Reflection Blog: 7 “End of Semester”

This semester flew by… This class as a whole was different and I did learn a few new things.

The last few weeks we have been summing up the class, the blogs. My group finally found the site theme (with only one blog left to go). It was a bit stressful, working with this group. They are all great people but we all butting heads from time to time.  I was so happy that we got a lot of time in class to work with on our blog. It really gave everyone a chance to ask questions, get answers, and really focus on the blog.

The final presentation was a good idea. I like that we had a “real-life” experience selling ourselves to a company. I do wish we had a few more guidelines though. My group seemed to freak out with all the freedom we had to present out blog. I also wish we had a semi-targeted audience so we could deliver information about our skills more directly.

Now that it’s the end of the semester I have to say I’m not very found of the reflection blogs. I understand the purpose of them but I don’t feel that it’s helping me. I know that the best way to learn something is to teach it another, but just reflecting on what we did in class, this semester wasn’t very helpful to me. My group members almost forgot to do their reflection blogs because they didn’t seem nearly as important to our group blog.

Thanks for a great semester and the donuts for the last day of class!


Reflection Blog: 6 “Techonolgy gone Digital”

Internet Access Here Sign

Internet Access Here Sign (Photo credit: Steve Rhode)


Ok, my reflection of the past few classes. We’ve covered a lot of information in the past few weeks.

We covered the idea of ‘transmedia.’ it was a new term for me but what it is made since to our group.

Next we covered platforms, why platforms were beneficial, which ones were useful. I guess I never really thought about how the layout or how the site works to be productive and grow. Sites like WordPress are simple, but have lots of options, clean and organized. Then compared to other blog sites that are harder to navigate for writers and readers.

I missed a class, due to a funeral I had to go to and traveling out of town for work. I missed a class that I was really looking forward too. How to give a presentation by visuals instead of text. I did a short presentation last semester with Dr. David Parry that consisted of having 10 slides for 20sec each with only visuals, images, pictures. There was no text, no bullet points, and no paragraphs of text in small font. I found last semester that this kind of presentation is very appealing and draws the audience into what you are saying. I hope that my group’s final presentation will have a similar feel and techniques.

The last 2 classes we discussed Transmadia, again, and the digital divide. How technology is interring our real, 3D world, and how people are going to communicate in the future. We watched a cool video of Google’s new visor that gives the idea that the technology and the real world are co-existing. I love these kinds of topics; future technology is what EMAC is all about. And we also talked about the divide of who has access to the Internet. That other cultures and countries are still disconnected so how do we reach out to everyone? My family lives in Ireland (south western region, mostly country with no big cities close by).  Where my family didn’t ever have a computer till I was in middle school, and they didn’t have internet access till I was a senor in high school. Still to this dad my family still doesn’t understand emails (nor do they have an email address) or what Facebook or Twitter are.


To come, our final group presentation. I’m a little worried due that my group has a tendency to over-complicate simple ideas. The presentation is about 10min of talking, and 10min of Q&A, I just hope that everyone can get his or her ideas across in the simplest form so we don’t loose our audience/future employer.


Refection Blog 3: Bubble Filter and Group Blogs

In the past few weeks we have expanded our class discussion about filters. We did a fun experiment in class, everyone Googled “God” and we all had similar as well as different results. I never really thought of personal filtering before. I knew sites like Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook ads did that but I didn’t think Google would! I went home that day and tried out the experiment with my boy friend and then my dad, they were also shocked at the fact that we got different results or the same results in different order.

Our next class was spent in our blog groups, fine-tuning our blogrolls. This was a bit of a challenge for my group. We all liked our own blogs and we wanted to use all of them. We talked it over and over and finally narrowed down our list to our favorite 10 sites/blogs. We later discussed that we might want to edit our list with different blogs that are directed toward a more specific group, a younger audience.

In class we talked about Organization within a blog and the visual design. For me this was a bit dull, it was common sense, but I know that my group members were new to this topic because they have never written a blog, they have never taking Design Basics, etc. So I didn’t learn anything new in those 2 classes.

I’ll admit I’m a bit concerned with our blog. I feel that we are trying something new, and we choose a topic that was doesn’t really have a set audience. I’m up for the challenge and so are my group members. It’s something I have never done, a group blog, and I know at the end it will be a good experience.

TED-The Filter Bubble

My Ten Years of Blogging,” by Malik Om

Non-Designers Design Book Chapters 1, 6 and 8

Refectlion Blog 2: Filter Failure, Crap Detection, and Twitter Literacy

Since the last reflection blog, we have moved on to a new topic: Filter Failure and Crap Detection.

Continuing on from learning the difference between Broadcasting vs Blogging. Our class discussion moved to “filter failure.” We watched Clay Shirky’s discussion on Web 2.0 Expo about It’s Not Information Overload, It’s Filter Failure. In this video clip he explained how we are getting this overload of spam, junk, crap, all because our filters have failed. We live in a world were everyone had some kind of ’21st century ritual’ when checking their email, using spam folders along with manual filters to clean out the junk before reading the important content. In class we talked about some ways/solution to help with the spam overload, not just with email, but with social media sites as well.

We moved onto reading 3 short articles talking about RSS (Real Simple Syndication) as well Aggregation Tools, and how we have to convenience our present brain to see the positives of our future brain. We discussed in class the visual organization, channel coverage, and compartmentalization tools that can help keep all the information you want to stay up to-date on in an orderly, organized, manageable place. After learning what a RSS Feed is, I was still a little intimidated about what it can do. I still see it as another thing to keep track of and to keep organized. Personally I really don’t have a use for it, because I don’t follow multiple sites on a regular basis. Readings: Mindful Infotention by Howard Rheingold, Practical 101S: Google Reader and Persistent Search by Dave Fleet, and Screen Shots: How I Use RSS To Track Thousands of News Sources Easily by Marshall Kirkpatrick.

Class topics moved on to Crap Detection, we read Crap Detection 101 by Howard Rheingold, which talked about how to find credible sources with the help of search engines and manual detective work. In class we played a little game and found sites, with similar topics to our Group Blog Project, to test our skills at finding a sites that we credible. We looked for correct dates, lack of type0’s, credible sources within a article, if the people writing and/or people cited on the site were real and creditable, the amount of traffic flow through the site, and other ‘red-flags’ that popped up on a particular site.

Yesterday we had to read, Twitter Literacy by Howard Rheingold, which talked about Twitter, the uses of Twitter, how to use it, it’s differences compared to other sites, like Facebook, and so on. I personally love Twitter, I didn’t at 1st but I have grown to really appreciate all it’s worth. Our professor Dr. Famiglietti, gave us a wonderful idea and some tips to use Twitter as a search engine for out Group Blog topics, I’m a little bummed I didn’t think of it before. Because I’m the most Twitter savvy in my group, I am now in charge of finding credible sources for our blog though Twitter. I’m so excited; with in the last 10min of class I found lots of great information and people/organizations/companies to follow.

Refection Blog 1: Broadcast vs Blogging

EMAC 2321 – Writing and Research for New Media

Within the past 2 weeks we have been discussing the differences between Broadcasting and Blogging.
Broadcasting, as we defined in class, is TV (news), Radio, and in some cases Print (news papers).
Blogging is text written by an individual, or small group that can be about any interest the writer may have.

We read Say Everything and Broadcast Institutions, Community Values; both talk about the differences between Broadcasting and Blogging. Scott Rosenberg, writer of Say Everything, pointed out some differences between Broadcasting and Blogging that we discussed further in class.  Blogging is posed in reverse chronicle order, is has a narrow, or niche, audience/sub-culture, the writings are raw and personal, there is a 2-way conversation taking place on blog sites, there can be links and hypertext with a blog post to lead to additional information that supports the topic, and in Rosenberg’s writings he talked about aggregation. Aggregation is a collective page of links that lead to other blog sites, usually about the same topic(s). In the reading and in class we discussed how this could be useful and harmful. Useful because it will pop up on search engines and is more likely to be opened and read by the view than a single blog on the 5th page of you search. Aggregation can also help build connections between stories and other blogs, like a networking web of similar and support topics. It is also a new way to ‘reuse’ or ‘remix’ information found on multiple blogs to make a better blog with better information/a better story. On the Broadcasting side of it all they are looking to reach a big, broad audience, they have rules and standards that are put in play by the industry, there is only a 1-way distribution, meaning that views can not interact with the host, and a big factor is that money is involved, reporters have to focus on income so they will report on what will sell not necessarily what they are passionate about.
We went further into our discussion about the Writer vs. the Industry. Writers, who are successful, must be creatable, they have to build a popular and positive reputation, and they tend to be more personal in their writings. These techniques lead to more readers that become followers who will interact with a blog by communicating, posting additional reading material, etc. In the industry the reporter had to report facts (they HAVE to be creatable) and tell an authentic story, something new and fresh.

'Say Everything' Class Notes

In our 2nd reading, Broadcasting Institutions, Community Values written by Clay Shirky, was explaining how blog communities are created and how they grow. We discussed the 5 ‘rules of thumb’ that Shirky explained in his writings.
1. Audiences are built. Communities grow.
We talked about the difference between an audience and a community. We talked about how the word ‘grow’ was a very natural world that really highlights that a community is natural it cannot be built, it needs room to stretch out and grow.
2. Communities face a tradeoff between size and focus.
In class we said there is a division between the size of a community and where it’s focus is. If the community stays small you have a small audience but the discussions are focused on the writer’s topic and everyone is in agreement. For lager communities they tend to loose the writer’s focus and they can start building their own ideas that can be different and far off topic than then the original discussion.
3. Participation matters more than quality.
“Publish, then filter” – there is a new way of writing, blogs seems to publish something and they after they fact they go back and edit, ‘filter,’ readers so a lot of this editing own their own by adding supporting links to the topic and making changes to the original text. Readers also edit by choosing what to read. In broadcasting the edits are done first before anything is published or announced.
4. You may own the software, but the community owns itself.
Communities have ruled to govern itself; you can now make a community do what you want. You have to let them explore and use the tools that you (the software) has provided for them to make the space their own and use it they way they want. As an owner of the software you have be able to let the community be free.
5. The community will want to build. Help it, or at least let it.
Ask yourself, what are the motivations the passion of the community? You, the writer, have to show the readers that you are as enthusiastic about the same motivations and passions as they are. You have to engage your readers!

I find that one of the biggest differences between Broadcasting and Blogging is the interaction, the 1 or 2-way communication that takes place with the host. Blogging may not be as creditable as Broadcasting but it becomes more interesting and more rich with every additional commit a community member posts. It is more personable and as humans we want interaction with other humans, we want to be connected, we want to read about personal stories that may relate to our own lives. Broadcasting will never be able to reach this level of personable conversations unless it turns into a blog.

After really reading, re-reading, discussing, and writing about what the differences are I found that for me, I like and will follow both Broadcasting and Blogging. Broadcasting, for me, is visual, it tells me big stories (that in most cases I rather not hear), and gives me the big picture. I then find myself writing my own blog or reading someone’s blog about a topic I saw on the news (broadcast) or I start reading/writing about topics that I find interesting that broadcasting will never talk about. As and EMAC and ATEC student I find that in this world of technology that we live in you have to be able to adapt, and adapt quickly in order to survive, and that is exactly what I intend to do. Learn new ways to communicate, to express my self, to explore new opinions from others and find the best way to ‘broadcast’/advertise yourself to a small community that is forces as well as a broad audience that may find that you are what they are looking for and will in turn join your following community.