My Favorites

In the beginning of the semester, a lot of our writing stemmed from the books we had to read (Boyd, Swanson, etc.). But as we moved on throughout the rest of the course, our writings started to evolve more and focus on more than just answering questions about readings.

One of the pieces I really liked from this course was James’ Concept in 60 video. The reason I found his video so amusing is because he used a concept that went in the opposite direction of what a lot of the rest class did (how to properly watch a movie at home), which I think is sometimes needed in class because people like to really touch upon more serious subjects, which isn’t a bad thing at all, but a little comedy sometimes helps everyone, even if though don’t admit it. I’d say my favorite part of the piece is the credits scene because he used a whole Star Wars theme throughout the video and in the end credits, he did a Star Wars type credits crawl which I thought was entertaining. Overall, I chose James’ concept in 60 because it was very engaging and was a good change of pace for the class because of it’s comedic approach.

A piece that I thought went beyond writing was Sam’s remediation poem “The Hudson River Blues”. I chose this piece because one, it was a remediation of an assignment done in a prior class, so I thought that was passing beyond some borders that not many people crossed. Secondly, I think that the fact that he didn’t use any writing in the remediation of the piece shows how much he went beyond writing. The edition of the background music to go along with the image of an of the actual Hudson River really helps brings out a more understanding and entertaining meaning to the poem and my favorite part of the post is how the image is moving from the sea up to the clouds. I thought it was pretty cool how as the poem was read in the background, the moving image almost matched up with the words, and if the poem were to simply be written then we wouldn’t get this effect as readers/viewers. All in all, there were so many pieces that I could’ve chosen from for both my favorite and one that reaches out beyond writing, but the two I chose really just stood out to me and grabbed my attention the most.

Class Favorites

When thinking back on the work of my classmates throughout the semester, Brittany’s piece titled “Is Google God or Satan” stands out to me for its quality of prose. I love the way she started off with the quote, “Without its search engine, and the other engines that have been built on its model, the Internet would have long ago become a Tower of Digital Babel” (156). She describes the uses of Google in our lives in such an efficient and relatable manner. I think it was a really unique idea to pose a question in the middle of it, asking if Google and all that it has to offer is a problem or if it is good to have. This allows the reader to take a quick break to think about the question and how it pertains to him or herself. I also thought it was a great idea to list many different components of what Google can do in brief sentences. This is followed by Carr’s thoughts on the matter, which Brittany then connects to her own feelings about Google. I think overall this piece does a great job of giving multiple perspectives on Google and connects them together in a unique way.

I really admire Molly’s concept in 60 video about UDance. This is a great example of a piece where the writer has moved far beyond just writing and has really taken advantage of all that she can do on screen. I think it was clever to start off the video by proposing the question, “Why do UDance?” and then flashing this question on screen again on the brightly colored chalk board where students had the opportunity to provide their reasons for participating. This is a great introduction for not only her video, but also for UDance for those that are not as familiar with it. Showing the clips of students dancing, donating their hair and posing for pictures with their Be Positive heroes makes the viewer feel as if they are experiencing the thrill of UDance themselves. I also found it really helpful while watching it that Molly added a voiceover where she explained all of these aspects of the event since there are so many people who are not very familiar with UDance. The video conveyed a lot of meaning and shows how special this event is to Molly. I think she did a great job editing the video and making it look professional, but also sharing a personal passion she has with the entire class and showing a little bit more of who she is other than just as a writer.

Writing as a Social Action

As a weekly writer for The Odyssey, a popular social media platform for millennials, I try to write about relatable topics for my generation so people will enjoy reading them and occasionally get a good laugh. Last week I decided to write about keeping Passover since it was happening during that time period when I published the article and shared it on Facebook. I am not usually one to write about religion or really any serious topic, but I felt that it was very relevant to my life. I thought I would try something new and discuss my way of practicing my religion and share it with all of my Facebook friends, hoping they would read and comment on it. I really tried to discuss the topic in a fun and light-hearted manner, so those who could relate to the topic would laugh a little and share my point of view.

I am always curious to see who likes or comments on my Facebook posts but I was especially curious to see the result of this one. Within the first hour it was up, I already received multiple comments and likes, all commending my article or commenting something funny to go with the mood of the text. I had shared some cooking tips that stick to the restrictions of Passover so it made me feel as if I had succeeded when my friends and roommates commented things like “Make more chocolate covered matzah, we love it!” as well as things implying they were going to try a recipe that I provided in the article. These are a few of the comments that I received:

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When it comes to The Odyssey, once an article is written, anyone has access to read it, share it, or participate in other social engagements. Therefore, there are always a variety of people that find the article somewhere in their newsfeed, but may not pay any attention to who the author of the text is, since their only interest is reading it. This is why I was curious to see the kind of feedback I would get from my own followers and friends on Facebook. The time that I posted the article was also right around Easter, so it definitely clashed with many other commonly shared posts on Facebook relating to Easter cooking, bunnies, decorations, and so on. I knew that most of the action I was going to receive on my post would most likely only be from people who also celebrated Passover, so there was the potential to get less feedback than usual. I decided going into it that I was ok with that, because I feel passionate about my religion and all of the holidays and celebrations that come with it. To my surprise, I actually received a good amount of likes because I realized that although I was targeting a specific audience which was definitely not the majority of my Facebook friends, the respective audience recognized the topic and showed interest in it.

When People Show No Love

After reading some of the posts other people wrote, I realized that a lot of people wanted to touch face in with more serious issues or comment on things that actually matter in the world right now. First off, let me just say that when it comes to commenting on social media I do not really comment on any sight unless it is Twitter or Facebook, with the occasional posts on Instagram. So I changed it up a bit. First I was thinking about going on to a sports blog and seeing if there was anything interesting but I thought maybe that is too simple. So instead, I went to YouTube and tried to stir up a little commotion there.

When I was younger, I used to love reading Spider-Man comic books and he really grew on me as being one of my favorite superheroes. Since those days, there have been six movies, and a seventh on the way that have three different actors portraying the iconic red and blue web-slinger. It started with Toby Maguire, then Andrew Garfield went on to wear the spandex, and now it is a youngster named Tom Holland. So how does this relate to the assignment? Well a new movie coming out called Spider-Man: Homecoming just released a second trailer a few weeks back so it gave me an idea for this assignment. I read through a lot of the comments posted about the trailer and I realized some people are die-hard Spider-Man fans and take it very seriously. I decided to post my own comment to see if I could get a reaction out of people and wrote this:

“Theres been three spiderman actors already but Tom Holland actually kills it the most”
Here is the full page of comments on the YouTube page.
So yea, as you can see I posted a simple, harmless comment, but I thought that it might be enough to get a little debate going on who has been the best Spider-Man actor so far. Well I thought completely wrong. I waited a while to see if I could get any feedback because I saw that people were jumping on comments left and right from earlier in the past, but for me, I got nothing. Now, maybe that is because the trailer I commented under was already three weeks old, and I know that does not seem like that long of a time but i guess in the comic book world with new movie trailers being released left in right, fans tend to lose interest in the old and anticipate the new. Then I thought that maybe I did not give it enough time for people to reply to, but in the end, I think it simply was not a good enough post to gain the attention of others. Overall, I think when it comes to YouTube, people tend to not care about the comments on videos as much as someone would care about a tweet or a Facebook post because those forms of social media are pretty much meant for people sharing their thoughts and opinions while inviting others to comment on them while YouTube is more frequently used for a visual entertainment. I know it is kind of a silly subject I touched upon, but I wanted to be a little different and take a less serious path traveled and I thought a blast to my past would be kind of fun.

Rohnson and Carr: Maybe Not So Different After All

When comparing Jon Rohnson’s perspective on digital culture in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed to Nicholas Carr’s in The Shadows, it is evident that they have very different stances on the topic of social media. It is clearly to any user of social media that it can be dangerous, we just have to make sure users are educated enough to avoid the mistakes that can be easily made. Carr has an overall negative standpoint on social media, while Johnson is more realistic on the topic. Johnson believes that as long as users understand the effects of social media and the proper etiquette of using it, then there should not be any major issues.

One woman in particular was unaware of proper social media etiquette, and allowed one series of tweets give her a horrible reputation not only on twitter, but in her job field and in society in general. In December of 2013, Justine Sacco made the mistake of tweeting about her travels in a distasteful, ignorant manner that gave her possibly the worst reputation on social media at the time. After receiving no responses to her online actions in the beginning, she assumed people did not think much of her tweets. By the time her next flight landed, she quickly learned that was incorrect. She checked her phone to see a message from an old friend reading “I’m so sorry to see what’s happening” (Rohnson 67). Without even thinking twice about what she was tweeting within each of the 140 character tweets, Sacco fell into the category of being publicly shamed, for the entire world of social media to see. She did not truly have bad intentions, but this just proves that things can be misinterpreted once they are posted online and it is definitely better to be safe than sorry.

Although Johnson does not have as negative of a viewpoint on digital culture as Carr does, his story about Sacco is definitely an example of social media gone wrong. Carr is right in situations like these; one may not know the negative impacts of social media and could potentially ruin an aspect of his or her life with it. Carr continues to explain how technology is impacting our brains, not necessarily in a positive manner. “What’s been harder to discern is the influence of technologies, particularly intellectual technologies, on the functioning of people’s brains (Carr 48). People commonly assume that it is more acceptable to say things on social media than in person since it is not said directly to a person’s face. In Johnson’s view of needing to be educated on how to properly conduct social media, he and Carr are most definitely on the same page in regards to Sacco, since she let the internet take over her actions.

The All-powerful Video

The first time I really delved into video editing was for my school’s annual history fair. I decided that I would create a documentary on my topic, rather than just make a board or website. I found I really loved editing videos from making documentaries in high school, so when we were given this assignment I was extremely excited to take part in it. However, it was a bit daunting, though, because I had not used my own footage to make a video and I haven’t edited a video in quite a while, so I was kind of freaking out. Also, the fact that it had to be a creative and new idea, not a dry subject pertaining to history was also a bit intimidating as I’ve never taken on something like that before. After finally coming up with the idea for my video and spending a good chunk of time editing out certain portions of my footage, playing with the editing software, and trying to make everything fit cohesively, I realized that there are truly both pros and cons to taking a video approach to explaining a concept over just plain text.

With video, I found that I was able to really put forth my idea in a whole new way. I think using the voiceover as well as the specific footage I chose to film for my video allowed me to set a specific tone for my concept that I don’t think writing would have easily allowed. I wanted the viewer to feel relaxed or at ease. With the footage as well as the music I chose, I feel I was able to accomplish that; with reading a piece of literature, it lacks the effect that a video can have.

Video allows the creator to explore their imaginative side, and get their point across in a way that allows them to put themselves forward; meaning they can bring to life their creation with their personality. That was definitely seen with many of the videos presented. When I think of creativity, and bringing animation to their project, a few videos come to mind. Will’s video “BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!”  really illustrates a creative approach that would not have the same impact if it were written text. The skit between both Will and himself allowed the viewer to get a sense of the characters and the hilarity that Will brings forth with the conversation they have. Reading something is very different from the way the filmmaker/editor presents their creation. Another video that comes to mind would be Amanda’s video “The Art of Subtweeting”. Her video illustrated a step by step explanation on subtweeting in an inventive way. Her visuals and her enthusiasm that she presented in her video were captivating and kept the viewer interested. If that were to be presented in plain writing, you lose the charm and charisma she provides.

Though videos do provide some constraints in the sense that you must find footage to film, then edit your video which can be both fatiguing and time-consuming, however, writing can prove to be the same. With writing, you must come up with an idea, formulate and structure your piece, actually write it, then edit your final product. Both hold a similar a constraint, yet video editing isn’t as simple as editing a few mistakes in a paper.

I find videography to be a great way to get across your idea because you have the ability to put yourself into what you’re creating and connect with the viewer in a way that writing cannot. The images, voiceover, and music you put into your video can have an impact on the concept you’re trying to illustrate.

Aspects of Video

I have always been a fan of watching videos to learn more about different concepts, however, I would not consider myself to be an expert in making them. Actually, I would consider myself far from capable when it comes to bringing together audio, video, and pictures. I know I used to make fun music videos with my friends when I was in middle school, but I just cannot seem to remember how to use all of those special effects that I used to get so excited over. My lack of skills with using iMovie and editing nicely made me nervous to dive into this project, but I also knew it would be fun and interesting to take on the assignment using a different approach than usual.

There are so many aspects of a video that just cannot be depicted in written text. Yes, there are some texts that draw emotion out of the readers and may allow you to connect on a personal level, but that is never a guarantee with written text. The nice thing about a video is that the creator can demonstrate all of the emotions and scenes in the exact way they are envisioning it. In my video about what motivates students here at the University of Delaware, I was able to get direct quotes from my peers and have them each narrate a small portion of the video. I think by recording their voices, I was able to get a relatable and personal message across to all students and get them to take a break from their busy lives for just a minute to think more about their own meaning and why they are here at this school.

I really like that there are so many different methods of creating a video, which was demonstrated through the variety of concept videos in the class. I loved how Elyssa’s video served as a timeline to show personal memories from the same day every year, as well as a clip from the present. This was something that simply could not be done in only written text, because showing actual footage was the best way to convey her thoughts. Mackenzie took a different approach by interviewing students to give different opinions that we probably would have never heard if it were not for this project. I did not know much about the job of an RA before watching her video, so I found it to be a unique way of educating the class on the job. Although Amanda’s approach was quite different from these two since she did not include footage of people or any interviews, she definitely related to the audience through explaining her concept. Anyone can look up the meaning of subtweeting, but hearing a person thoroughly explain it in relatable terms makes it so much more meaningful.

As great as video can be for getting a point across, there are also some downfalls that do not necessarily occur in written text. For example, there are always the technical difficulties that may come about in any sort of media. And once you are online viewing the video, it is so easy to find yourself clicking the next link to a related topic and not finishing watching the original video. Overall, video is a great way to express ideas in creative ways that are catered toward your audience.