A Review

Olivia Mann is currently an art history and history double major. Despite not focusing on English in her course work, she is a self proclaimed feminist and uses her strengths to write for the UD Review.

As a copy editor, she picks her own assignments which tend to be in the realm of LGBTQ activism and social justice. These are areas of passion for her so it makes writing easier.

In our discussion we covered topics like writing for digital vs. paper, receiving feedback and her writing process.

Are your pieces posted on just the website or printed as well?

” I think all my stories have been in print and on the website. The date of when we write a piece also affects that. Like if the paper comes out on Tuesday and there is immediate news, we will publish only to the website. But we are digital first, so most articles will be out by 11pm Monday night and then it will be printed the next morning.”

Do you write differently when you are writing online?

” It is the exact same copy.”

Do you do a lot of research before writing your pieces or see how it flows?

“Yes I do a lot of research. It really helps when going into an interview, having background, and they really appreciate when you know a lot about them and have the knowledge about them to make a great article. For a piece on Islamaphobia, I found Naveed Baqir through Rate My Professor. It just so happened that he was also a past UD professor. He left UD about a year about and due to the presidential election, he feels that he needs to stand up for his community. He is now the executive director of the Delaware Council on Global and Muslim Affairs.”

Do you receive feedback from readers on your piece?

“One thing that I get feedback on a lot, because I am in the same editing chain, is AP Style. Other feedback, I have gotten is from the Review staff that is very supportive. I have also gotten feedback on my AIDS article, mostly through twitter. People will re-tweet my articles. I have about 10 re-tweets on one article last year. I also had a lot of responses on an article about trigger warnings, because it was kinda like a battlefield of open speech.

When my articles are controversial, that is when they get the most attention. There are times when the Review got dragged through the mud like when Ellie was running for SGA president and the Milo article.”

What’s your favorite piece you have done?

” I would have to say one about Islamaphobia. It was a lot of onsite journalism. Like recapping on an event and saying what happened is great but I got to interview him and attend a Muslim prayer session. It was funny because they come together for religious reasons and at the end they had pizza.”

After speaking with Olivia, I learned more about her research process and how she finds sources for her articles. With so much going on around campus, she is still able to dig deeper than the story on the surface and immerse herself in her words.

Messages

Crossing the road near Gore and Smith becomes a challenge when class gets out. But in the heard of people moving to the same places, once you go under the overpass and can see Trabant, the calling begins. “God is watching you right now.” Instantly, students know that this is none other than Mark Johnson, who is more commonly referred to as Kirkbride Jesus.

Recently, he has moved his post to outside of Caesar Rodney Dining Hall. Where most underclassman walk past him many times a day. He makes call outs regarding, God’s always watching over us, how higher education isn’t beneficial and His views on abortion. These are just some of the topics I have heard him preach about during my 4 years here.

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As a student who is not religious, I do not chose to interact with him. On the numerous occasions I have seen him, I don’t usually see students stopping to ask questions or even react to him. Most stare and walk by.

Through this class, we have emphasized that physical interaction isn’t the only way to communicate our feelings. Yik Yak, Buzzfeed, The Odyssey, The Black Sheep, and twitter have all been sources where students share their opinions of his topics and signs.

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I joined this social media movement by using the #KirkbrideJesus. While I didn’t get any responses so far, students have used this hashtag before. After reviewing some of the tweets, that even date back to 2012, mostly students are talking about how he is back and that seeing him changes their day. But not in the way that he wants. They do not talk about how his messages are changing their thinking. Some tweet quotes by him, but to share his message but to share the “#jokes”. Kirkbride Jesus even has a few versions of twitter accounts. None of which seem to be run by Mark himself.

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I believe in freedom of speech and sharing your feelings about God or any other topic you find worth sharing. I do find that some of the topics Mark chooses to discuss on campus to be triggering. Some topics like abortion, rape and body image are hard topics for many to hear while they are simply walking to class. While I believe Mark has the right to preach about whatever he pleases, I don’t think this demographic benefits from his words.

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While this seems to be local to UD, many are impacted daily by the sharing of messages. Whether they have a religious motives or not. Mark just comes out in the spring to share this feelings about God, hoping that one day something resinates with someone. Companies share messages too. We pass by them as consumers and can choose to listen and learn or can chose to pass by. These companies may not be discussing controversial topics like Mark sometimes does, but they are messages none the less.

Bullying and Shaming

Storytelling is a way of communicating a point but while providing resources to support the claims. Both danah boyd and Jon Ronson, convey their ideas surrounding the digital era using this method.

Through storytelling, Ronson and boyd discuss various “side effects” of social world through topics like bullying and shaming. Through their interviews with teens and members of their communities, they showed us as readers various elements that can be exposed through the various forms that the internet provides.

In boyd’s chapter on bullying, she discusses how it has become so easy for teens to express their feelings about others. Her definitions of bullying and drama both lead me to further think of the idea in relation to shaming. One definition of drama was, “performative, interpersonal conflict that takes place in front of an active, engaged audience, often on social media” (boyd 138). How is this different than Ronson’s shaming?

In Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, after an article was published regarding his mistakes, Jonah Lehrer was forced to make a public apology in which live tweets were displayed behind him. Jonah made a mistake and Michael Moynihan was able to monopolize on it. Michael wrote the article that exposed these mistakes, despite his reservations. Boyd talks about this issue of reservations through her experiences with Trevor and Matthew. She writes, “… they saw creating such incidences to be a source of entertainment, even when someone got hurt in the process” (boyd 129). So these topics of bullying and shaming may not be as different as the authors portray.

Michael, Trevor and Matthew were all using someone else’s mistake or lives to create their own forms of entertainment. Michael in writing about Jonah’s mistake and Trevor and Matthew pranking each other for social media to react to. Ronson also discusses how even despite hurting someone else, they may believe they are “doing something good” (104). He uses this to explain a guard’s actions in the Stanford Prison Experiment. While this “guard” acted violently towards “inmates”, he stated, “… I thought I was doing something good at the time” (Ronson 104). In these men’s actions, they were joking around with each other or just trying to make a living. And in the guards situation, he believed he was providing the desired results of the study.

Whether or not shaming and bullying are connected, both Ronson and boyd provide similar arguments supporting the idea that they are both a source of entertainment; even if someone gets hurt in the process.

Written word vs. moving images

When we were told we would be creating a video, I automatically knew it would take more time and thought than just writing down my thoughts. I had to reflect on what is a part of my life that I would like to share with others.

Each classmate’s topic may have been selected because the student came across the idea, felt it was what the assignment required or was an idea they could relate to. By having a connection to the piece, it will most likely be a stronger final product. The personal element was shown in Elyssa and Isabella’s videos because they shared something they enjoy. This can’t always be shown through text because the viewer can’t visualize the emotions that the author is feeling.

With these emotions, comes tone. The tone of a piece can create a humorous video like Will’s or more serious like Jessica’s. Their ideas were both able to be conveyed to the viewer but with images and video the tone couldn’t be interpreted differently by various audiences. If these pieces were only written the message of humor is more easily lost. Seriousness can be conveyed through text but with the help of the images, the point was stronger.

In these pieces, still and moving images were typically accompanied by an audio file. This audio is the written text and description of the topic. These videos and other videos don’t typically have the script also written on the screen. With the combination of words and images, it may be hard to separate the two. If the text was presented on the screen like Peter’s was vs. how many of the others were, it is hard to focus on both elements at one time. The audio may distract from the video or the images become attached to the audio. I find myself associating the images with the audio and not being able to isolate them.

Each video has its affordances and constraints, but finding the right medium to use digitally to portray the desired message is the skill we are trying to acquire.

are you who you present online?

As millennials, we know that the internet and technology is complicated. In the early chapters of danah boyd’s novel, these complications are organized and spelled out for the reader to relate to. Privacy, addiction, and identity are only the beginning of these areas of concern for many; but all can be viewed in positive and negative lights.

During her chapter about creating an online identity, she writes about how individuals have many freedoms when it comes to each social medium but there are expectations as well. On page 49, boyd writes, “Impression management online and off is not just an individual act; it’s a social process”. After this she uses examples of teens from across the country to express many of her points. In the following paragraph, Matthew provided her with insight into how he believed he was maintaining a professional image online but his friends were not. I find this to be a common scenery between friends and managing a professional image. Despite Matthew’s individual efforts to keep his page viewer friendly, he can’t always control what his friends do with their pages. Through being associated with these friends, he could be risking the identity that he has been working towards.

As a teen, I was less concerned with my professional image online because I wasn’t preparing for the professional world. My parents always warned of that whatever is online will always be there and that still sticks in the back of my mind. I now am more conscious of what I post or what I am tagged in on Facebook.

A few pages later, boyd likens the world of the internet to “one heck of a cultural labyrinth” (53). This analogy creates an image of winding through this maze of unknowing what is going to be around the next turn. Online interactions can be this way, even for adults. One post can be appropriate to share according to one’s values but maybe not to your neighbor who is also viewing it. Identifying your audience is important when writing on paper but writing online can twists and turns depending on who the audience actually is versus who it was intended for. For me, hearing a piece of writing out loud has benefitted my understanding of the author’s intent. I found danah boyd reading the preface of It’s Complicated and in hearing her voice, I am now able to read her words with more understanding of her intent while writing.

Each scenario that boyd provides creates a simple image that most millennials can relate to. Just like Matthew, I try to maintain a profile that can be used for professional and social aspects of my life. I’m bet the following chapters are also going to provide areas of teen’s interactions that can be interpreted various ways by various people, while all being highly relatable.

Mindset

Our environment is moving at a pace faster than most can keep up with. This change Carr partially attributes to the changes in the internet. Early in the second half of The Shallows, Carr writes how IQ scores have been increasing since before World War 2. This change may be influenced by technology but there are many other factors that come first in Carr’s mind. The idea that technology can change our minds, in both negative and positive ways, is a concept that I have now been thinking about. Carr writes, “there needs to be a time for efficient data collection and time for inefficient contemplation, time to operate the machine and time to sit idly in the garden” (168).

In this quote, I find that Carr is showing the reader that the internet doesn’t have to be as deep if we do not want it to be. I admire the idea of separating time for one’s own thoughts before using a machine. After beginning this class, I have found myself more aware of how and when I use my phone. I used to respond to Snapchats, emails and texts instantly after leaving class and would continue this until I was home. Now, each time I reach for my phone, I think, “do I need to do this right now?” Many times the answer is “no”. I now put my phone away as I leave the building and admire this beautiful campus on my walk to my next destination.

Since technology is encouraging us to use it, we forget what nature and our own brains can bring us to do also. Nature can trigger us psychologically. Trees and wind and even those who walk by us can change the way our day goes. When looking at technology, we are a horse with blinders on, blocking out everything that isn’t digitalized. We need to revert back to noticing the environment around us and finding a balance between when technology is used and when we think for ourselves before asking those on the internet.

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Our enjoyment of nature through our phones memory. Photo by: Justin Hamilton

Carr doesn’t deny that technology is negative in this section, but just points out the reality that having a balance in life is key. I would like to focus on this balance more in my life to enjoy what is happening around me as well as knowing what is going on in the world I live in.