My Favorites

Over the course of this semester, I have really enjoyed reading all of the different posts by so many different types of people. I have also found it really interesting seeing people work with mediums other than the written word.

The post that I admire for its quality of the prose is Sara Reuschling’s piece called Information Overload. My favorite part of her response was: “In that sense, I have multiple faucets running but I still choose which faucets to fill my thimble and later bathtub”(Sara’s piece). Earlier in the response, she quotes Carr who uses that metaphor. I really enjoyed how she used Carr’s own words and spun them for her argument. When I read this response and especially that specific line of Sara’s piece I thought it was very clever, and it definitely stuck with me.

The post that I admire for how the writer has moved beyond writing is Ellie’s remediation. Ellie took a very personal poem and turned it into a video. The power of the words in her poem spoke for themselves, but I thought the way that she edited the video was very impressive and impactful. She used found videos with a voiceover to convey her poem. I thought the choice to not have music in the background was very important and allowed her voice to really stand out. Overall, with the use of video, Ellie made her poem have a much greater impact and really resonate with the audience.

 

Remediation: Unity

As I stated in my Concept in 60 Video, unity has always been a very interesting concept to me. It has managed to be a driving force throughout every generation and is extremely powerful. It seems as though that every generation has had a movement that has created an immense amount of unity. For example, civil rights, gay rights, and women’s rights. These movements all started a long time ago, but continue to be a prevalent part of our society. I have watched in my lifetime as these movements brought together millions of people. Unity is extremely powerful, and with that carries the power to create disunity. It’s no secret that this country is very disunited right now. It is easy to see this lack of unity when people come together for things like the women’s march. The opposition is made clear, and a solid divide between the two ideologies is put in place. When people unite together for a cause, they are often alienating themselves from another large group of people. That is why this concept of unity is very confusing for me. I don’t see how there could ever be such thing as unity. Unity really only means disunity and vice-versa.

I think that these causes are still really important to fight for but there needs to be an understanding about what is being created. Unity has the power to bring together millions of people but it also has the power to disunite millions of people. However, disunity is necessary. Conflicting viewpoints are needed in order to point out flaws in each other’s thinking. I think the media plays a large role in creating disunity among people. On news channels like CNN, they bring in people with completely opposing thinking and have them basically yell at each other for hours. This type of show is highlighting the lack of unity that we have and isn’t trying to facilitate productive conversations. The new problem that we face is being open to other people’s views. There are certain movements I strongly support, like the three listed above, but with each of those movements comes opposition and in order to understand each other we need to have thoughtful and productive conversations. The 60-second video I made briefly explaining my thoughts on this subject can be here.

Expression Through Instagram

I decided to interview and profile my best friend Francheska Kola. She contributes to digital media through her Instagram profile. I have always enjoyed her Instagram and thought she would be an interesting person to profile since she isn’t the typical idea of a digital writer. She has been active on Instagram since 2012 and has posted 233 photos. Throughout the many years I’ve known her, I know how much effort she puts into her Instagram and I thought it would be interesting to ask her some questions about it.

What is the purpose of your Instagram? Do you think you are able to express yourself through your Instagram?

 Francheska: The purpose of my Instagram is to express myself in a way that I want people to see me. I think that I express myself in my best form, and that also might not be my truest form. Instagram is like an art portfolio where you show your best work. I obviously only post good pictures of myself because I want people to see me when I look good rather than when I look bad, and when I’m doing fun things rather than doing nothing. I think Instagram is a good way to highlight the good parts of your life and good experiences such as going on vacation and being with friends and family.

What goes into posting a photo? What is your process?

 Francheska: If it’s a scenery then I will usually take a few pictures and then edit it, make it clearer, change the coloring, and sometimes put on a filter. I’m not really that into filters. I’m more into adjusting the contrast, brightness, and sharpness. If it’s a picture of me with people, then usually that’s just a one take thing. Sometimes it is candid, sometimes it’s not. If it’s a picture of just me usually there’s a bigger process because I will take a few and then pick my favorite one, edit it, and post it. Over the years of being on Instagram, I realized that timing is important and depending on the time of day you will get more likes or fewer likes. I tend to post a picture later in the day around 9 pm or 10 pm which will get more likes than a picture posted at noon.

How do you choose which photos to post?

 Francheska: It depends on what the picture is. If it’s a picture of me, the angle is important. Specifically, for sceneries, I usually post them in landscape. The lighting is very important with all photos.

There are some unwritten rules pertaining to Instagram. What do you think of them and are you conscious of them?

 Francheska: I usually am conscious of them. I try to evenly spread out how many scenery or object photos I post versus how many pictures of myself that I post. Looking at my Instagram now, sometimes I don’t follow that rule, but I personally think your Instagram as a whole looks better if you break it up. I also don’t ever post two black and white photos in a row.

How much do you normally edit your photos? Why do you edit your photos?

 Francheska: Sometimes a picture will just come out really well and not need that much editing. With a picture that I want to get a lot of likes on and I want to be perfect, I like it to look a certain way. I feel like it all depends on the picture. If I think I look good in it, I won’t edit it that much. If I like the picture, but I don’t like the way I look in it, I’ll edit it and then post it. I also think it’s fun and I enjoy the process of editing pictures. I think I spend more time than the average person editing photos.

Do you think your Instagram does a good job representing who you are?

 Francheska: Over the years, I just post whatever I want and I don’t really care what other people think. I feel like it’s a good representation of random things that I do, how I look, and the friends that I have. It’s nice to have a platform where you can document interesting things, and then either you or other people can look back on it. I consider my Instagram a display of art that I have created through photography.

 

 

 

 

 

Making My Voice Heard

I have always been very invested in the issue of sexual assault. When the video came out of Donald Trump talking about assaulting women and condoning such horrific actions, I was disgusted. I was never one to put my political beliefs online since I have friends and family members who think differently, but this was a bipartisan issue. Someone who views sexual assault as a joke is not someone I want to be associated with let alone have as my president.  Because of my strong feelings about the topic, I decided to take to Facebook and post how I was feeling:

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I was nervous posting such a strongly opinionated post on social media, but having so many people like it made me feel validated and relieved. 47 people ended up liking my post on Facebook. Some of those people were close friends and family, and some I have never talked to before. I was glad that my post reached people and resonated with some enough for them to like it. The purpose of my post was to bring awareness to a huge issue facing us currently. I also wanted to make my voice heard and make it clear that no one should get away with this behavior. I think that I managed to accomplish my personal goals with this post. Being on social media that day I saw a lot of other people posting similar things. The sad reality I and many others were faced with was that social media posts weren’t enough. I knew a lot of people who were sickened by Donald Trump’s comments but didn’t vote. It was a huge wake-up call for me, and I’m sure a lot of other people, that someone who has sexually assaulted women and condones such acts could be the president. After that experience, I realized that I shouldn’t be afraid of having a voice and standing up for what I believe in because otherwise, nothing will change. You can’t complain about the way things are if you aren’t willing to put in the effort and make a difference.

Not So Different After All

Ronson describes in his book, So You’ve Been Publically Shamed, the downfalls of social media. Public shaming has seen a rise in recent times. In my opinion, Ronson takes the stance that social media has its positives but, at the same time, extreme negatives. Carr also views social media in a negative light in his book, The Shallows.  Ronson and Carr have many opposing ideas, but do show similarities in the fact that they both recognize the downfalls of social media.

Ronson and Carr agree on the fact that social media and technology are a powerful tool. Carr discusses in his book that with technology came a rewiring of our brains and loss of compassion. While I don’t think Ronson would agree with that technology rewired our brains, Ronson does agree that there is a lack of compassion on social media: “During the months that followed, it became routine. Everyday people, some with young children, were getting annihilated for tweeting some badly worded joke to their hundred or so followers”(Ronson 67). We have become desensitized to the vicious public shaming occurring on a daily basis. Ronson saw with his own eyes how quickly someone could be taken down by everyday people on social media, and the effect it has on that person. Social media can be too powerful. Carr shares that belief that social media is dangerous in many different ways. On the other hand, a major difference between Ronson and Carr is that Carr addresses technology more and how technological advances are causing this decrease in empathy. Ronson seems to believe that it has always been there.

Another major different between Ronson and Carr is that Carr believes technology is to blame for our problems with social media. I think that Carr is incorrect in this conclusion, and my thinking much closer aligns with boyd and Ronson. Boyd refutes Carr’s claims eloquently in her book, It’s Complicated. She and Ronson believe that people are to blame for our problems with social media rather than technology: “Blaming technology or assuming that conflict will disappear if technology usage is minimized is naïve”(boyd 152). Ronson shares similar thinking because he relates current public shaming to the public punishment of the past. Social media was not around during the times of public punishment, so people are the reason for these actions; not technology. Boyd and Ronson, on the surface, seem to be the most similar. However, I believe Ronson, boyd, and Carr all share a similar sense of cynicism toward human nature and society.

 

The Endless Possibilities of Video

I was very excited to express my thoughts on a concept through video. My original thought about using video was that it would allow me to express my ideas more clearly. I also thought it would be easier for me to get across what I was trying to convey. For the most part, those predictions were true. However, with only having 60 seconds to get my point across, I found it slightly harder for me to explain what I wanted to say. When I’m writing responses, I have more flexibility with my words, and I feel like I can describe more. In the video, I had to extremely condense what I wanted to say in order to fit the allotted time. I had to learn how to exchange the words I would usually want to say with photos and video.

Working with video shed light on many different ways to express an idea and get a point across. For example, James’ video, “How to Properly Watch a Movie at Home” and in Nicole’s video, “Procrastination” both take advantage of acting and voiceover to convey a certain message and tone for their video. Both videos were more humorous, and without the voiceover and acting, I don’t think that would have come across. Writing a response makes it harder to incorporate humor, but it was much more detectable in their videos.

Another way I think video can be easier to use than writing was exemplified in Amanda’s video about sub-tweeting. She combined writing on paper with a voiceover to further explain her ideas. I think those two things did a really good job at supplementing each other. The words that Amanda wrote focused the viewer on a specific idea while the voiceover further explained her thinking. I think videos do a good job at filling the “between the lines” space that is often left open to interpretation in writing. In many of the videos I noticed that the ideas could easily be expressed in writing as well, but video added an extra layer of explanation that is impossible to achieve with just the written word.

After creating a 60-second video, I definitely have a lot more appreciation for the film majors out there. My brother happens to be a film major and I always thought that he had it so easy, but in reality, writing, shooting, and editing a video is a huge process. People who make films have to stylistically decide what ideas they want to be vocalized and what they want to be supplemented by images and video. Even in my short video, a lot of thought went into the visuals and in what ways I wanted them to speak for themselves. I then had to decide what I should say in words and when I should be saying them. Overall, this project opened my eyes to the effort that goes into creating an impact through video, and the possibilities of working with video.