Portfolio Thoughts?!

My capstone portfolio looks to answer this question: Is there any such thing as authenticity?  We live in the Digital Age —  we are always meticulously crafting, curating and reconstructing our selves. Can anyone just be?

I am interested in this question because I believe the authentic aka unedited and unfiltered self is attractive and aspirational. But does authenticity even exist anymore?

I will ground my project in performance theory and theory of the self/identity construction.

My project will ultimately live on an online website.  It has a few components.  First, in order to gather information about the cultural context, I will distribute surveys to my peers.  Ideally, my survey questions will help unlock the ways in which we identify ourselves, see ourselves and present to the world.  I will also ask questions to my peers specifically about their online identities in order to discover whether there is a difference with how people really identify themselves and how people present on Facebook/Instagram. In addition to the survey questions, which will be culminated into survey data/charts, I will also interview and feature a few full profiles on my website in order to give this data a human face.  The next component of the project is a photo collage.  I will ask all participants to take a picture of themselves in a ‘natural and comfortable’ setting, holding a piece of paper with words that express ways in which they define themselves.  Next to that picture, I will have a picture of their social media profiles (facebook/instagram). This explicit contrast will hopefully draw attention to the differences between our real selves and our curated selves.
Next comes the reflective part.   I will reflect on my experience interviewing people and my findings. This will be my opportunity to delve deep into my project, my inspirations and the outcomes. This will be the crux of my deep analysis. Let me know if you have any ideas/feedback/critique… I welcome all! Thanks!

Pitch Letter: But First Let Me Take a Selfie

To My Prospective Publisher:

I’m Carly Skinder, a 21 year old navigating my way with my fellow millennials.

“But First Let Me Take a Selfie.”

Let’s face it – it’s the world we live in – a self-consumed, self-obsessed world. We are the millennial generation, the tech geeks, the social savvies, the gadget gurus. We constantly present a curated self, a filtered self on Instagram, an edited self on Facebook. What is your #unfiltered face? Do you even know? Is there such thing as authenticity in this age of selfies?

I leave the answer to that question up to my peers, the target of my research, and the most skilled curators. I will provide the platform to explore this question and we –my millennial peers and I – will unlock awareness.

This is the way. I will create a multimedia piece that will live on, only fittingly, the web. The site will house the three components of my project: the interview video-collage, the selfie collage, and a personal reflection. I will interview my peers, asking questions about their identity and ways in which they identify themselves. With their feedback, I will explore authenticity and identity construction by producing a video-collage of the culminated interviews. The video collage will be a visual narrative of individual self-reflection on a large scale. I will also ask each participant to take a selfie. I will accumulate all selfies into a selfie collage, which will be both a funny representation of our selves and also a medium to spark conversation. Does the selfie, and do social networking sites conceal authentic identity? I will reflect on this experience in a process reflection where I will situate my findings in the context of existing theories of self-identity construction.

This research is relevant. This research might be alarming. This research will be evocative. We are a generation of smarties and know-it-alls, so we must also be self-aware and introspective. We must ground ourselves in honesty and humility. We must not be distracted by superfluities. I’m guilty of editing and curating myself, but I am also self-aware and introspective. And because of this fact, I believe authenticity exists. Do you? Help me find out.

I think I’ve landed on a real insight here. I hope you’re as excited as I am to explore the results.


Carly Skinder


A sample of my work:

Part of the excitement of this project is that it gets personal. I will ask intimate questions during each interview in order to access the most truthful information about each participant, their identity, and ways in which they identify. I will then ask participants to take a selfie. Ultimately, the information generated from the interview video and the selfie collage will create a visual story. When the selfies are placed alongside one another, we will be able to generate larger conclusions as to self-identity and constructions of the self. For example, words that would be associated with my personal selfie are:

Honest. Sensitive. Extrovert.

Opinionated. Confident. Sister.

I will use the content from the video interviews in order to generate a set of attributes that are unique to each self-ie.

Making Another Writer’s Decisions

My conversation with Patrick helped me generate creative ideas for my project. Brainstorming is freer, more imaginative, innovative and far-reaching when two brains are working together rather than one. I found that I was able to generate many more ideas with Patrick’s creative juices jiving with mine – ideas that were likely richer in quality and potential than I may have otherwise been able to generate alone. My experience brainstorming with Patrick confirms the power of reflective teamwork and the capabilities of an idea.

The way in which Patrick and I brainstormed was fluid and natural. We did not try to contrive ideas for one another right from the get-go. Rather, we conversed about our interests, passions, our favorite pieces of past writing and our inspirations. I shared with him that some of my favorite pieces of writing were intensely personal – writing about myself (introspective work), writing about my family and really, anything that is honest and blunt. We connected on the basis that both of us prefer bluntness in writing. I then expressed my love for music and the power that music has on me as a calming agent. Ironically and luckily, Patrick is also a music buff. It was through our shared interests, mutual understanding and genuine learning of one another that sparked thoughtful conversation and strong areas of consideration for the project.


Patrick and I generated the below list of ideas:


List of ideas:

  • Children’s book
  • Music and the expression of the self
  • Stand up comedy
  • An Advice column
  • Write an album’s lyrics…a theme behind the album and then a story told through the album (Essentially a collection of poems)
  • Spoken word song—example: Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen-Baz Luhrmann
  • What makes people tick? What is happiness? Interviewing people who share different definitions of happiness…compilation of their interviews

I feel as though I have some possible solutions to this open project prompt. Many of the ideas we thought through resonate with me because they are personal. These ideas would blend well with my previous favorite writing pieces and would also add to my portfolio of work. Patrick suggested that I work with music in some form – either that I actually write music or write lyrics to an album. I love the idea of writing lyrics to an album. As a child, I was always a big Eminem fan…I loved the honesty of his lyrics and the storyline as each track progressed. I think it could be cool to write a series of songs – an album for all intents and purposes – that tells some kind of personal story. I could write the lyrics and even at some point create the music itself. This seems like a doable idea. It’s definitely one I am highly considering moving forward. This idea sparked some other thoughts in my mind. I have always been a fan of spoken word poetry and poetry slams. I could put together a video of the most powerful acts I’ve seen in order to make a larger statement about passions, life struggles and overcoming adversity. I would then try to film myself making my own “poetry slam” which would be the final thought of the video. Alternatively, I can treat this as a piece of writing instead of a video. I can quote the most powerful bits of writing from poetry slams, pulling from the existing talent, and add my own perspective. Essentially, I would be accessing inspirational words as a platform from which to build a larger conversation.

I’ve learned that the best advice comes from sharing interests. By being open. Because all people appreciate honesty. Patrick was able to play up my love for music and my writing style in order suggest the most helpful ideas. I feel like I have some direction moving forward.

The Sad Truth About Registration

As you all know, the course listing are out for fall 2013 classes.  As I backpacked my required classes for my major and minor, I found myself frequently accessing the professor’s review on Rate My Professor…not necessarily for a review on the professor’s overall excellence, but to see whether an A is achievable. There is such a pressure to graduate with the highest possible GPA that often, I am discouraged from taking the class with the brilliant but impossible-grading professor and I instead take the mediocre (boring) professor whose class I know I will do well in.  It bothers me that I do this because I do value my education (and stimulating education).  Still it seems, the promise of a good grade often outweighs the promise of a B+ with an amazing professor.  It’s a horrible way of going about education.  I wish I was able to thoughtlessly select the tougher professor whose class would push me outside my comfort zone instead of the professor who would help boost my GPA.

Is Writing More Permanent Than Speaking?

A few days ago the class laughed as we read aloud our past wordy, unclear and deficient writing.  Our writing sort of made arguments…but not really.  Our work sort of reached conclusions, but not sure conclusions.  Our work was, at best, fearful (as Ray says).  This got me thinking about the power of our written word versus our spoken word.  Is one more legitimate or more permanent than the other?  Is spoken word more transitory because it is guided by impulsivity and emotion? And is writing more meaningful because we put our conscious thought into physical form?

Prose Deficient

This excerpt is an introductory paragraph from a high school essay on the manipulation of time in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. As you’ll read, I use extra and unnecessary words (and many strange words…) to introduce a straight-forward concept. I also phrase sentences wordily.  Woops.

“Oftentimes, authors stray from a purely linear plot structure in order to advance the novel in a more intriguing way.  In The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark plays with narrative chronology for other purposes as well. Through Spark’s third person omniscient narration, the reader learns of the futures of many of the children of the Brodie Set and ultimately the conclusion early in the novel.  The structural complexity of the text from the alteration of time reveals the layers of complexity in the plot itself.  Spark’s manipulation of time unravels the long-term influence of the teacher’s behavior on her students and promotes the larger political themes of the novel. “

Higher Education Bubble

I find this video to be both informative and entertaining.  It seems to target ‘college students’ as the recipients of the message, that in this economy, the cost of a college education may not necessarily be “a ticket to future prosperity.” The video clearly articulates the meaning of the ‘higher education bubble,’ its potential to ‘pop,’ and reasons to pursue alternative plans.

Below are a few quotes I found particularly ‘seductive’ towards the video’s target audience.

“Degrees do not necessarily provide you with the skills necessary to repay how much debt can you sanely amass”

“36 percent of students did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning over four years of college”

“7/10 fastest growing jobs in the next decade will be based on the job training rather than higher education”

“People pursuing these (hands on) careers will have greater job security in today’s economy and they will be free from crushing debt amassed by their peers”

Is higher education worth it?

A Girl Who ‘Moves In Her Own Way’

A Girl Who ‘Moves In Her Own Way’ – inspired by the song ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’ by The Kooks

I am:

I am:
From New Jersey. Not the Jersey Shore.

I am:
The Middle sis of three girls (I swear I’m loved)
A Family gal
A Social Butterfly
A World Traveler
A Self Proclaimed Foodie.

I am:
A Dave Matthews Band Buff
A Regular concert goer
Nearly deaf from my booming speakers

I am: