Only 140 Characters? #mixer

For my capstone project, I am writing about the connection between Twitter and the modern Olympics to understand how such global platforms can be advantageous to world peace. I hope the connections I daw will help my audience understand how social media platforms such as Twitter are changing traditional world events.

I am most excited of the opportunity to use multimedia tools like Prezi and Twitter to better engage my audience. My plan is to present my paper using these two platforms. However, this also brings me to my main concern – how can I most effectively use Twitter? I cannot tweet everything I am saying in a series of 140-characters-or-less.

 

Prezinting

For my capstone project, I am going to try to combine  new media skills in order to make my project interactive. The basis of my project will be a Prezi. Although I have worked with a Prezi before, I have never tried to do something in Prezi in too much detail. I am going to make a timed presentation, with sound and video. The sound and video will come from previous footage, and I may perhaps use my own voice to express my own opinions. I hope that this will be both visually appealing and technologically interesting in order to present my project on the modern Olympics.

When I used Prezi before, I simply used a timed presentation with words. I want to make the Prezi more interactive because I think it will help me to better present my final project and it will help me learn a new skill. This skill, of being able to present well, will help me for the rest of my life in both social and professional settings.

A Second Look at My Writing

At this point in my life, I am recognizing all of the possibilities my future could entail. I think my writing reflects that, and that is why I am excited to write. I am at the point where I take an interest in the future, whether through culture, politics or health, because I am a senior in college. I graduate in May and from there, I feel that it is truly up to me to determine my future with the support of my family and friends.

Right now, I am thinking about my Writer’s Evolution Essay and the main (subject to change) argument I am making is this:

“My writing extends from the very subjective to the very analytical and at first, my samples do not perfectly correlate. However, looking further, I realize that each sample reflects something important to me that was going on in my life at that moment. When I take a second look at my writing, I see that it reflects an abstract timeline of what I have thought about extensively”

When I think about my future, I think I incorporate inspirations from my past, present and events that have made an impact on my life. I am excited to write about these concepts because it helps me sort out my thoughts and further research what is important to me and how it relates to other people.

In the scholarly sense, I have researched everything from the history of coffee, the politics behind the Equal Rights Amendment and currently, the Olympics in the context of globalization. In contrast, I use social media to interact with my friends and because it is through sources like Facebook and Instagram, my writing and these interactions become documented. Since I am thinking about a lot of different issues, I am excited to see where my writing takes me.

Looking at Other Multi-Media Projects…

The Olympics are a project in itself because it is a process of presenting and hosting people for a certain purpose. I wanted to see how other events were handling the process of completing their presentations, and thus their projects. Like my motive for looking at the Olympics, I wanted to look at something that was also happening currently. To me, looking at the process of completing a project tells a story: how the final project was completed, who was interested and whether or not it was successful.

I wanted to look at a time-lapse story that tells how New York Fashion Week is carried out. I chose New York Fashion Week because it is supposed to be starting next week and like the Olympics, it hosts many people from many countries. In the attached video, you will be able to see how New York Fashion Week runs throughout the week. The process of the entire project is captured by the lens of the New York Post to show how people are responding to the event.

The reason I chose a video was because it is a different, visual way of showing how a project is completed. This video inspired me to look at videos not just of the Olympic events, but of the process of completing the Olympic Village and how the audience is interacting within the host city.

 

Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=time%20lapse%20fashion%20week&sm=3

 

Rethinking My Project

When I started thinking about my project, I wanted to do something related to current events. I also wanted to avoid intense political views. I decided to focus on a current event because I thought it would be a new way to commemorate something that happened to everyone during my senior year of college, and put a new spin on it. That’s when I thought about doing the Olympics: Sochi starts on Friday.

When I first started my project proposal, I was thinking about too many things at once. In short, I wanted to write about nearly everything the Olympics had to offer, besides analyzing the sports. I knew ahead of time that this was too broad, and I need to make my project more focused for it to have any real impact.

I met with Julie and it was a big help! I had thought about combining the Olympics with my major, Economics. After talking through all of my ideas with Julie, I thought the most interesting Olympic/Economic combination would be to focus on the impact economics had on the Olympics, and to extend this thought further, the impact the two had on globalization – another topic I am interested in!

Whereas before I felt overwhelmed, I now feel like I have more direction before starting my project. I am excited for the final outcome, and I hope you are too!

Before and After: Doing What The Romans Do

Looking back at the past year and a half or so, it is interesting not only to see in which ways you have changed, but also in which ways you haven’t. Personally, I have changed by becoming more self-reliant yet my penchant for trying new things has stayed the same.

My first semester in the Writing minor was during my first semester of my junior year. I lived in a house with twelve other girls. One day I found myself alone, a rare occasion. The quiet made me anxious and I was looking for something to do. Out of a combination of boredom, curiosity and spontaneity, I decided to paint my room. It seemed easy enough: I had painted before, but never a room. How hard could it be? There were no patterns and I was just using one color. After emptying the walls, I opened the can of paint and started in the middle of the wall.

I was wrong: it was not easy at all.

The paint dripped, the colors were uneven and I ended up not even having enough paint. My room started to look like a bad pattern of polka dots.  After a lot of determination and learning by experience, I finally finished the room.  Although it didn’t look professional, I was happy because I had challenged myself to do try something new.

The color only stayed for a semester because I spent my second semester studying abroad in Rome. I had not realized how much I had changed until I was in the Charlotte airport in mid-May. It was my first time in the United States in four months. After experiencing travelling for an extended period of time in a new environment, I felt more confident in my own ability to be independent and try new things. At the same time, I was still surprised by what I saw: I was in culture shock because of my own culture.

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I got off the plane that had taken off from Rome and I immediately out of place. My clothes stood out, I was not used to people greeting me in English, seeing restaurants with a variety of food from all around the world and using the Internet wherever I was. When I discovered my plane back home was delayed four hours, I decided to get rid of my culture shock as best as possible and embrace my surroundings. Just like trying to paint my room for the first time, I had tried something new and was happy with my experience. Unlike earlier that year, I travelled around with more confidence and curiosity than ever before.

Debate 2012

I feel that Andrew Rosenthal’s article in the Opinion Section of the New York Times titled, simply, “The First Presidential Debate” is a very accurate and to the point.  He does not go into detail about what President Obama and Mitt Romney said policy wise, rather how they both appeared on stage, and what they could have done.

He describes how Obama acted unenthused and unchallenging.  Obama had many opportunities to take the debate out of Romney’s hands.  He could have stuck up for his actions as his past four years as President, but did not seemed driven enough to do so.  At the end of the debate, it was clear Obama missed his chance of standing out.

Compared to Obama, Romney acted how he should have acted.  He was clear, personable and almost presidential.  The debate could have gone terribly wrong for Romney.  He had never been in a debate against Obama, he could have been uptight and Obama could have questioned him about his ideas.  Instead, he talked clearly and (almost) candidly.  The GOP, at least for a while, can breathe just a little.

The point of Rosenthal’s article was to point out what Romney did, what Obama could have done and how they each could have positioned themselves as better candidates.  The debate between the differences and similarities of Obama and Romney’s policies lead back to one question:  what will the next four years really be like?

School, Drones and the Future

There are three sides to every story, and one may be the truth.  This “theory” can apply to many conflicts, those as little as between two people and those as big as between two countries.

As a student, I understand that when given a lot of work to do in little time, life can be stressful and unpleasant.  As a reasonable person, I also understand the side of the faculty.  It is their job to teach a subject in a short amount of time.  This means they have to pile on the work in hopes that the information can be processed easier.  So there are two sides to this story.  Students do not want to be locked up in the library and their professors do not want the students to fail.

Although this example is simple and peaceful, the conflicts between countries are not.  Take for example the United States’ drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal area.

As a US citizen thinking about why these attacks have persisted, and even increased, years after they began, I have found the relationship between the tribal areas and government of Pakistan very concerning.  From what I understand, the strikes are occurring because the US believes they are effectively killing people who pose a threat to national and international security.  There are many accidental victims because the US is guessing where the terrorists are hiding and Pakistan is believed to have more information about them than they are willing to inform the US.  So although I do not condone my own country deploying drones killing innocent people, I find it frustrating that Pakistan withholds information that could save many of their own peoples’ lives.

As a person, I find this topic of killing innocent people very unsettling and I feel great compassion for the civilians who were sacrificed.  Especially after reading the New York Times article, I feel like living under the continual noise of drones and witnessing violent deaths would be terrifying.  The people in Pakistan , or anywhere, should not have to live in such inhumane ways.

As someone thinking about the future, I find this pattern of increased drone strikes the most unsettling.  What has the intensity of violence turned into?  I feel as if the aircraft dropping these explosives were manned, the US would think harder about deploying the aircrafts so frequently because the life of the pilot is directly at stake.  This is not to say fighting in wars is less courageous or less dangerous, simply to say that the type of danger soldiers are exposed to has changed.  I fear the improvement in technology may not be an improvement after all, and could lead to increased attacks.  I finished reading about the recent drone attacks thinking about how the new technology of war could increase the ease of attacking people, making peace harder to accept.

The New Definition of Glamour

In the midst of New York Fashion Week, I went on a big fashion website, fashionista.com, to find out what was happening.  One of the first articles I saw was “Kanye West and Kim Kardashian Sit Front Row at Marchesa’s Gorgeous India Inspired Spring 2013 Show”.  I read the short summary, filled with descriptions of the glamour of the occasion.  I could not help but think that the reason “glamour” was thrown around so much was because the article was about everything except the models.

Before I went on this website, I watched an Op-Doc on the New York Time’s website titled “Scouted”.  David Redmon and Ashley Sabin followed around Ashley Arbaugh, a scout for aspiring models in Siberia.  In “Scouted” there is a lot of focus on Masha, a 13-year-old girl from rural Sibera.  She ends up getting high rankings because she fits the criteria:  raw, fresh, “untouched by the world”, thirteen, does not yet have a mind of her own and easy to control.  It is gross that such young girls are viewed in such a way that costs them their childhood and independence, and more gross that the scouters are fully aware of what they are doing.

Masha’s mom is interviewed, and openly appears uncomfortable by this process without admitting it.  She knows the dangers that Masha could end up in debt or prostitution.  The majority of girls are not paid or paid in clothes placing them in debt.  Masha’s mom fidgets with her hair and hands, clearly not wanting to reveal the whole truth.  She knows Masha may live a better life, but she may also live a worse one.

I am happy Arbaugh let this documentary happen.  The video puts a life with the girls, and they are no longer just people who wear clothes down a runway.  Unless a model works for Victoria’s Secret, they are not very well known so it is hard to figure out their story.  Now I cannot help but wonder which models have gone through this ugly side of modeling.

I knew that scouting in rural places were taking place and I knew that many times it was a trick to put girls into forced prostitution.  My question is, knowing the risks, why do the hundreds of girls still show up?  They don’t have to.  No one is forcing them to be in the cold room for hours, no one is forcing them to travel away from home or be viewed as someone to be controlled.

I think the girls show up because when people want to believe something so much, they will overlook anything that would prevent them from realizing their belief.  The girls want to live a better and more glamorous life as a fashion model and are willing to overlook the prospect of being controlled or left behind.  The Marchesa article I read behaves the same way.  To talk about the models’ stories would damage this world of “glamorous” clothes, people, venues and parties.  We have a tendency of looking over the unsettling parts of life, but “Scouted” forces us to look at one of those situations.