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.

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Favorites

The weekly posts throughout the semester are one of the unique things that I enjoyed about this class. I have been shown different points of view as well as different platforms to use. One piece that I really enjoyed for its writing was Graham’s piece “Internet Etiquette: Put Down Your (Pitch) Fork” in which he discusses and compares Ronson and Boyd. This piece stood out to me for both what it says, and how it says it. You can tell through the prose that Graham is very passionate about what he is saying. The whole posts revolves around how the internet is an inescapable part of today’s society. He brings up both author’s points of view, quotes from both books, and then still uses is own point of view. He brought it all together by saying, “civil rights development and even political development took and is still taking quite a while to develop: so do your best to make the web a better place but don’t be a lofty idealist”. It’s up to us to make the internet what we want it to be and that’s shown here.

A post that moved beyond words for me was Ellie’s remediation piece of her poem. I sat in awe after listening/watching it. The words themselves were so powerful, but the way in which Ellie used her voice, shaping the tone and controlling the line breaks. In addition to the amazing use of voice she also added pictures, which mostly don’t seem to belong to her, but help give a visual that alludes to the poems topic. The pictures also create a mood that is enhanced by the words and the way in which they are said. Everything about this piece was powerful and Ellie did an amazing job taking words on paper and putting it into a video.

Jake’s Favorites!

I really liked a lot of different pieces for different reasons this semester – this assignment was difficult! Picking only two pieces was like picking my favorite candy in a chocolate store (I love all chocolate).

I managed to narrow it down though. And the first piece I’d like to talk about is Amanda’s piece, “Ronson for the Gold.” I have a specific quote that I enjoyed for the prose of it. But I also liked how she was able to connect what we were reading to real-time events (United Airlines and Pepsi) and their recent dealings with public shaming. Her ability to connect our readings in class to current events showcases her writing skill and finesse in such a way that highlights her maturity as a writer.

The part I really enjoyed in her piece was:

“Ronson makes the point that each of the attackers made a choice as to whether they wanted to shame that person or not. Whether they thought they were “doing something good” or not, they each made the choice.”

First of all, I agree with the point she is making here about Ronson. That everyone has a choice when they’re online and that technology is simply a catalyst – not the issue itself.

I also liked her use of repetition to drive home her point, saying “made a choice” twice. And also her use of diction – calling the tweeters, “attackers.” Which is a fair choice of word in this case.

Also driving home the point, using the quoted ‘doing something good’ – it oversimplifies and understates that issue at hand – and I think this does a beautiful job of using underestimation to emphasize the point she was making.

For “moving beyond writing,” I have to pick James’ “Concept in 60 video.” Could this concept be translated into text? Into step-by-step instructions? Absolutely.

But there’s no way you’d get the same feeling of enjoyment and hilarity that you get from watching this essential concept in a 60 second video. While being wonderfully edited and put together, James’ video showcases his love for Star Wars which helps the reader or viewer relate to the video and pay attention that much more – and it also doesn’t feel like an ad, which perhaps a written text with a plug for Star Wars might seem.

The effort put into this concept video certainly helped James move beyond the page and find a certain tone and connection with the viewer that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do with simple written text.

You see a friendly guy showing you how to maximize your enjoyment when you finally find some time to sit down and watch a movie for yourself. Well done!

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.

My Favorite

There are so many great writers in this class and each one has had a unique post for every assignment. I have enjoyed a lot of these pieces but I have been really struck by Mackenzie’s piece “Messages” from the Writing as Social Action assignment. Her topic here is one that most students are aware of as likely most students have heard Kirkbride Jesus preach at one point or another, and there are probably many of us who have also contributed to the online response to Mark at one point or another making her post extremely relatable. Her post here was extremely well written and I really liked how she introduced the topic with a very descriptive opening and a quote by Mark: “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.’.”

Specifically, I thought her incorporation of quotes throughout her piece was very different from what other people posted about for this assignment. She focused her post on the general reaction from the populace and her own feelings about it, highlighting her involvement in the response with a few tweets. But she didn’t focus her entire piece around the tweets she had written, she only used them to emphasize her purpose and, to me, it had a very interesting effect that worked really well. And definitely, I thought her closing paragraph had some thoughtful insights. I tend to tune out the Kirkbride Jesus when I walk by while he’s there, but I never considered it to be similar to advertising from big name companies in a way: “Companies share messages too. We pass by them as consumers and can choose to listen and learn or can choose to pass by.” It’s interesting to think how they throw out messages about their products and even if no one responds directly, they are still getting their word out and perhaps, just like with Kirkbride Jesus, there is a response to it in an online community.

Class favorites

There have been many posts that I have enjoyed, especially Ashley’s. In the beginning of this course Ashely was in my group, so we read her pieces out loud and I have always thought she was an amazing writer. In her first piece, “The Need to Be Plugged In” I remember loving the way she set up her piece. She starts with a story of her and her friend betting on how old Robert Downey Jr. is. And that Ashely just googled it and there was the answer. “just like that, I was plugged into the vast and ceaseless world of the Internet.”Also, the use of the phrase “plugged in” is great because it relates to how technology is usually “plugged in” to outlets and how our focus is “plugged in.” Like most peoples post that day, Ashley goes on to talk about how hard it is to read now. And then she ends her piece bringing up the bet, and that is a bet ($10) really worth her inability to focus.

My favorite piece that moved beyond writing was Amanda’s Concept in 60 post about subtweeting. Amanda used a fast pace video with colors, shapes, and sizes. It is very pleasing to the eye as it also has a lot of solid information. She also has good background music to go along with her video. Lines her video also stick out to me, like when she says “beware” and “tweet responsibly.” This was a very well put together video that moved past the basic use of writing.

The Written Word Still Works

The written word has many great uses that are lost upon much of the youth of today. The world has been overtaken by podcasts and videos and texting, leaving very little use for a medium such as the unaided written word. Or, at least that is what uninitiated of the uses of publications would be lead to believe. Throughout the semester in the course of English 397 this concept has been approached in a variety of manners, some less apparent while others are rather obvious and yet underutilized. I found the medium exercises its greatest affordances with succinct and important quotes that speak for the piece as a whole in poignant ways. In addition, accompaniments of written pieces that further exposit important ideals of the work are a key affordance of the medium as well.

An example from the course of great quotable writing I found was within Devon’s work earlier on in the semester. In Devon’s piece “Is Memorizing a Waste of Time?” my colleague writes about how he believes that the internet has in unintentional ways depleted our ability to memorize information due to the simplicity of search engines and access to the world wide web. The concept in it of itself is a fascinating read, however it is punctuated with an exclamation point with a phrase that I feel drives the point home in a thought-provoking manner. Devon says “In my opinion, the only thing to be worried about when it comes to Internet dependence is what happens if we were to lose connection.” This sentence ends the passage but also bridges the thought process into the outside of the reading, making the reader question himself or herself and revisit the piece again. A simple choice of words can have that power; the ability to provoke thought and to stimulate interest, and I feel Devon does just that in his writing here.

As previously stated, as impressive as just really well written works are, the affordance the medium has it that additional attachments can be included to further the words. That can be seen in Isabella’s piece “Everyday Curators” from a few months ago. Isabella has a strong argument in regards to the uses of Google and how it has become a tool for mankind that allows for greater knowledge. However great her words were though they were only amplified and emphasized through her use of accompaniments, such as her screenshot of the Google Trends homepage. This is an aspect of Google’s search engine that Isabella writes about, but the image illustrates and drives home the point, clarifying the impact of the resource. The use of the image goes beyond the writing and brings the crux of the piece full circle for the reader in a way that could not have been done otherwise. The written word allows for works like these and others to act as examples of the power that words on a page still have even in spite of the various of popular mediums that are present all around us today.