Final Blog Post (finally)

Well, this is it. The last school assignment of any sort I am writing before graduation. It feels surreal.

As I said last week, the course was not what I was expecting, as I thought it would be more about “writing” than it was about…well, writing HTML code. What I gathered from it–or at least one of the things I’ll take away–is that the world of the internet is always changing. In fact, this course would probably have to be revamped every few years in order to keep up.

The key to successful internet writing, I think, is knowing your audience, and knowing your website’s house style. I have been writing for the website Animated Views for years. As a result, I know what the readers expect from the site, which in turn means I know how to keep it going. But at the same time, knowing your audience can potentially make it difficult to find a new one.

I thank Dr. Campbell for her course, and apologize that many of my assignments didn’t turn out quite like I had hoped. Also, she made a wonderful pie. I almost wanted to bring it home with me.

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Final Blog Post

As I said Ad-Hoc style today, this class was not what I expected. “Writing for the Web” seemed like a class that would teach very basic information, like how to write blogs or something, and I already have a good familiarity with the internet and technology. This class was not that. I am very critical of school and its outdated nature. There was nothing outdated about the things we learned in this class. Everything from video filming and editing, photo taking and editing, web design, and audio contain components that have general practicality and are not only useful, but will remain useful forever.

Also this had nothing to do with my future self. Whoops.

Course Reflection

I am a writing and rhetoric major. When I enrolled for this course, I expected to write papers with a world wide web ~feel~. I expected to be taught how to appeal to every possible audience that I could find on the web, and I expected it to be a breeze.

On the first day of class, I was terrified. Reading the contents of the syllabus and absorbing what my responsibilities would be for the next 14 weeks scared the shit out of me. It was not at ALL what I expected.

Fast forward to the end of the semester, and I have gained an entirely new perspective on the meaning of “writing for the world wide web.” All of the things I had never considered “writing” before are suddenly the first things I think about. I used to limit myself to textual writing. Not on purpose, but because I didn’t realize how many other ways there were to write. I never considered writing for sound, or using photos to convey more thoughts and feelings than words themselves could. It’s hard to believe I was so sheltered from the ways I could appeal to people through writing (or not writing).

As a writing major, I believe my future will eventually lead me to writing for the web. The world is becoming more digitized, and it feels inevitable that I will end up typing behind a computer for people and groups of all ages and interests. This course has opened up hundreds of possibilities for me as a writer. I am grateful for the understanding of digital writing and archiving it has brought me.

Take a Breath…

I must keep reminding myself to take a breath. I get far too overwhelmed about things that are very simple. Things I know I can figure out with ease. So just take a breath. Over the course of this entire semester, I’ve been focused — more focused than I have ever been, in fact. I am desperate to keep up this same momentum. I have to because my focus has produced nothing but positivity for me.

Initially, I was terribly afraid to take this course because all the programs we’ve used are strangers to me. Now that we have arrived at the final week of this course, I am so angry at my 15-week ago self. I feared for absolutely nothing. The work I produced, especially with Jack and Megan, was incredible for a beginner. If only I had taken a breath when I was feeling overwhelmed. I could have saved myself so much stress.

I may not be well-versed in all my endeavors, but I have enough life experience to figure things out. I can do it. I just truly wish I had this same mindset all my life. I guess its better late than never. But never late is better.  I really appreciated all the “Picture Not Taken” stories. They made me do some deep thinking. It is okay to savor the moment, to enjoy the present. Group work is also not terrible. Stress kills and creates wrinkles, neither of which I want to come early.

So I pray to continue to speak positivity into others and myself. I will continue to just take a breath.

End of Year Gibberish

Everything I made in this class was a mistake.

Not to say that I don’t think I made anything worthwhile.  I just didn’t mean to take this class.  I had to take Writing for Media in order to take any other media production classes and it was full on my enrollment day, so being the dumb freshman that I am, I just randomly signed up for this class. I didn’t check with my advisor or anything.  I figured it would be kind of the same thing.  I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that it was a 300 class and I was supposed to be taking 100 or 200.  I skipped orientation because I figured I could just wing it.

And then I got there and everything was way different than I thought it would be.  I honestly thought we would just be practicing writing for an online blog—which we did, but that wasn’t the half of it.

We made videos about other people—people who’s stories needed to be told.  We had to learn about filming, story-boarding, and editing in a rapid pace.  And, even worse, we had to do it in a group.  From this project, I learned a ton of technical skill I’m sure will help me in the future.  It also taught me that I can indeed work in a group and survive, and that maybe I should give them more of a chance.

Then, we were tasked at making a recovery story.  I chose to document my grandmother’s house, and I’m still not sure if I regret that decision.  Not that it wasn’t fun, but that I’m afraid I’m going to be haunted.  That taught me photo editing and storytelling skills that I’m sure will be useful to me.  I also learned that I shouldn’t be hesitant to go down into dark basements.  Maybe a little hesitant, but not super.  If I hadn’t gone into the spooky house’s basement, I wouldn’t have gotten a cool picture of a printing press.

Eventually came the sound project, which may be my favorite.  I liked that one because it brought to light a medium that people usually write off as “lesser than” as far as entertainment goes—podcasts.  Podcasts are cool and interesting and underrated by the general public.  That taught me about sound, and how much of what I hear really determine what I feel.  It also taught me that I shouldn’t hate the sound of my own voice.  Especially now that I know how to use Audacity and can make it sound better.

Finally we have the remix project, which as a premise itself was difficult.  I knew it was coming, but I took up until the very last day, the day our proposals were due, to decide what I was doing.  To find some semblance of meaning in a bunch of unrelated works by different, inexperienced authors was a daunting task.  But, inspiration struck, and I wove the most poetic lines from our blog posts into a statement on documentation and contradictions.  If you like it and you’re in my class, pat yourself on the back—they’re your words.

Really, that’s what this class was about.  Even when we made these projects, we were contributing to the mass archive of the world, remixing old information, bringing new information to light.  It’s a huge amount of power that the individual holds these days—to be able to manipulate fact through all of these channels and project something new into the world.  And yet, nothing is absolute.  We can document what we want in whatever ways we desire, but we never have the final say.  The same things can be remixed and rewritten, photographed, recorded in audio and video a thousand times over—but we will never get the full picture.

But I suppose that’s for the best.  If we had the full picture from the very beginning, there would be no reason to remix and rewrite.  There would be no reason to create content at all.  The series of questions that inspire us as humans to create and convey a message would be answered with immediate gratification, and we would remain immobile, all-knowing, with the same grayscale perception.  To document is to try to make something absolute, to establish as fact—but it also allows information to be revisited.  Like typing a paper then reading it back and finding an error—even the document is subject to change.  To record is to allow for questioning.  The series of questions that inspire us as humans to create and convey a message, to which we’ll never get a complete answer.

So no, we’ll never get the full picture.

But maybe we don’t need it.

Final Blog Post!

If I were telling myself things that would help me had I told myself at the beginning of this course I would tell myself to make sure I go to office hours because Dr. Campbell is there to help and definitely ask as many questions as possible while in office hours because it will help at the end of the day. I would tell myself to make sure I get as many classmates numbers as possible because when you are unable to meet with Dr. Campbell these classmates will be the ones to help the most. I would think about my topics more clearly because a lot of the time there were broad topics that could have been made more specific and vice versus.

I definitely enjoyed the Video Portrait of a Citizen, but I still wish my group and I would have been able to work with the professor of the university simply because I think it would have made for a better video. For the Recovery Story, I would have completely done a different person rather than my grandfather simply because it was difficult for me to find the so what! Of that project and if I was unable to find it I know my audience was unable to find it. As for the Performative Project, I enjoyed that project although it gave me the most trouble. I think this project is the one that came out the best and the one I’m the most proud of. I would have gotten a little bit of help when doing this project simply working with the voices but I think I did a good job.

Overall, I would recommend this class to anyone who wants a challenge and is somewhat good with a computer. This course is based on what you do an time management because the projects can all come at once but you will also learn a lot about missing info and how ideas and concepts are or are not archived on the World Wide Web.

The Final Blog Post (To tune of The Final Countdown)

I think my biggest takeaway for the year is understanding the importance of the undocumented citizen. With each assignment we’ve finished, in a small way, each assignment was building off of that (for me at least). Especially with the sound piece. Starting from an archive to re-tell and re-purpose an event or person was paying homage to their sacrifices, and their lives in a format that is not typically used.

I feel like the project had a way of unintentionally teaching a real life lesson outside of the digital environment. Step back and really focus in on the people around them rather than themselves, and make it your business to let their story be heard.

A lot of times in a digital environment, we create with a purpose to spark conversation about something, by telling other people’s stories it creates a platform for their achievements to start a discussion.