For one of my Information classes, I had to read part of a book called The Wisdom of the Crowds, by James Surowiecki. The material was interesting, but unfortunately it was so dense that I had a lot of trouble reading through the assigned pages. The print was small, and the sections of the chapters were simply divided into “I”, “II”, “III”, “IV”, and so on. To make this book better, I would first label each section of the chapter with a captivating title that is related to the section idea. A larger font would also help people stay focused on the chapter.
For better or worse, political commentary on Twitter has become a commonplace source for the average internet user to get their news. I, admittedly, receive a lot of my news from the site as well, but with character limitations and a fast-paced environment, the platform for news exchange must be reformed. Too often are users only following journalists that suit their agenda, and when two or more users engage in Twitter political “debate,” there is simply not enough room to give full context and that ends up as the detriment to both of the debaters. If it had to be changed for the better, it simply wouldn’t exist. But provided that that is not an option, it could only be enhanced by allowing for greater character limits as well as more users posting sources instead of hyperbolic anecdotes.
The genre that comes to mind that I’m pretty familiar with is one I’m not really sure how to name. It’s those pieces that usually come out after a particularly salient pop culture moment, such as the recent Pepsi advertisement or when a celebrity does something stupid, and some Buzzfeed writer publishes a piece that’s like “Why Pepsi is Satan” or “How Justin Bieber’s Snapchat is Causing Illiteracy.” While I’m all for social commentary, I think these pieces often lack perspective and tend to make the problem seem like it has life or death stakes. I think a better way of doing this, and one that I sometimes see, would be in more of a podcast format. Having a discussion rather than a monologue, incorporating different voices, and even having some constraint as to how long you could talk about this issue before moving on would provide the social commentary and analysis of pop culture without some of the hysteria that might not be necessary.
I think history can be interesting, but most of the historical articles that I’ve been assigned in my historical communications courses are dry and difficult to get through. This could be changed if the articles were more upfront about how the historical event catalyzed change and progression in society. Most of the articles do eventually cover the greater significance of the historical event they are discussing, but it usually comes at the end. I think it would be helpful to mention the broader significance of the events being discussed at the beginning. They could be listed out, almost like theses. This would encourage people to continue reading, and it would also give people a perspective in which to view the historical events. This way, the article would be more interesting all the way through and would encourage more analytical thinking rather than the simple intake of facts.
I think the form of “professional blogging” has a lot of room to be improved. Personal or creative blogs are intriguing but I think that when this mode is more professional in nature, the argument or the content is diminished by the form of expression. I think ways that this can be improved is to be consistent across blogging platforms. I’ve read many blogs – from many credible people – that are inconsistent among different posts. When a blogger writes about his/her favorite recipe, only to have her next post be about deep philosophy, I think the mode of blogging and the content of the blogs themselves are diminishing. I think all bloggers can improve on their points by limiting their subjects and making the writing consistent across posts.
The repurposed piece that I chose is of a more serious topic, explaining and rejecting the need for a specific federal policy that perpetuates a culture of discrimination. Because the repurpose is written about a much more serious topic that has relatively large life impacts for some people, I felt it would be extremely insensitive and, truthfully, somewhat confusing to have an extremely lighthearted portfolio and remediation. As a result, my portfolio has taken a slightly more serious tone; it is less brightly colored, a bit more simplistic, and the writing bits (except for the pieces About Me) are slightly less bubbly. My natural personality is friendly, chatty, and relatively energetic. I felt this needed to be toned down a bit to fit more with the serious, editorial nature of my initial piece of writing.
A piece of writing I was considering instead of the federal blood ban policy was an imitation piece called “Girl” written in the same style as a piece by the same name that I read in my first year writing. I was considering repurposing mine into an acknowledgement and expose of some sorts of how much pressure women face today. This wouldn’t have changed the tone of my portfolio all that much, although it may have given me more of a chance to make my personality a bit clearer seeing as I am a woman and can relate in many ways to the pressures we face. I cannot relate my personal life in any way to my current repurpose because it is about a demographic I do not belong to.
How much do I trust myself in how I write or why:
I actually trust myself a pretty solid amount. I do truly hate math; now, the reasons why I hate math might be slightly exaggerated or dramatized for the purpose of making an interesting and compelling Why I Write. That being said, I do still hate math, and this hatred for math has in many ways definitely prompted me to write. I’m bad at math = write instead! In writing you can explain anything, be anything, spin anything to be the “correct answer” (ironic how I used a simple equation to answer a question, huh?) In math there is only one way for things to be. My Why I Write conclusions are absolute, not contingent.
Ranking from strongest to weakest:
I’m confident and happy that my strongest aspect is my voice. I think that in my portfolio, because it is so personal, the voice has to be strong. While my “Why I write” has different content than my repurposing, I am working on maintaining a consistent voice. I think that my process notes will help bridge the voices together, conveying to the viewer what my voice is like when I’m not writing a piece. I placed composition and environment at the bottom because it is the least developed of them all. I still need to do a lot of work on the site itself, which will help the prose and the voice be more developed. In terms of prose, I still have editing to do and changes to make on all of my pieces, but I think they are all in good places. I think the prose is pretty consistent with the voice for my repurposing, but I’m worried that I cant say the same for the “Why I write.” The main thing that will make my prose clearer is time. With time, as the remediation comes into place and the environment of the portfolio strengths, so will the prose and the voice.
So yes, each element depends on another, which puts some pressure on me to get the site together. I suppose the main stressor right now is the process notes. I have rough drafts of them, but once I feel solid about them, I feel like they will act as the glue to the entire portfolio. I suppose I’m worried about the voice not being consistent. Because my “Why I write” is a more serious piece, how do I maintain a consistent voice throughout the process notes, which will be lighter? Do I need to change the tone of my “Why I write?” I suppose, in my process notes, I need to find a balance between a more serious tone and lighter tone. Perhaps that just sounds easier said then done.
Thanks for listening.
Would my portfolio be different?
Choosing to repurpose my personal narrative from English 125 gave me the opportunity to reflect on an extremely turbulent period of my life in a way that I had not to this point. Until my repurposing, I had only thought about my experience as a chronological series of events. However, my repurposing resulted in my reflection on this experience as having a causal impact on my life that I had not considered in-depth. Though my diagnosis drastically changed the physical circumstances of my life, I do not think it changed me very much otherwise.
I actually never considered any options for my repurposing other than my personal narrative from my English 125 course freshman year. However, had I chosen to repurpose another paper I had written I probably would’ve chosen to repurpose an essay from my English 225 class last semester in which I wrote about trends in the NBA towards three-point shooting. I would have wanted to make it personal, in the same way that my current repurposing is written and find a unique lens to write it through. I would have wanted it to be creative and would have written through the eyes of a little kid aspiring to be an NBA player deciding that he would make his sole purpose to be able to shoot like Steph Curry.
How much do you trust yourself in your assessment of why you write, and why?
I trust that my communication skills are strengthened by writing, but I do not trust that I write because of that. As such, I don’t trust the draft that I have currently written. However, based on the questions we were asked about our writing styles in class on Tuesday, I have reasoned that I like to write because it allows me to communicate my feelings to people in ways that I would never think of doing in a face-to-face interaction. After I include this portion in my WIW draft, I think it will be more honest.
How would my portfolio be different if I had chosen a different piece to repurpose?
Thinking back to the start of the semester, I remember the struggles I went through to choose a paper to repurpose. I considered a couple of papers from my English 125 First-Year Writing course and the papers I wrote in my English 225 Argumentative Writing class. I ultimately chose the final paper I write for English 125 which was centered around the topic of Empathy. I am confident that my portfolio, would not have been drastically different from what it is right now had I chosen a different paper to repurpose. When I chose the paper, it set the grounds for a collection of works that all had some ties to empathy. My Repurposing and Remediation show this relationship more explicitly than my Why I Write, but my Why I Write still has the underlying connection to empathy.
If I had gone a different direction with the paper, I still believe that the portfolio would be related to empathy and connecting with others. I strive to be as empathetic and caring as I possibly can be, and this shows as much of my writing, even before this portfolio, are closely related to empathy.
Claims that I think are true (persistent, consistent) – would be true regardless of what else is going on in the portfolio
- I feel that all the claims I make would have been made regardless of the rest of the portfolio
- I wrote this essay largely independent of what I did with the other projects.
Claims that I was prompted to make because of the rest of my portfolio
- I do not feel that any claims I made were made just for the sake of consistency with the rest of the portfolio
- This might prove to be a bad thing if the Why I Write essay seems out of place when juxtaposed with the whole portfolio.
How much do I trust myself in my assessment of why I write?
I feel that what I wrote is true as I do write for these reasons, but this paper does not feel like it is totally trustworthy and true to who I am. This largely is due to some internal conflict regarding my own view of myself. I feel that I am not actually a writer.
I am a person that possesses many abilities. I like to believe that I am a good volleyball player, but I would only claim that I am a volleyball player in a volleyball setting. I play volleyball to get better and to showcase my talents, which I find to be fun and is ultimately why I play.
I hope that in the future I will be a great Athletic Trainer, but that will only be true if I possess the skills to be one. I plan on pursuing a career as an Athletic Trainer, and if someone pays me to be an Athletic Trainer, then I would feel comfortable calling myself an Athletic Trainer.
When it comes to writing, I do not feel like I can claim I am a writer. I do think that I have some writing skills, and when I write I get to showcase these skills. This product that I can showcase is a big reason of why I write.
I do not discuss this logic at all in my paper, so I guess it turns out I am very untrustworthy.
Originally, my plan was to repurpose a research essay on User Experience Design. This probably would have resulted in a more professional portfolio mood, and a more formal Why I Write piece. Yet, when it came time to repurpose the piece, I realized I had no enthusiasm to repurpose it. Personally, I felt the piece should just stay the way it was. So I decided to shift gears and focus on another piece I had written for a class outside of my major. It was an essay I had written about Buddhist goddesses for a Buddhism class in the Asian Languages and Cultures department. I had really enjoyed that class, so I thought my repurposing experience would go much better. And it did. As a result, my Why I Write piece became unconventional, and my portfolio as a whole was more genuine.
I think if I had stuck with my original plan, I would have ended up with a much more formal and professional portfolio. Although my portfolio is still not completely informal, I can imagine how much more refined it could be. For example, my Why I Write would probably be more concrete, despite it not coming across as authentic.
How much do you trust yourself in your assessment about why you write and why?
I (somewhat) trust myself in my assessment about why I write now. I have always thought I needed to have a single answer to this question, and I tried to bring this confused state of mind to my paper. When I started this assignment, I thought I had the answer whenever I remembered something monumental that happened with my writing. Yet, after a while that answer didn’t feel like the right one. In the end, I just decided to trust my instinct and write a Why I Write that does not focus on a single “perfect” reason, but rather many imperfect ones which may or may not become my permanent motives. It took a while to trust myself with this choice, but I think I made the right decision in structuring the piece this way.