Hi everyone. My name’s Sam, I’m a junior at the School of Information studying user experience design (among other things). The usual order of labels I assign to myself in an introduction is as follows—designer, student, writer, and (sometimes) technologist. If I had to describe my interests in one sentence this is that sentence: I am interested in the intersection(s) between technology, culture, and society.
Although I enjoy the process of writing, I find that I am often hampered by my inner critic. I’m hoping this program will help me break out of some of the counterproductive behaviors associated with self-criticism while allowing me to retain and even sharpen the helpful elements of my inner critic. I became interested in the Writing minor as I learned more about the program’s multimodal and experimental emphasis. I thought it would be interesting to develop my writing ability in the context of projects that also make use of other skills I have such as graphic design and coding. I also thought the minor could be helpful if it provided a framework for receiving feedback in combination with a structure for developing a consistent writing practice.
All in all, my brief experience with the writing minor has been phenomenal. I am thrilled that we are able to take a more self-directed approach to our writing. I think this type of autonomy and creative freedom will help bring out a higher level of commitment and effort to my work.
The origin piece I have decided to work with is actually the piece I used in my application for the program. The text was originally constructed as a “self-portrait” wiki page that was accessible to the students and instructors for SI 410: Ethics and Information Technology. I thought this piece was interesting because it allowed me to reflect on my own self-image and relate it to the image of myself portrayed on social media. My piece focused on the implications of persistence on our Facebook timelines. These timelines have become a (semi-)public display of our lives, visualized chronologically in the Facebook timeline. The conclusion of my piece reflected on the act of self-censoring my own Facebook profile and irreversibly deleting hundreds of old posts and comments since they no longer conformed to my current self-image.
I thought the piece would be a good origin piece because the content was interesting to me and it generated a lot of interest from others. I think there are a lot of people who are grappling with the psycho-social implications of social media in our everyday lives, and I think we as a society are still trying to understand all of the effects associated with the self-generated data, broader audiences, and persistent “self-portraits” associated with social media. I would be interested in transforming my piece’s text into a more sensuous form, making use of my interest and abilities in layout design and typography.