone who clicked the “Dislike” button. As much as those conversations frustrate me, they are nothing compared to drama created online by people I actually know.

For example, one friend, who shall remain anonymous, told me that she uses her Twitter account to talk about how she really feels; stuff she can’t put on Facebook. I would love to explore the norms that have evolved around which statuses belong on Facebook, and which make better Tweets, but for now I’ll stay on topic. She has been having  a conflict with another girl who is a follower of her Twitter. So Girl 2 can see everything Girl 1 posts about her, all in the spirit of catharsis. Why does my first friend feel the need to express her annoyance with people on Twitter? Why does the Internet need to know? (Asked the girl currently writing a blog post about her high school friend drama)

These same friends had an all out battle on Google Plus a few months ago, like full on Cyberbully nonsense. Foursquare, that inexplicable Smartphone mechanism which allows you to “check in” to various locations (so people can track your every move?) has also played into their fights. When one girl claimed to feel ill to avoid seeing the other, she checked into places on Foursquare, contradicting her earlier assertion that she was staying home. When these two make up, Facebook is full of back and forth Wall Posts saying “I HEART YOU BEST FRIEND” and such.

Why am I chronicling such utter nonsense? Well, honestly, because I’m frustrated, and like Girl 1, I feel better when I put my frustrations on the Internet (Someone should study this. Seriously.) and I know neither of my friends are likely to stumble upon this particular corner  of WordPress. Also, I think examining what new media is being used for, and the new ways people can fight, and express themselves, is interesting. Before all of this media, would my friends even be fighting? Probably. But maybe they would have to confront each other head on, rather than resorting to the cloak and dagger dance of social media.

Guess the Party’s not Quite Over

Anyone else notice how much this class just seems …. to stick with you – you always think you’re done with something and then you find out you should do more?   That’s a sign of valuable education.

Anyway, I guess I have to talk some more about myself, particularly my process in creating the portfolio.  It was hard work, and it was frustrating.  Self-reflection is good for the writing process, if you don’t over-think it, but while you’re writing it, it’s a pain in the butt.  Like pulling my own teeth, I swear.  That’s what made the portfolio process so annoying, because I left the self-reflection for the last minute because I had decided to create better drafts of the material I posted on the portfolio.

I am happy with my portfolio, as I have said.  I don’t think I did justice to the type of writer I wanted to portray myself as, but that is because this portfolio included mainly writing minor pieces.  I did not upload many of my professional and academic pieces simply because I had no time – this is finals season, after all.  Still, the amount of work I did for this class was staggering – and this is coming from someone who was taking upper 300 level classes all semester.  But in the end, it was a good kind of work.  I hope.  It’s just a bit hard to see the forest for the trees, around finals season.  You all know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

Aside from what I just said, that’s pretty much it.  I am “self-reflected” out.  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Enjoy your break!

The E-Porfolio Experience

Well, my e-portfolio is finished. It wasn’t as fun as I wanted it to be. I enjoyed my previous website-building experience, but this time wasn’t the same. I couldn’t find a theme on Weebly or WordPress that I was committed to. I finally chose one to finish the product. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. This is something that I will change for my next e-portfolio.

I also want to embedd the documents next time (which I was unable to due unless I upgraded to a Pro account on Weebly). I think it would look nicer. Unless it is required, I also want to have less drafts and more final drafts of writing, so I can present diverse polished works to my audience. I think for this time it was suitable since we obviously do not have four semesters of writing to pull from.

Other than that, I was happy with the theme that I chose, Opposites Attract. This theme is not explicit, but it is definitely present in each section. You just have to look for it. I do often lose people in thinking that nuance is sufficient thematically, so it will be interesting to see what people think.

As a writer, I think I showcased my interests and writing ability well. I include three external pieces in my e-portfolio that I think will tie in nicely, one on the Electoral College and two on affirmative action. However, I think I should revise them for the next e-portfolio, which I did not do thoroughly for this one.

Lastly, as this course comes to a close, I feel that I have been given a better understanding of new media and how to use it. I mean that, too, and not in a brown-nosing way. Without this course, I would have never been able to make a website, and I certainly would have never blogged. I feel like I will build upon these experiences over the coming years. I see myself creating a blog on grammar and syntax over the next couple of months to catalog my knowledge and build my writing portfolio.

Re-Mediation Reflection

Looking back at this whole website-making process, I cannot tell you how much fun I had making the website for my re-mediation project. I was able to shape the website to every whim and thought-out detail I had, which was refreshing. I have also never worked with this type of media before, which made the project exciting.

It wasn’t easy reaching the final result of my project, however, because I went through multiple revisions of what to include and take out. In the end, I was happy with the final product, but I still feel like I could have said more. I think I might update this and use it as one of my main examples in the capstone e-portfolio.

I want to know what you guys think also. If you have time, check it out: electoralcollege.weebly.com

my last words. MEOW

And yet again, I sit wondering where the time has gone–3 semesters away from graduating and I still feel like a freshman.

Ok, maybe not. I’m pretty positive that Freshman Rachel couldn’t have done this. BAM!!! But to be real, I’m not sure how I feel about my eportfolio. There’s something about it that still feels like it’s a work in progress…maybe that’s a good thing?

(Also I just realized we have a beautiful slate of text colors to play with that I neglected all semester long...SHOOOOOOT). 

I noticed that an unintentional theme started to develop as I kept adding more artwork to it, and that’s mainly because the street art I included has a more profound message than I originally intended it to have . The street signs and the painted fire hydrant all have messages that are not my own, but are shared by people of the community. The graffiti is especially moving to me, because it was created by the homeless of Ann Arbor, and some of the words and phrases reflect their deep feelings about society and the role that they play in it. The brick walls of alleyways have become the medium through which they communicate to thousands of passersby…it’s kinda like new media writing in a weird way.

Their messages reflects my theme that “everyone has something worth saying,” and that new media writing is the most effective when participants enter into it with a genuine curiosity and a mind that is willing to be shaped and challenged by others. While most of the pieces that I posted on the portfolio are argumentative essays that I’ve written in the past, I’ve come to realize that it’s the dialogues that invite others in, and encourage them to speak up that are oftentimes the most satisfying to be a part of. I began this semester thinking that whoever can pen the best articulated argument shall rein victorious, and only realized that I’d be entering into a crowded room and a yelling match with that attitude towards writing.

Much like the pieces of street art, I think that my one and only goal as a writer is to provoke thought, or at least create the space for others to by asking questions. I don’t think that an argumentative approach towards writing always creates that space quite like dialogue does.

So my friends, to be EXTRA cheesy: say what you need to say–because the world needs to hear it.

The End.

So I Guess That’s That.

Wow.

That would be one way to summarize my experience with building my e-portfolio. Although clearly that one word with three measly letters may not seem descriptive, I truly am at a loss for words. When we were first assigned the e-portfolio (not at the beginning of the class, but the actual assignment not too long ago), I remember feeling something like this…

  thinking to myself, “How on Earth am I going to do that?” The whole assignment
seemed overwhelming. In fact, this is how I felt for each assignment throughout
the
entire course. Except, I always somehow managed to exceed my expectations for
myself. I did not have any idea how to create a website, I did not even know that
the term “widget” was real. In times of real stress and panic, I kept thinking that
I was going to have to just turn in half done work. And, if any of you are like me,
that is, you are a perfectionist, I cannot turn in work that does not at least feel
above average.

But, once I finally let go of my stress and decided to start playing around with
Word Press, I found myself actually having fun. I also found myself creating
something that I was proud of and that was extremely rewarding. I knew from the start that I wanted my e-portfolio to reflect my individual personality outside of the classroom, my personal writing personality as well as my academic writing abilities. I decided to model my portfolio off of other professionals that I have met throughout various work experiences. I based my e-portfolio around the idea of how I would present myself in an interview. I wanted to present my best image to the world wide web, but I also wanted to make sure that who I really am showed through. The incorporation of the self-reflection pieces, “Why I Write” and “Writing in New Media” allowed for my creative thought process to be displayed.

I also incorporated my work from the online women’s magazine HerCampus. In addition to my academic work, these writing pieces demonstrate a different writing style. I think in any aspect of life it is important to be a versatile person. It is important to be able to adapt to different situations and that is something I also aim for with my writing. I want to be able to convey my ideas clearly through a variety of different styles as well as different mediums.

Link to my e-portfolio: DANA’S WORD PRESS

I can honestly say, although I am extremely excited to be done with this project, that I am proud of the work that I have done throughout the semester in this class and that my e-portfolio (hopefully!) displays this. Without the help of each individual in this class, I do not think that any of us could have produced the final products that we did. Feeding off of each others ideas has proved to be one of the most valuable aspects of my creativity. I enjoyed seeing what other people were doing and the interesting ways that their minds work. I hope that we can continue this process in the 400 level course next year.

So as a good bye to this blog (at least for now)…THIS IS HOW I FEEL

WAHOOO WE ARE DONE!!! 🙂

 

I SOUND MY BARBARIC YAWP

Because my portfolio IS FINALLY FINISHED. After trashing four designs, going back and forth a thousand times about how to best get my site to be a real site, countless cups of coffee, 21.5 straight hours (post design-nixing), and about 3000 lines of html and css, it is finally done. It looks like Alex beat me to the punch for using a zombie image to describe what I look, so I’ll go with this gem from Community instead.

Source: http://i806.photobucket.com/albums/yy346/underthelamppost/gifs/myemotions_troy.gif

But I’m finished. And it. Feels. Good.

I’ll just leave the link right here…

Like with most projects in this class, I really struggled to lift off the ground. My biggest breakthrough actually came when I completely messed up what I was working on. That screw-up became the foundational design for my portfolio and one of the few times I’ve been thankful for my clumsiness. I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am with this portfolio. It’s not what I wanted, it’s better. I’ve made sites before, but this is easily the one I’m most proud of. I feel like what I imagine new dads feel like (okay, maybe not that good, but I’m riding a pretty huge high right now).

If there’s anything I feel like I want to work on more, it’s the actual pieces of writing. But that’s always the case. I never feel like a paper is finished. I’m sure a few days from now, when I check my site out again, I’ll find glaring errors and nitpitcky little flaws alike, but for now, this is a success. My portfolio shows who I am as a writer, and also a little of who I am as a person. Coming off the coattails of what I thought was a complete failure (i.e. my remediation project), this is just…gah. It’s awesome. I love it. Or maybe I just love that it’s done. I don’t know, my eloquence is failing me tonight.

Exiting the gateway course, I’m just surprised at the amount of work we’re all capable of producing, and the fact that it’s quality is pretty impressive. This class has been an ultimately rewarding (though also thoroughly frustrating and exhausting) experience, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it. I guess all that’s left to say is good luck with the rest of finals week, thanks for making the semester so enjoyable, and see you all (hopefully) in the capstone course!

Done Done Done Done Done.

This marks the end of my semester! Yayyyyy! I am very glad about the way my project turned out. It is pretty much exactly what I had in mind. There were many moments during this project when I wasn’t sure if I could do it but I pushed through and Volia! being done is worth the fact that I was bawling in the fishbowl the past like 3 days because I was so frustrated with technology. The final project, though, is amazing, in my not so humble opinion.
This has been a tough process and quite frankly a very tough class for me. I never expected a writing class to be such a challenge but the technology aspect kind of threw a curve ball at me. I think that technology allows me to express myself fully as a writer. I think my e portfolio is representative of me as a writer and I think it is the perfect final project for this class!

yay! I am done. done. done. done. with the hardest semester of college!!!! I am going to go celebrate! 🙂

HALLELUJA

I am very happy with how my ePortfolio turned out!  It is very clean and simple, just how I pictured it to be.  This semester has really taught me a lot about the usefulness and importance of new media writing.  The aspect of new media writing that I find most different from traditional writing but most useful at the same time is how the design and layout can affect the argument being made.  With this in mind, I created a very clean looking portfolio that really puts my writing (and the journey I took to get to each of my final drafts) on display.  For me, a writing portfolio should be all about the writing.  I think that the clean and minimal look of my portfolio really enhances this idea but making my writing the central piece of the portfolio.

In addition to its clean look, I chose not to include any images in my portfolio other than the banner that is on the top of every page.  I did not include any pictures of myself, because I think there is something so cool about my audience getting to know me through my writing.  Not that you really know someone from a picture, but you get the point.  I think that adding a picture of myself or even of my interests does not go hand in hand with the overall purpose of my portfolio.  I really wanted to stress my writing and the journey I took to create each of my final essays, and dont think that including pictures would work to enhance this goal.

The process of creating this portfolio was actually very similar to my writing process when writing a paper.  I did a lot of writing and revising.  I also changed the layout of my portfolio several times, making the process of creating the portfolio itself very similar to the process of writing.  I think that choosing to make a sports blog for my re-mediation assignment really helped me with the design and layout of the portfolio.  After making the sports blog, I knew which of my goals were realistic and which were not.  I also was slightly more familiar with wordpress which  was very helpful.

I think that my portfolio does a good job of portraying me as a writer.  I have learned to value the writing process, and I think that my portfolio really reflects this.  I think that this comes through in the many reflections that I have for each of the Writing 200 essays, as well as on the home page where I discuss my writing and writing process.

As I leave this gateway and continue to the rest of the minor, I am excited to continue writing and put to use all that I have learned in Writing 200.  I think that the biggest thing that I have learned in this class is the value of the writing process (whether it be new media or traditional writing), and I am excited to continue learning about the writing process in the writing classes that I take in the future!

Thanks everyone for a great semester!  I have loved looking at your portfolios!

One more thing– my portfolio is complete but I have not yet officially submitted it.  I need to take a break from looking at it and then read it again later tonight with a fresh pair of eyes!