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.

Concept in 60: The Infamous Filthy Frank

DISCLAIMER: This man is not a child-friendly person. This man is outrageously offensive and leaves no subject untouched. Should you decide to do further research on this man after watching, you have been warned in advance that there is a high probability that you will be offended to some degree. That said, this video is for you.

Persistence in Technology

While reading the first half of Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated, I was able to immediately connect to the text since it constantly makes references that I see in my own life. She does not write it in as negative of a manner as Carr, just realistically which I enjoyed reading. She talks about the unwritten rules of society such as who sits where at the school football game depending on seniority as well as how we have changed the original purpose of social media. I have to agree with Boyd in these chapters, because realistically why do we need to be messaging our best friends right when we get home from school, when we should be interacting with our family or at least taking a break from technology.

The way that Boyd talks about persistence in relation to social media and technology amongst millennials really fascinated me. The example on page 11 really stood out to me; “Alice may write to Bob at midnight while Bob is sound asleep; but when Bob wakes up in the morning or comes back from summer camp three weeks later, that message will still be there waiting for him, even if Alice and Bob had forgotten about it” (Boyd 11). There are so many nights during the week where I fall asleep mid text message conversation, yet it picks right back up when I respond in the morning as if no time has gone by. Since a conversation over technology is not in the present, it can essentially be paused at any time. Just like Bob in Boyd’s example, I also went to overnight camp and had to go through the touch separation from all technology for seven weeks at a time. I would have to disagree with Boyd that a conversation can pick right back up weeks later because from my experience all I wanted when I got home was to sleep and not yet get engulfed in the overwhelming presence of communication through technology. For a number of days though, the conversation can most definitely by paused and picked back up at any time since chances are, it is not that crucial to one’s life if it is occurring through typed out text rather than on the phone or in person.

Many parents give their children a cell phone for the purpose of keeping in contact with them after school or on the weekends. That makes total sense, of course a parent wants to know the whereabouts of their child. But as cell phones and technology become more popular and more present, kids start to live their lives pretty much through technology. Jenny Schmitt is able to further explain this concept in her talk that essentially describes the majority of kids under the age of eighteen. Once a child is given a cell phone, there is no going back.

Life: Public By Default

I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook on my phone when, from the corner of my eye, I saw a little red mark appear at the notification symbol. I stopped to ponder (for about a millisecond) what could this notification possibly be for. Did a friend tag me in a post that he or she found hilarious? Was it a reminder that tomorrow was an acquaintance’s birthday? Did a friend upload a photo pf the two of us? I clicked on the notification only to find I had been horribly wrong. It was my mother commenting on an embarrassing photo of myself from the year 2010, every millennial’s worst nightmare. Why was she on my profile looking through my old photos and commenting on them? Embarrassed was an understatement; although thinking about it, the entire situation seems insignificant. I proceeded to delete every photo that I found to be mortifying.

danah boyd encapsulates teenager’s sentiments towards social media relatively accurately in her literary piece, “It’s Complicated”. boyd delves into an analytic approach on the sociology behind the way young adults utilize the internet, social media, and technology. boyd strays away from criticizing social media, taking on a different method from Carr and instead providing raw insight, unbiased commentary, and real examples of the influence and change that technology has brought about for this generation, such as, parents checking up on their children over the Internet and even commenting etiquette between family and who the status was intended for. Her points are thought-provoking; I began to question my usage of social media and how I may use it differently from an acquaintance of mine. I found that not only do I agree with the points boyd makes, but as someone who has dealt with and thought about some of the notions mentioned in the text, I was able to relate.

boyd uses a sociological lens to further her points, making her examples stick out to me. She provided an example of the difference between a black high school soccer player, who was not provided with a name, and his white high school classmate named Matthew. The black student focused mostly on portraying his profile in a way that resembled a resume to impress potential recruiters, while Matthew, the white student, shared images and other statuses that could possibly have negative connotations when interpreted in the wrong way. Personally, I try to remain somewhat ‘clean cut’ on Facebook as I am friends with my family and old teachers from high school. It doesn’t occur to me even that I subconsciously think about something before I post it; I can create myself on Facebook and the person I want to portray. However, there might be more to say on the topic of race. When looking at the situation between the black and white high school student, there is a disparity about how race may play into the social freedoms of posting whatever you want online. There could be a possibility that I may be thinking too in depth on this subject, but with the injustices towards black people, how they are constantly scrutinized by the public while white people are excused for most things, the idea does not seem too far gone.

boyd explores this idea of customizing yourself on social media and who it is you want to be. You can hide certain parts of your life, treat the Internet as your diary, or generally joke around about your identity. There is so much power to that and a general concept that the older generations do not understand. boyd illustrates that there is a completely different mentality online, on social media rather. We understand that we control certain aspects of what people see, what we say, how we say it, and who we interact with. In other words, taken from boyd, if you so choose to, your life can be public by default.

What did we do before cell phones?

The introduction of Boyd’s book interested me because she wrote about our usage of cell phones, which is a theme I’ve thought a lot about since beginning this class. The computer is a huge medium for us, but I think the relevance of cell phones has caused people to be more wired than ever. The cell phone offers a type of affordance that makes it easily usable on the go wherever you are. Unlike a computer, a cell phone is small and can fit in your pocket or purse – so it’s never too far. Boyd says that “over 80 percent of high school students had cell phones in 2010” and I believe it. Our generation started young, and it’s brought me to the question: what did we do before cell phones?

There are two specific instances I’ve identified throughout the last two weeks of this course, and I would love for other answers. How did we wake up in the morning before our cell phone alarm? Did our parents wake us up? How many people actually owned an alarm clock? And how many have one today? I genuinely cannot remember a time when I didn’t wake up to the convenience of my cell phone alarm, which I can swiftly and quickly shut off with one grasp. Another thing I’ve been thinking about is directions. How did we know how to get anywhere before cell phones offered maps and step by step directions? I vaguely remember my parents printing pages off of Google maps, but what about when you were going somewhere nearby you were just unsure of? I drove up to Penn State this weekend, where I’ve never been, and my phone took me through the entire three and a half hour journey. I literally have no idea what I would have done without it.

It’s interesting to see how the usage of cell phones has evolved since we were younger. My first 2-3 phones were flip phones, the touch screen not even invented yet (or so I remember). Check out this video where teenagers in 2017 use flip phones for the first time if you want to feel old.

Boyd talks about how our youth creates spaces through social media where they can go and interact without physically transporting anywhere. I found this point interesting because as I thought about it, I realized something startling: I could know (or think I know) so much about a person’s life without ever meeting them. I could know what they look like, what their habits are, their humor, who their family and friends are, where they go to school and what they do, the list goes on. The internet allows teens to know people they don’t actually know. I can see how this poses as danger, but I’m also interested in learning about the danger of unrealistic self expectations and false images it has on teenagers.