The “stumble” button

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about digital rhetoric is both broad and boring: the internet. Obviously the internet is a form of digital rhetoric; it can only be accessed through a screen (thus, digital) and contains infinite written words, pictures, and other forms of communication (rhetoric). So I decided to pick another form of digital rhetoric, a website that causes me to waste too many hours of my day on the computer: StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon is a website that helps people navigate through all the rhetoric that is the internet.

You must make an account (for free) and then the site asks its users to “favorite” different types of websites. Once you’ve told Stumbleupon about all of your favorites things, the stumbling begins. The website takes you to every kind of site you could possible imagine–from fashion to cooking to serial killers (my favorite, obviously). It makes the overwhelming internet a little more manageable by sorting through things you don’t like, and handing you the ones you do with the click of a “stumble” button.

 

My "interests" on StumbleUpon. These are the websites stumbleUpon takes me to when I press the "stumble" button
My “interests” on StumbleUpon

When I’m really bored, I’ll stumble through every single one of my 53 interests at random. If I’m in the mood for one particular topic, say fashion, I’ll just stumble through fashion websites. StumbleUpon is a double edged sword: I learn so much from browsing through its database but at the same time, every time I use it I feel myself becoming progressively lazier. It has everything right there! No search bars are necessary when all I have to do is click “stumble” and I can look at any website I want. Use stumbleUpon when you’re bored or when you want to learn something new. But trust me from personal experience, it is addicting.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/about

Let’s Talk About Texting

As I sat down to write this blog about how I’m still struggling with my repurposing project, my phone buzzed. Then it buzzed again, and again, and continued to buzz until I wanted to throw it against a wall. It was my group text with friends at school—I’m the only one who went home for the weekend and they were trying to decide where to eat for breakfast. As I mindlessly scrolled through these texts that I cared very little about, I realized that I was reading writing, reading words someone typed up in order to get a message across. Texting has changed the way people communicate. Not just in the sense that kids who grew up with phones it their hands will probably start writing papers for school in “text talk” (OMG lol ik! Sry bout tht…), but it has exponentially sped up the communication process. No more hand-written letters or even phone calls that force you to wait for someone to pick up; texts are instant. A texter only has to type a few buttons and then their words are instantly sent to whomever they want, wherever they want.

Is this a good thing? Should people be constantly connected to one another even if it means people may struggle with face-to-face communication or knowing where to put a coma? I know that the texting debate is a hot one, and that those who love it and those who hate it both make valid arguments.I also know that without it, I wouldn’t be able to talk to my friend in Scottland every day or to know what my friends in Ann Arbor are eating for breakfast (not that I really care). Texting doesn’t improve vocabularies and it doesn’t help people communicate in person. It does, however, allow people to stay in touch no matter where they are in the world. I don’t know where exactly I stand in the texting debate. Part of me thinks it’s great that we can communicate with whoever we want so often and so easily, but another part of me hates that fact that the kids I babysit don’t talk to each other because they are too busy finding out the newest gossip from their friends.

I don’t know where I stand in the texting debate–probably somewhere in the middle– but I do know that texting is a form of writing that is not going away anytime soon.

The Serial Killer Problem

This post is going to be short because at this point, it’s about problems I’m having with the paper…

Since 8th grade, I’ve been obsessed with serial killers. I started watching Criminal Minds and became immediately enthralled by the work of the FBI agents. I wanted to analyze the minds of lethal killers and not only catch them, but decipher why they operated the way they did–just like the FBI agents in the show. This repurposing project has finally given me the opportunity to explore the nature of serial killers in depth.

Unfortunately, I started writing the draft today and ran into a problem. Because I want to use real events, narrating the paper as a serial killer makes it waaaayyy too disturbing. No one wants to read (and I don’t want to write) about how a serial killer murdered his/her victim. Right now, I’m trying to brainstorm different ways to write about the same topic. I’ve considered writing from an agent’s perspective about either how the killer was caught or why the criminal felt the need to kill. I also think it would be really interesting to write a more academic “nature vs. nurture” type of paper about why serial killers kill. Although I think I may get more out of writing the latter, I’m worried it requires too much research to write about in the allotted time. Any advice??

 

 

WeWoreWhat

I have never actually followed a blog. I get kind of bored scrolling through websites on line so I always figured blogs weren’t for me. My friends, obsessed with their food and fashion blogs, have attempted to turn me– they’ve had no success. For this assignment, I decided to look at one that my best friend raves about: We Wore What. We Wore What is a fashion blog written by a New York City girl who decided she wanted to share her love of fashion with the world. She posts outfits she sees on people all over the city–as well as her own–to give followers style inspiration. As someone who loves fashion, I really like this blog because on top of getting to see creative outfits, each item of clothing has a link to the store it came from. This allows followers to not only see what they like, but to buy things, too. I also like exploring We Wore What because it could not be more simple to navigate. On the top of the home page there are seven different tabs that take you to different components of the blog. This lets followers see everything they want to without having to endlessly scroll through pages and pages of material. Danielle, the blogger, sorts posts by month so followers are able to select what they’re viewing. The blog is also aesthetically pleasing (at least for people interested in fashion). She chooses very neutral colors for all the words on the blog, allowing the photographs of clothing to really pop. Recently, Danielle added a new tab to her blog: Music. By including a music competent, Danielle is able to reach broader audience than if she just posted pictures of clothing. I think the exigence for We Wore What revolves around both composer and audience; Danielle loves to share her passion and followers of the blog feel inspired by its posts. I don’t know if I’m going to become an avid blog reader after this assignment, but I’m thrilled that it led me to look at one I like.   http://weworewhat.com/2014/06/

"We Wore What" Homepage
“We Wore What” Homepage
A post about "creating shapes" with clothing from June of this year.
A post about “creating shapes” with clothing from June of this year.

 

Style Matters

Long before I started to write, I fell in love with dance. When I turned three I had my first dancing birthday party, and every subsequent year after that (until around 12 probably) I did the same. Dance relies on a choreographer’s style: there are only so many movements, but the choreographer’s decision about how to string them together is what makes meaningless movements into a meaningful dance. Writing works in the same way. I always knew style was important, but until this assignment I never really realized how much it can change writing.

I’ve always been told my style is “conversational.” According to my many English teachers throughout the years, “I write like I talk,” which is great until I get assigned a research paper or another form of academic writing. Being a writing tutor at Sweetland has definitely helped me adapt my style, as it allows me to read papers written by different students in different disciples, that all have their own style.

Rewriting a paragraph from my Sweetland writing tutor application in a George Orwell-esque style, I realized how wordy I can be sometimes. His writing is so clear and straightforward, I’d like to adopt that voice in some of my writing. Maybe my “Why I Write” assignment will be my first shot at it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the answer to “Why I Write,” and I’m still struggling to figure it out. I have no desire to be an author or a journalist, and I’ve honestly never been a huge fan of blogging. So why bother writing? I guess I  write because until time travel becomes a thing, it’s the only medium to put me in the past and the future. I write because I think it’s fun and I like when my writing makes people think. I also write because I think writing makes people smarter. I don’t know if all of these have equal bearing or if they’re good reasons at all, but hopefully this next assignment will help me figure it out.

Is anything inherent in writing?

When I think of writing, I think of what I am used to writing in school.  I think about research papers and analytical essays. I do not think of tweets, headlines, or schedules. More specifically, I think about creative words and coherent sentences, not short hand notes or abstract photography. Completing the “what counts as writing” assignment and reading what my classmates had to say opened my eyes to the importance of writing for disciplines that may not be academic.

A schedule, for instance, did not strike me as a typical or important form of writing. When I think writing I think sentences, and I definitely don’t use sentences in my schedule. My schedule- quite literally- runs my life. It tells me what I need to do, when I need to do it, and who I need to do it with. I hand write it, so it also serves as a doodle pad and a journal when I feel the need to get some thoughts down on paper. I never realized how important the actual writing on my schedule was until this assignment. I write in short hand, barely legible print that no one else could possibly understand, but I could not get through the day without it.  I don’t use sentences or punctuation, I make up words, and no one else would understand it, is it still writing?

The other post that stood out to me was the painting. A painting communicates the same way as, say, a persuasive essay or a narrative. The painter creates a piece of artwork to try and get across some sort of message- be it trying to convince viewers to believe something or to simply tell a story. But paintings have no words, so can they still be considered a form of writing?  In Enni’s post, she showed a mural that was created when words were not an option. But what about now? Are words inherent in writing? I definitely don’t have an answer, but it’s a question this assignment made me think about.