To Use Video, or Not to Use Video?

When working with video, there were a couple things I realized I could do with it that I couldn’t do with written text. The first thing, and the most obvious, is that you can speak and use sound. This helps the viewers understand the tone, mood, and message more clearly than if they were reading the same dialogue as written text. For example, humor can be hard to pick up on when you’re reading, but it something very obvious when used in video (whether from an actor or voiceover). James and Alex both used humor in their videos, and it was easy to pick up on and enjoy. However, if I was reading what they were saying, I’m not sure if I would have had the same reaction. Another thing you can do with video is include pictures/images to support your point. While you can have pictures in text, the effect in a video is different. Showing pictures with a voiceover attached or having them pop up in the corner while an actor is speaking creates a different reaction than putting a picture next to the text in a written work. Visually seeing an image and hearing dialogue helps portray the feelings and emotions the creator of the video wants you to feel or understand. In Jessica’s video, pictures, along with video clips, are used to help viewers understand the power and relevance behind the concept she is speaking about. This covers an area that cannot be achieved in a written work.

While there are a lot of aspects of working with video that can support your point, there are also some that make it more difficult. Personally, I had a hard time conveying my message in video format, especially with a time constraint. I find it a lot easier to write about my thoughts rather than speak about them. I feel that there is a lot more power behind my written words than there is behind my spoken ones. It is also easier to edit when you write something. Every time I messed something up while creating my voiceover, I had to go back and start all over again. Additionally, editing the video drove me crazy. If being a digital native means I’m supposed to be good at this sort of stuff, I am definitely not a digital native. Editing took me a long time to complete, and when I finished I was still not satisfied with it. Video editing is a tough skill to perfect. Since I don’t have that skill, I feel like it took away from my concept because the video was not as great as it could have been.

Concept in 60

Here is a link to my Concept in 60 video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAAF671rcfc about why I, and everyone else that participates in UDance, dance!

My roommate told me I’m a “boring” narrator (unfortunately, she’s right) so here is what I’m saying in the video if you rather take over the narrator role yourself.  🙂

It’s time for the  best day of the school year.

It’s time to get to the Bob.

It’s time to dance.

For the next 12 hours we dance through our sore muscles and aching feet. We cut our hair, and we jump around and dance like fools. But it’s all for the kids.

Every school day 46 children are diagnosed with cancer. That’s 46 too many. It’s why I participate in UDance, the 12 hour dance marathon held at UD, so that one day soon, no child will have to hear those words.

I dance for 12 hours straight to raise awareness and funds for children and their families that are battling childhood cancer. I dance to support the Andrew McDonough B Positive Foundation. I dance for the kids. I dance for the 1.89 million dollars  we Univeristy of Delaware students raised to find a cure. I dance today to give the kids a tomorrow.
For a smile, for a life, for a cure. Why do you UDance?

There is always more than meets the eye

What you post on digital media is what you become defined as. People plan and perfect what they post in order to manipulate their perception. We only post what we want people to see. However, nothing in the digital media is ever truly private so sometimes things fall between the cracks, despite the privacy settings we choose to use. So, that private Facebook photo from last Friday night you only shared with your friends might end up being seen by your employer, even though you selected certain privacy settings — and that photo was probably the complete opposite of the perception you were trying to convey to your employer on LinkedIn. Chapter one of It’s Complicated by dana boyd begins with a story explaining how our identities can be perceived differently online. A student from a bad area in Los Angeles wrote an extraordinary college essay for an Ivy League university about how he wanted to escape the gangs in his community and focus on his education. The admissions officers loved it, but decided to search him on the web in order to learn more about him. They came across his MySpace page, covered in gang symbolism and relations, and reached out to dana boyd for some answers.

They were curious as to why a student would lie about wanting to escape gangs to attend an esteemed university when his entire MySpace profile proved that he was still gang-involved. I was thinking the same thing. I thought about how dumb it was for him to post that kind of stuff when everyone knows that nothing on social media is ever private anymore. The first thing people tell you when you apply for a job or school is to not post anything provocative or stupid. It’s the basics! Then, as I read dana boyd’s reply and thoughts, my entire opinion changed and my mind was opened up to a whole new point of view. boyd replied with, “Perhaps this young man is simply including gang signals on his MySpace profile as a survival technique” (boyd, 29). I suddenly had a realization. This student was still manipulating his posts based on how he wanted to be perceived, but he was doing it to protect himself in order to avoid becoming a gang target. I have never had to use social media as a defense or survival mechanism, and wasn’t aware of those costs. This passage was eye-opening for me because I realized that what people post, even when they do it strategically, never tells their whole story. The digital media represents one side of things, and makes it difficult for us to see past it. I found this video on YouTube and I think it exemplifies how much thought people truly put into their social media posts in order to be perceived a certain way. While it is supposed to be funny and not very meaningful, it still shows how only half of the story is shown online. When you look at someone’s profile online, you don’t see how they rearranged their desk for an artistic photo or how they created their post-workout photo even when they didn’t go to the gym. The digital media represents one side of things, and makes it difficult for us to see past that side. I think this is something extremely important to remember as we continue to use the digital media personally, academically, and professionally. There is always more than meets the eye.

We Aren’t the Problem, Technology is

The title of this blog post is a thought that was subconsciously going through my mind while reading The Shallows. The loss of our concentration, our focus, and our ability to hold face to face interactions all stem from an increased use of technology, as Carr intricately laid out for us throughout the book. Nothing was ever made to seem like it was our fault. We just fell victim to the technological revolution. However, chapter seven made me deeply question the reality of the situation. The chapter goes into more depth about our need for instant gratification, how social media can lead to self-consciousness, and how people can barely resist the urge to use technology.

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A free photo taken from Wikipedia Commons to demonstrate the importance of choosing what to pay attention to and how that affects what we think about.  

As I read through the chapter, I began to question whether or not technology is really the cause of all of these problems or whether it is just the fuel to the fire. I think people have always been self-conscious, craving gratification, and feeling a desire to be constantly connected. The difference is that now through technology we have a way to reveal those issues without judgment, because it is apparent that others feel this way too, while in the past we did not. I am starting to believe that technology is not the problem, but the way we choose to use it is. It is within our own personal power to resist the pull of technology, to set our phones down at the dinner table, to be comfortable enough in our own bodies that we don’t define ourselves by how many likes our Instagram pictures get. 

I feel that maybe Carr does not touch on that outlook very often until the further chapters. In chapter eight he includes a quote by novelist, David Foster Wallace: “Learning how to think’ really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.” So maybe technology is not the problem, but the way that we think is. It can be concluded from Wallace’s quote that if we consciously think about how technology is affecting us, we can choose to let it have less control over us. Since our education, careers, and social lives are wrapped up in technology this may be difficult to do; however, just exercising the slightest bit of resistance to technology can help us find the technological relief we are looking for. I think this would have been an important quote for Carr to include at the beginning of the book rather than the end, so that readers can keep an open mind on the subject, but I also think it would have been damaging to the argument he presented in the first half of it as well.

The Remapping of Our Brains

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Reading has been a passion of mine since I was a child. I remember how easy it used to be for me to pick up a book, any book, and quickly get immersed in it. I remember how easy it was to dissect the author’s prose and diction, even when the content did not interest me. Nowadays, I cannot easily do those things. I find myself becoming distracted, bored, and unsatisfied before I even comprehend the words I am reading. And it is beginning to carry over into other aspects of my life as well. I feel that as I adapt and grow with the times (the need for instantaneous responses, the extreme technological growth) there are parts of me that are being left in the past. My focus may be one of them. While reading The Shallows, I came across a passage by Carr that embodies what I am experiencing. I struggle to formulate my thoughts on this matter into simple terms, but I think that Carr perfectly describes it. I attached a picture of the excerpt above.

A specific word Carr uses to describe this sensation is, “uncomfortable”. This particular choice of a word really resonates with me because I think it is the perfect way to capture this feeling. While I am aware that my mind and the way it works are changing, I am not sure whether positive or negative changes are occurring. Or maybe both are? As Carr goes on to mention, there are benefits and consequences of the ways our brains are continuing to develop with the advancement of technology. Positively, we have more freedom with our careers (like Carr’s ability freelance and create a blog), easier access to information, more time efficient ways to work, etc. Negatively, we are losing our soft skills. It is becoming harder and harder for people to write with pen and paper, to talk to each other face to face, or even on a phone call, and to sit down and read a book or an article. The word “uncomfortable” really strikes me because I am happy to acquire these new skills, but scared to lose my old ones; however, I am not sure where the balance between these two things lies, and that makes me uncomfortable.

I think that so far in the chapters we have read, Carr has done an excellent job of mapping out this transition within our brains and the effects it causes. He balances the pros and cons of the situation in a thoughtful manner, and encourages the reader to challenge and think about these ideas. He also explains how changes in the brain have been occurring like this since the beginning of time. Does that mean we should accept this change and not be bothered by this natural process, or are we evolving too fast for our own good? This is a question I don’t have an answer to, but it is something that raised a flag in my mind while reading The Shallows. Additionally, I wonder if the skills we lose are worth losing when we are able to gain achievements like this. As I read through the progression of technology that Carr laid out for us in these first few chapters, I always think the next invention is better than the one before it. However, I am curious if I will feel the same way in the future when I look back on the past. Maybe these worries that Carr and I feel about the remapping of our brains are only minor bumps in the road to technology that will cause our brains to think in ways that we never have before.