Finalized E-Portfolio!

I can’t believe I’m actually typing this…my e-portfolio is complete! Although I may miss constantly experimenting around with the design aspects and procrastinating from doing other assignments, the time has come to publish it. I’ve had so much fun working on my e-portfolio, from experimenting with Wix formats to simply incorporating all of my writing in one place. Under “Current Writing Endeavors,” I’ve linked all of my, shocker, current writing endeavors, which will make this e-portfolio great to show employers, etc. It’s crazy that this semester is already over–but I am so beyond thankful for having met an amazing group of writers, who truly aided me in growing within my own writing and creating my own identity as a writer. Pretty much, I just have to say that the minor in writing program is absolutely amazing thus far, and I am eager to see what it has in store for me in the future. I wanted to give a quick shoutout to Shelley Manis, along with my peers within the gateway course, for creating such an inviting atmosphere where we were truly able to grow and widen perspectives based on sharing ideas, peer reviews, and the introductory process within the minor as a whole.

I am truly proud of what has been accomplished within my e-portfolio, and hope that others find the same value within it that I have. One quick side note that I learned from typing a majority of my e-portfolio on the Wix site itself–Word is a savior. I’ve always been ignorant to the ways that Word underlines words that are spelled wrong, but once that is taken away from you, and you read through your project numerous times and STILL fail to catch all of the spelling errors (I had to copy and paste everything into word just as a final check…) you realize how amazing that feature is. So snaps for Word and its grammar functions. And so, goodbye for now, and read up! Click here to access my e-portfolio–or if Wix is acting weird, just copy and paste this URL http://bhberg.wix.com/eport-berg.

 

Re-purposing in Progress

Re-purposing proposal in progress sounds like a tongue twister, or just some great alliteration–but seriously, everyone should try this tongue twister challenge, it’s disturbingly hard. Now back to the topic. My re-purposing revisions so far are going great–in my head. I haven’t actually planned them out on paper yet, mostly because I like to congregate all feedback before revising again, and possibly a hint of procrastination. But I have thought about it thoroughly, scouts honor.

fd0b6c5bc5d8df240318bf0eb00e4fb869I was truly pleased with the feedback I received from my peers–convinced I just have the best blog group (represent). I had included a lot of self-reflective questions and comments, and their feedback really helped to clarify different ideas I had going on in my mind. I’ve ultimately decided to narrow down the amount of tweets I use within the writing, and focus on a few key ones (maybe 5?) I also am seeking out different satirical college twitter accounts to widen my scope, but keep returning to the question on whether I should center my topic around Greek Life–which is what I currently have. Being a member of Greek Life, there are a ton of stereotypes surrounding drinking, date parties, mixers, etc. that are far from accurately describing the community members as a whole. For that reason, I feel like I could also take the second draft in a way that focuses on satirizing stereotypes perpetuated solely against college Greek Life. My brain is still working around that one.

That’s pretty much where I currently stand–attempting the finalize the scope, and narrowing down my examples. I received great feedback on my voice throughout, which was something I was nervous about and relieved to hear it was working. It’s the worst when I think that I’m funny, but no one else does. It’s just plain awkward. Please feel free to incorporate more ideas for my next draft, I’m all ears and love receiving feedback!

 

 

Triumphs and Challenges: The Re-purposing Process

When first beginning this process in class this morning, I was a bit overwhelmed. As I heard the clacks of the keyboards around me–and the blaring music through another student’s headphones across the room after I had just addressed that was my biggest pet peeve *aheem–I began a slight internal panic. While looking for sources, I realized I wanted to ultimately change what I had originally planned out.

As a refresher: My piece is about college alcohol use, and it’s stereotypical norm within the college culture of partying and such. Originally, my piece was a high-school written blog post against underage drinking, and I chose to turn it into a more informed and informational “guidance” piece addressing news stories of drinking gone wrong in colleges. And then, as I researched, I decided to make this more of a satirical piece. I decided that I wanted to use tweets from accounts such as Total Frat Move (TFM) and Total Sorority Move (TSM), and satirically reinforce this college drinking culture off of the assumption that partying and getting drunk is all that college students care about.

So at this point I knew a little bit about what I wanted to do, but wasn’t exactly sure how to format it. And as I heard those around me typing up a storm, it appeared that everyone else had a solid plan ahead of them–and I was left pondering. I turned to the extremely reliable and accurately collegiate representation of college life, TFM and TSM to browse their twitter feeds. Although I found much enjoyment out of the many ignorant and humorous posts, it was all for research (awesome research).

 

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Since my topic is about drinking and the college alcohol culture, I looked for different tweets that directly had to do with drinking, to use them in my blog post. And let me tell you, these accounts tweet a lot. That was some tough research to look through.

Once I found the researched material, I needed to figure out what actually to do with it. This is where I struggled, because I wasn’t really sure how to exactly embed these tweets into my argument in an interesting way. I didn’t want to simply use them as support, but wanted to respond and interact with them–so that’s exactly what I decided to do.

I wrote a quick intro, and attempted to highlight my satirical voice so audiences get the idea that I am in fact not being serious in my tone. Then, I simply responding to the tweets, using “college” experiences. I embraced the stereotyped, emphasized drinking in all aspects of college life, and am praying that it comes out funny.

Something that I am still struggling with in the drafting process is sources. I didn’t originally plan on limiting the topic to the stereotypes of drinking in Greek Life, but since my main two sources at the time are directly associated with Greek Life, I guess that is something I can adapt to–being a member of Greek Life myself, I can use own observations/experiences as support. Does anyone have any recommendations of Twitter accounts or such that relate to college drinking cultures? I can then embed other sites to widen my range, and play off of their tweets sarcastically as well.

I am not completely finished with my drafting process yet, but wanted to gather more insight and opinions from peers on how they think I should end the piece. Should sway away from the satirical genre at the end and highlight the reality of college? Go against the stereotype? Or I could continue with the same genre throughout, yet I don’t know if that will necessarily make an apparent argument. Opinions are welcomed!

Repurposing Ideas–College Alcohol/Drug Use

After leaving class following the discussion with my partner, I felt extremely motivated and ready to tackle the repurposing project ahead. That may sound eager, and I can’t promise I will be feeling the same way once the project is in full force, but at that specific moment in time–I was motivated. Originally, I brought in three different pieces of writing, all which were blog posts written by me in high school. At the time, they were published on Patch.com (AOL’s online newspaper), and I held the title as their student columnist. The articles talked about controversial teen issues, and ultimately, I chose to repurpose the article dealing with underage drinking and drug use.

While discussing with my partner, we believed this article to be the most beneficial to repurpose since it still was so applicable to college life. The other options were talking about leaving home to go away to college, and having a “teenage temper tantrum,” but we felt like the most could be done with the topic of alcohol and drugs. For the structure of the original article, it was simply an opinionated blog post based on personal experiences. Although it used linguistic modes of conveying my points, there was no actual research or statistics supporting my ideas.

For repurposing this piece, I plan to add in multiple different modes. Firstly, I want to further the linguistic mode of writing by adding in factual evidence to support my points. We talked about various different ways to change this piece around–making it all fact based, a news story, a personal story, etc.–but ultimately I decided to go with more of a narrative approach, or possibly still a news story format (still in the works–maybe making it look like an actual newspaper article?). I want to convey personal stories and possibly interviews, followed by factual evidence that supports the points. I think this will make the writing stronger by incorporating both personal elements and facts to educate others. Additionally, I want to add in visual elements to attract and “entertain” readers. I find that individuals are more inclined to fully read and engage in a piece of writing when there are other elements involved aside from simply the linguistic writing itself. I am not positive on the exact visual elements that I want to incorporate yet–possibly charts to creatively display the presented facts–but am open to additional suggestions if anyone has any!

Ultimately, my partner and I discussed how I can make this powerful: appeal to issues today. By looking at news stories from colleges surrounding alcohol, and issues stemming from alcohol/drug related activities, I want to convey how the “college culture” combined with an assumption of constant alcohol intake as the norm is causing issues nationwide. Although I know it is impossible to eliminate all underage drinking/drug use, I want to end by offering suggestions for safely engaging in such activities and how as a college-cultured society, we can reassess our drug and alcohol behaviors.

Genre Analysis: Writing on the Road

Due to the fact that I am traveling out of town this weekend, the genres of writing I have observed may seem a little different than most. As I engage in a 4.5 hour car ride, I am afforded much free time to read the words surrounding me on my drive—but don’t worry, I am the passenger, so such distractions are not dangerous. At first, I didn’t think I would be able to find enough genres of writing while traveling on the highway through Michigan, and would need to wait to do the assignment until I found wifi and could browse the Internet—but I was wrong. As I sat in the car, I noticed much more writing surrounding me that I was previously ignorant to.

Bumper Stickers: Many cars passing by are decorated in bumper stickers. The bumper stickers differ, but many of them are Bumper-Stickersreligious or political. Due to this, I would categorize these pieces of writing within the category of religious/political speech. The bumper stickers use a variety of colors, fonts, and even photos to spread their message and attract an audience. Since they are placed on the outside of cars, it appears they are seeking by-passers who many be intrigued with their message and further research it. For example, if the driver of another car is neither religious nor interested in politics, viewing the promotional writing on the bumper sticker may cause this driver to actively seek out and gather more information on the topic.

Road Signs: The signs along the road are kept short and sweet. Their target audiences are the drivers on the highway, so they must be kept short in order to keep from distracting the driver. The signs are not in full sentences, nor do they use forms of punctuation. They typically break up a sentenroad_signsce into its simplest components, so that the general idea is expressed. For example, instead of saying why a road is closed or offering a formal warning, a sign may read, “Road Closed Ahead.” The genre of such writing would be informational, as its purpose is to inform drivers on upcoming roads, conditions, and exits.

License Plates: While many license plates are made up of random letters and numbers, others areWehvfun-license-plate strategically planned out. Along the drive, the numerous amounts of cars ensure that you will come across at least a few comical license plates. The audience of this writing is other drivers or individuals that pass the car, along with the driver itself. While others are commonly reading the license plates as they pass, the owner of the car ultimately created this personalization to his or her car—for their own enjoyment and others’. This genre of writing would be categorized as personalized, and commonly comical writing. As for modes used, since there is not much room for other aspects aside from the writing itself, the use of literary skills is applied as individuals cleverly shorten and combine words to read a specific way.

Maps: Although not using a traditional paper map, and have opted to take advantage of Google Maps, there is still writing involved. The genre itself would be categorized as an overall map, and aims to help individuals get frort3m one place to another. The writing is descriptive, but also concise. Again, individuals reading this genre of writing are typically on the road, and can’t keep their eyes off of the road for very long. Additionally, while the writing has to be short, it also has to be useful enough to guide a driver to their destination. Due to this, maps will specify what turns to take, the names of roads, and minuet details to keep their audience on track—the drivers. Maps use a large visual aspect in their presentation, along with important research. The maps must know all directions—especially if they speak directly to the user. By the use of photos and audio, they help a reader clarify their location and ensure they are staying on track.

Food Wrappers: I never thought too much about the writing present on bags of chips or boxes of chocolate—we are clearly having a very healthy and vegetable filled car ride—but some packages help to tell the story of their product. Specific brands, whether they’re made organically, from a family-owned company, etc., add a story about what they’re se2011-07-Food-Packaging-7lling. The audiences of such writing are both buyers and prospective buyers, as the writing helps to convince individuals to purchase the product. The genre of this writing is typically persuasive or personal, as the writing aids in ensuring buyers that they are receiving the highest quality products, and are commonly paired with a background of the company itself. Some writings also include websites or online aspects to find out more information about the product or company, encouraging readers to connect with them on multiple different platforms.

Blog Post 1: Didion/Orwell/Sullivan Readings

In a strange way, I believe that it’s reassuring to hear the struggles of professional writers. Not that I’m encouraging any writer to fail–that would neither be kind of me nor good karma for my own writing career–but I enjoy hearing and reflecting on their hardships. Now, while that may seem to be a strange fascination, I believe that hearing their journey resonates with my own writing.

Throughout George Orwell, Joan Didion, and Andrew Sullivan’s pieces on why they write/blog, they all documented specific hardships that truly made me think of myself as a writer and overall, my experiences through writing. There was no one piece where I didn’t feel some kind of connection, making me wonder if all writers are more alike than I thought. We all try to believe that we’re especially unique and creative in the ways we write and think, which I’m sure in many ways we are, yet the similarities between writers is no coincidence.

Starting with Orwell’s piece, I could agree with him within his first few sentences when he writes the following: “From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-four I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books.” Although book writing was never quite for me, I too knew from an early age that I was destine to write. In fact, my love for writing prospered in my 2nd grade creative writing unit. Yet, as I grew older and the technological age emerged, I was surrounded by negative feedback in relation to a career in journalism or writing in general. People claim it’s a dying field, that no one can find a job in the industry, and the list goes on. And so, for awhile, I tried to abandon this love and search for another passion. But I failed in my attempt, and like Orwell, have accepted that writing is what I will do.

Didion’s writing was comforting to me in her modesty. For such an amazing writer, she claims she doesn’t know how to think. I laughed when I read that, as she is such an inspiration to many young writers. But Didion’s concerns are ones that I have been faced with myself in a different capacity. The way I write is conversational, it has always simply been like that. My favorite kind of writing is informal, as if I’m speaking to a friend across the computer screen. Yet many times, I worry that my writing does not sound intellectual enough–that I am not thinking in the ways that a professional writer should. Of course, we all have our own writing styles; writing would be so monotone without differing styles. But, I still concern myself with the idea of not thinking like a professional writer, although I have yet to find one specific mold of such.

Sullivan’s piece was one that strongly resonated with me I believe, since most of my writing is done in blog form. Through reading his article, I became aware of aspects of my own writing that I wasn’t necessarily conscious of before. Although I agreed with the majority of what he wrote, one specific part stood out to me: the vulnerableness of blog posts. Blogging is immediate, emotional, and not very private. Blogging after a rage of emotions, laying everything out on the table and then posting it to the public is absolutely terrifying–but completely rewarding at the same time. As Sullivan talked about in his piece, with companies, a writer has the backing of the entire publication and “harassment” or critique isn’t necessarily only on the writer themselves, but that’s not the case with blogging. When a post is published, comments and responses flow in almost immediately, with only your name and reputation attached. What if individuals don’t like it? What if people think it’s absolutely terrible? What if everyone views you as a terrible writer? All possibilities, but I’m glad I wasn’t the only one thinking about it.

And so, it is definitely comforting to hear these professional writers struggle in many of the same ways that I have, and currently am, within my own writing. Hopefully that means I am on the right track.

Who I Am

“Who are you?” That is always such a strange question to answer. I could explain myself in many ways–I am a student, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a horrendous skier, and the list goes on. But for the purposes of this course, and this blog, I am here as a writer. I am an individual who is curious about learning everything there is to know about writing, about voice, about connecting with an audience. And right now, I am the person sitting at the corner table of a crowded Starbucks.

 

Answering the question of what kind of reading I like to do is much easier than answering who I am, in my personal opinion. That is because what I like to read is exactly what I like to write. My favorite kinds of readings are those which are conversational, connect with an audience, and make a reader feel as though they are truly speaking with a friend. I crave readings that are humorous, even a little sarcastic, and are overall relatable. It’s those readings that make one laugh at the words on the page, and even laugh at themselves, that I feel are most special.

 

So that is where I leave you for my first blog post–a vague response to who I am, but a definite knowledge of my favorite type of readings. I hope that throughout this course and my future writing in general, I will be able to engage a reader with that same conversational tone and spurts of humor that are so enjoyable for myself to read. And I promise that I will try to the best of my ability to avoid the cheesy stuff, but sometimes, it just happens.