In, Through, and Beyond

When I first signed up for this class, my sole intention was to get my feet wet in the new media track of the writing and rhetoric program here at Oakland University.  I was nervous about not having much experience with new technologies.  Plus, I was pretty much certain that the professional track was the path for me.  There were a lot of non-traditional requirements for this course like setting up various social media accounts and blogging.    At first I thought I had made a mistake because of all the social media that we were required to understand.  I mean, I was of course familiar with Facebook (really who isn’t) but Twitter, blogging, and social media in general seemed so pointless to me and I was closed-minded toward it in a number of ways, clearly shown in my project 1 blog post.  After I got over my narrow minded views of the internet, it hit me that this class has given me so many tools that I can apply to my personal and social life.

It was not until the onset of project 2 that I started to understand and accept some aspects of new media.  This was right at the time of the presidential debates of 2012 and we as a class were required to live-Tweet the event.  Again, at first I was thinking wSeal of the President of the USAhat is the point?  It honestly took all three debates and then some for me to get the hang of Twitter.  Once I got the flow of how Twitter worked I realized that it could actually be used as a tool for political discourse.  For each talking point during the debates, I could actually witness what other people thought about what each candidate was saying in real time.  I could see trends flowing, what people liked, what they did not like, ect.  Twitter was what I was most objective to from the beginning and the presidential debates are what really tipped my Twitter iceberg, so to speak.  I almost wish I could go back and live-Tweet the debates again now that I know how to use the network, but there are so many things to live-Tweet which I have recently discovered.  Television shows, live sporting events, concerts, there is an infinite list of things that people can talk about.  The best thing that I personally get from Twitter is breaking news feed.  It is funny how it worked out being that Twitter was the thing that I had the most trouble adapting to.  Now I find myself on Twitter more than any other form of social media.

I started to get a feeling for things that I previously did not even know existed, such as the development of the online persona both social and personal.   Before this class, when I Googled my name, all that came up were a few old hockey stats.  Now a quick search will show my Twitter page, my blog, Linkedin, and e-portfolio.  My name is out there and I could not have done it without the skills I learned in writing for new media.  By the time project 3 came around I was all in with new media.  I have come so far since the beginning of this class.  I can say with 100% certainty that if I had not taken this class, I would be at such a disadvantage when it comes to being professional and up to date with the times.  When I turned in my final project for this class, I really could say that I had truly started the development of my online persona.

This class is the reason why I am switching to the new media writing track.  My whole outlook on my future career has changed and it is very exciting stuff.  I never have even considered a potential career in this field before this class.  I really enjoyed the class and I really am happy with all of the internet tricks I have learned.  I had no idea that this was a brand new class and I can honestly say that this was one of, if not the most beneficial class that I have ever taken.  I found it especially interesting when we learned about using html coding the last few days of class.  I think many people find coding to be so boring, but for some reason I seem to like it.  Writing for new media was an excellent course and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to understand the new ways of writing on the internet.  The tools I have learned to use from this class have already made an impact on my academics.  I feel as though I have stumbled upon gold in this class and I plan to continue working with new media to enhance my online persona.

 

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Digital Submission

The new age is upon us.  “The times, they are a changin’,” as Dylan put it.  Only a short time ago I did not even know what new media was.  New media has expanded the way I look at the internet, social media, and professional networking more than I ever could have in the past.  I was completely blown away when I discovered how many networking sites are out there.  One of my previous blog posts gives a clear explanation of what my experience with new media was like no more then a couple months ago.  As the title suggests, defiant is what I was toward the new ways of the internet (i.e. Twitter, Blogging, Professional Networking).  I never used the internet for more than a Google search, or the occasional how-to video on YouTube.  As I said above, the new age is upon us and it is upon me.  I have gone from only using Facebook socially, to being involved with different professional networks and developing an online persona.  Having said that, different forms of social media channel different aspects of the online persona, the professional realm and the social realm.  The advantage this gives me in the professional world is tremendous and could never be done with these tools.

The Professional

My online persona as an academic began when my writing and rhetoric class introduced me to the Oakland University e-portfolio.  The e-portfolio is a place for OU students to network professionaly.  Students can present accomplishments, academics, skills, employment, ect, and connect with other students and faculty.  I was amazed at how easy this site was to use and understand and I was excited to get it up and running.  The relationships we earn in college are important, and now thanks to the e-portfolio, they remain relevant after graduation in the professional realm.  Unlike Facebook, where users upload vacation photos and such, the OU e-portfolio is designed to market strictly professional skills.

What literally spawned from the e-portfolio for me was when I was introduced to Linkedin.  Linkedin is even more in depth then the e-portfolio and is available to a much wider array of people.  It is not just for OU students, but rather for business professionals, teachers, and employers.  I admit, at first I was a little bit intimidated by Linkedin simply due to the fact that so much personal information is required.  Once I realized that it was simply a matter of adjusting the privacy settings, I was able to see exactly what this site is all about.  Strictly professional.  In fact, I knew that Linkedin was a legitimate when I found my mom and a few other family members, all of whom are very involved in the corporate world.  Now that I am on Linkedin, I can network with real buisness professionals in the real world without even having to exert any physical energy.  With a few clicks of the mouse, my entire resume, areas of expertise, my academic record are available to a vast amount of future employers more so then I ever could have without it.  Again, when compared to Facebook, Linkedin is not a place to update your social status or to keep in touch with old friends.  It is a place for business.  It is a place for the future.

One of the best things about these two professional networking sites is the ability to interconnect them.  If a student sees my e-portfolio, they can instantly be linked to my Linkedin page, my blog, Facebook and Twitter.  From one page, future employers and colleagues can see my entire online persona which is very important for convenience and efficiency.

The Social

I think the second major part in developing a professional online persona is related to social networking website such as Twitter and Facebook.  We have all heard the horror stories about employees getting fired or not hired due to what some would consider negative content on Facebook or possibly Twitter.  However, I like to think that my Facebook is a place to let people know who I am as a human being.  Although there are many professional aspects associated with Facebook these days, I prefer to use Linkedin for networking with academics.  I recently went through my Facebook and cleared out a lot of uneccessary and unprofessional content of any kind.  I like my Facebook to only give people a brief insight into who I am outside of the professional realm.

I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter, but recently have been using Twitter to keep up on current events in news and in buisiness.  Personally, I have not yet found the professional aspect of Twitter.  However, I keep the possibility in my head that a future employer could potentially want to look at my Twitter page.  Just keep it professional.  Its all about class, 110% class.

The Combination

The combination of the professional aspect and the social aspect is what develops the complete online professional persona.  It cannot be done with just one or the other.  An employer needs to understand the social aspect of a person (Facebook, Twitter, ect) coupled with the professional (Linkedin, e-portfolio).  I plan to follow this formula in the future to ensure that I make the most of social and new media in order to further develop my persona as an academic.

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Does it Really Make a Difference?

It amazes me that Twitter is becoming so popular in our social lives.  Millions of people coming together around some kind of function and putting forth ideas, beliefs, fact-checks, and insults is both exciting and fun.  My first real experience with Twitter was during the 2012 presidential debates as I have mentioned in my “Digital Defiance” blog.  Listening to the news anchors on television talk about the millions of live tweets, tweets that I had engaged in, made me feel connected to my fellow viewers.  Before I was in my WRT232 class, I was, in a way, against Twitter and other forms of social media.  Although I have been a very casual Facebook user for a number of years, I never really cared about it that much.  Bottom line, before WRT232, I was just not into social media.  Being calm, cautious, and low key is just what I am by nature, and there is really no place for that in the realm of new media.  Even through the first couple weeks of class I remained skeptical of the whole thing.  It was not until the first debate that I discovered what Twitter was really about.  It was also then that I determined that Twitter was becoming a second platform for political and social discourse which has both negative and positive aspects.

Like I said in “Digital Defiance” and above, I was never into social media, but now I find myself looking at Twitter on a daily basis.  There is something almost addicting to it.  I know that it is ultimately pointless, and I often think about how none of my “real” friends are even on Twitter, but I still look anyway.  For example during television programs I watch and things going on in the news are things that I frequently look for on Twitter.

But why?Image

I think a lot of it has to do with the feeling of participation, rather the illusion of participation.  During the debates, it was really cool seeing what everyone had to say about certain things and what really peaked the interest of the users.  On top of that it was really cool to feel connected with other viewers, and it’s really cool to “hear” everyone’s voice.  It’s all very cool.  But that’s it.  It is just cool.  Like a novelty item, it serves no function other than to amuse us.  The news anchors say that there are millions and millions of tweets during the debates…And? So what? Are Romney and Obama going to change their plans because of it? are my own opinions really going to change because of Twitter trends?  Not very likely, which is why I say it is just a novelty.  Let me just be clear; I am not at all trasImagehing Twitter, I have recently discovered how to enjoy it and the function it serves.  All I am stating is that the function Twitter serves in regard to political discourse in all reality is pointless.  For instance, my classmate Anthony (@RealTonyRone) and I could go back and forth on this issue all day (see fig 2), but when all is said and done nothing will have changed.  We may agree to disagree, but that will still leave us with divided opinions, which is just a normal part of being human.

Regardless of what I have to say, there is no doubt that live tweeting the debates was a very popular thing for users to do.  There was so many tweets that it was impossible to keep up with all of them.  By the time I got through ten tweets, much less respond to anyone, there would be forty new ones.  That was something I actually found a bit annoying.  I cannot understand how anyone could read every single tweet.  It is said that everyone’s voicImagee can be heard on Twitter, but I do not think that is true.  When I think about this I wonder if other users realize what I am talking about.  It brings into question the Slate article I read in class which talks about how Twitter is going to start gauging itself toward offering a more passive experience for its users.  For me, it already is a passive experience.  Nothing about it really educated me in political matters, nor swayed my opinions on anything.  It was just a fun and somewhat interesting thing to do with my hands while watching these debates.  It is these reasons that I am skeptical about the role of social media like Twitter in regard to political discourse.

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Digital Defiance

In the years of my childhood, I was the type of kid who was always outside and playing sports.  Getting better at hockey and fishing was what I spent most of my time doing.  I think this was instilled to me by my parents, who would always encourage me to go outside instead of watching television or playing video games.  I had no problem with that because I loved being outside and being active.  Computers and video games never really appealed to me anyway and I was usually the last one in my class to get the new Game boy, game council, or cell phone.  I just never wanted them that badly.  All I wanted for birthdays and Christmas was the best new hockey equipment or fishing gear.  It was always a wonder to me why anyone would rather play sports on a screen when it was so easy to grab some kids from the neighborhood for a street game.  These instincts stuck with me through middle school and remains today with a couple exceptions.  No matter how hard I try to stay disconnected from the internet I know that the fast paced world of today requires it, so I keep an open mind and do my best to keep up with the technology.

My first experience with social media happened during my freshman year of high school when I started an AOL instant messaging account.  It was so basic but I remember thinking how cool it was to be able to chat with friends instantly through the computer screen.  At first it was only something I used on rainy days, but before long I was online almost every evening.  I used to get so excited when I heard the little “ba-ling” sound of an incoming message.  That quickly faded out in a couple of years, especially once MySpace became popular.  My second major experience with new media was MySpace.  I remember not being terribly interested in the idea of MySpace and I probably would have never made one myself if a girl I liked at the time hadn’t made one for me.  I had a slow start with the account, but once I started embracing what MySpace was all about those feelings of excitement came every time I went on my account and saw a post on my page.  After a couple years, I started to watch MySpace turn from a place for friends, into a place where people could gossip and inadvertently trash-talk each other.  I remember there being a couple physical fights in school that ensued from such behavior.  In fact, instances similar to these occur all over the country as discussed in the article “Freedom of Speech Redefined by Blogs”, by Bill Schackner.  These issues regarding offensive comments being posted online bring the right to free speech into question.  When I ask myself if I have the right to say anything I want online, my answer is, well yes I certainly have that right but I simply have the courtesy and respect of my fellow man to keep it non-offensive and to not trash the views of others.  I agreed with Schackner’s claim that it is “impossible to legislate” what people put online.  I also see his point that there simply are no rules online.  Again, I think it comes down to a matter of common courtesy and respect for fellow online users, but it really is a learn by experience kind of thing.

MySpace only lasted about a year for me.  After that, a couple years went by where I remained off the grid.  No MySpace, no AIM, no nothing and things were great.  The remaining years of high school I lived technology free with the exception of a cell phone and the occasional Google search.  In many ways I was on a flight to conversation as opposed to “The Flight from conversation”, an article written by Sherry Turkle about the social effects of digital conversation.  I think I was a sophomore in high school when texting was a new big deal, which was when I noticed a shift in other people’s behavior.  Everyone constantly had their heads buried in their phones.  Instead of the traditional “call ya later”, it became texts.  Turkle explains in her article that when we converse through digital means, our communication skills get worse and questions and answers become simpler.  She is right to make that claim because without real conversation, things lose personality.  It’s like people forget that it is actually a person on the other end of the text.  There is no asking how someone’s day is going, which is another thing we have forgotten how to do.  Turkle even backs up my point when she says “we get used to being shortchanged on conversation and to getting by with less, we seem almost willing to dispense with people all together”.  For this reason I remained a “call” person.

After going through the second half of high school off the grid, my freshman year of college brought my most prominent use of social media came into play.  Facebook.  Facebook was great and it really served its purpose well for me at the time, which was to meet new people on campus.  It allowed me to connect with all sorts of people and I could talk to these people about classes and homework assignments and they could actually collaborate with me and give help.  Then when I started commuting the next year, I used Facebook to keep in touch with those people whom I didn’t see as much.  For the most part I have not had many issues with Facebook until recently when memes started going around.  For me, Facebook has always been about keeping in touch with real friends, not promoting beliefs, or politics, or anything like that.  Some of these memes are intended to be funny which is completely fine in my eyes.  It is when memes become negative that turns me off of Facebook and its users, such as the instances in an article written by Jack Stuef called “The ugly dark side of Facebook memes” where college students were getting a lot of backlash for what they had been posting online.  Once I noticed a meme posting pattern however, delete. Problem solved.  Stuef also suggested doing a clean-out of Facebook friends in order to slow down the meme posts.  In fact, he also shares the same position as me when he says “Facebook would be a more enjoyable place if it went back to the basics and focused on its original role as a virtual hub for maintaining real-life friendships”.  Ever since I cleaned out my friends list, I have not had to deal with pointless memes about political beliefs, sick/dying infants, ECT.  Memes are like reading tabloids and anyone with half of a brain can sort through the good and the bad ones.

My use of social media today is not very extensive.  I still use my Facebook maybe twice a week, and I actually just started an account with the Lake St. Clair Network which is a social site for boaters and anglers who use the lake.  Other than that, I have to admit that I am old-school when compared to other members of my generation.  For instance, I have never understood the purpose of blogs.  Most of what I have heard about blogs is negative things.  It all comes down to a matter of personal responsibility when posting anything on the internet.  My thought on how we should base digital communication is if it can’t be said in a public setting, then do not say it.  I hope it is something that other internet users will learn how to do over time.

In regard to social media in its entirety, I keep an open mind.  Although I have never felt the need or interest for social media before, I am starting to feel left behind in a way these days.  Everyone in my generation today is on many social media sties and writes blogs.  I on the other hand barely have a clue.  The bottom line is that I am willing to learn and understand how it all works.  A year ago if anyone asked me if I was on twitter I would say hell no, but I have an account now.  I am still learning how to use it but at least I have one.  I think the internet could be perfect if users would just demonstrate some respect for others.  It really is no surprise to me that I am a little behind on social media and I think that my childhood and lifestyle reflect that.

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Writing for New Media..Outdoors!

It was a cool morning when Monday arrived, bringing with it my first ever outdoor class.  I had no idea what to expect, but I love the outdoors so I was excited regardless.

At around 10:30 A.M. I met up with my friend and fellow classmate Leyann to make our way to the “area of concern” together.  The “area” I am talking about was in the middle of the biological preserve on the campus of Oakland University.

There were a few things that were going through my head as we walked to the abandoned campsite that was to become the focus of our class.  I wish I would have known about this place when I lived on campus.  I was wondering what the point of all this was going to turn out to be.

We were greeted by our classmate Anthony who guided us off the beaten path to the campsite.  By this time Grace had caught up with us and we all met up with the rest of the class at the site.  I was surprised to see how much stuff was actually back there; lawn chairs, tables, metal art work, and remains of a full-fledged tent.

The first thing I started doing was cataloging the site and surrounding area.  With our plan to use social media to persuade others to solve this problem in mind, I immediately started thinking about how this could be done.

The pallets are going to be the hardest things to deal with.  I work with them a lot and trust me, some of them can be really tough and heavy.  No access to electricity will also be a obstacle to be overcome.  I took a few photos and a short video on everything that was back there.

Once we were all done cataloging our findings, class was over and we went our separate ways.  Poor Leyann got covered with burrs lol.  

Since that day I have been wondering how our class can spread enough awareness to make this work.  Time will tell. 

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The First Presidential Debate: Live Tweeting

 

The first presidential debate of 2012 occurred on Wednesday, October 3rd.  It was my first time experience live tweeting an event.  I am very new to Twitter, but I am starting to get used to it and live tweeting the debate helped me even more.  It all started with my Writing for New Media class in that this was an assignment.  We had to live tweet this debate and keep all of the tweets in a neutral manner.

It was really cool seeing what other people were saying about the debate while I was watching it.  The fact that we had to keep all of our comments neutral was interesting and actually productive without any bias.  Just laying the facts out; things candidates said, body language, appearance, ect, helped to understand what both candidates were actually about.

I think this was a great way to promote Democracy.  With things like Twitter, literally everyone’s voice is “heard”.  I could share what I thought was interesting and I could see what other people were thinking at the same time.  I really did feel connected to my fellow viewers of the debate in a way I have never experienced before.

Prior to my Writing for New Media class I never thought I would be on Twitter.  Now I find that not only am I on Twitter, but that I actually kinda like it.  After my first live tweeting session I started to understand the whole hashtag thing as well.  I soon realized how to search for similar interests and what other people say about the same things.

At the start of the debate I was actually excited to see what the whole experience was going to be like.  I found it to be a positive experience.  I can definitely see how it could be hard for some people to not be neutral though.  Personally, I found it to be quite easy not to be biased in my tweets.

Ever since the live tweet of the first debate, I found myself tweeting just for the hell of it.  Now I just need to figure out all of the bells and whistles.

At the same time, I looked at some of the live tweets outside of the “neutral” class zone. Wow.  That opened my eyes to how crazy people can get on Twitter.  I think things would be much better if people adopted the class policy of neutrality.

Even how all of the TV networks and news anchors announce what people are saying on Twitter was exciting to me.  It was cool knowing that my tweet could show up on national television.  I sure am glad I signed up for Writing for New Media!

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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!

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first blog

this is my first ever blog post. i am not exactly sure how this works, but i am trying to learn

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