Best Blog

Before writing my first blog post, the assignment seemed really daunting. Let’s just say creative writing isn’t exactly my strongest suite (which is probably why I go to Rose-Hulman). But I found myself enjoying writing the blog posts each week, and getting really into some of them.

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I think that the two strongest blog posts that I wrote were The Ghost Pt. 2 and Apparently.

The Ghost Pt. 2

I directly quoted an article we read for class and tied in another source that agreed with that article (although I disagreed with both myself). By picking the topic of ghosting, I was hoping to generate opinions from readers and their personal thought on ghosting, and I did get some comments regarding those. I chose this topic because the negativity that surounds ghosting gets bothers me a little bit, and I was hoping to portray that.

I wasn’t the best at adding media to my posts towards the beginning, but tried to incorporate it more in later weeks, especially after Toby was POW and his use of media was highlighted. The YouTube video in this instance related to the topic and was fun, which added to the blog post.

I think this blog did a good job of showing my casual tone and use of short thoughts. I feel like breaking down the content I am writing about helps to keep the reader’s attention.

Apparently

Although we hadn’t discussed at the time of this blog post, it was about the concept of media “going viral”, which was a concept that we discussed in the course. The sources I used in the article disagreed with each other, in hopes to spark a conversation about how media actually goes viral. I think this strategy worked, as the comments included the reader’s opinion of the matter.

I tried to get the reader involved and interested in commenting by asking questions towards the end of this blog. In class, adding questions to our blog was emphasized when first learning about blogging, as the readers feel like they have reason to respond to your blog if questions are present.

In my blogs, I tried to express my opinions and expose parts of my personal life so that my readers would get to know me better, which I felt like I did by letting readers know of my favorite viral videos. I think knowing what type of videos a certain person finds funny can tell you a lot about them.

 

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Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

The most difficult part of writing this last, weekly blog post was deciding what to write about. I’ve already discussed the tragedy of “deleting” snapchat for a day, given my readers a new dating app to explore, and posted a picture of a naked mole-rat. Now I’m not sure exactly what these have in common (if you figure it out, let me know), but apparently they all tie back to concepts related to this course.

So for this blog, I have decided go back to the beginning, and delve deeper into my first exposure to the class, which focused on digital natives, digital immigrants and investigating the interaction between these two groups in the classroom.

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Before entering this course, I had never heard of those terms before. I just classified those who didn’t know technology as old(er than me).

According to Marc Prensky, digital natives are those who are ““native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.” Digital immigrants are “Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology.” Prensky also discussed how the integration of technology in education is becoming valuable, as “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. ”

However, some disagree with this concept, and believe that technology is not the drive behind the evolution of education. In an article, The digital native is a myth, they argue that teachers have been changing and adapting how students have learned for ages, so this new technology filled change is nothing new. They suggest that the increase of technology in the classroom is “simply because a new cohort is believed to be more familiar with it.” Therefore, teachers and professors alike may include technology in their lesson because they believe it will reach their students more effectively, or maybe simply because it is more convenient.

Personally, I would tend to agree more with the latter. While technology does play a large part in the lives of modern students, there are still some things that I prefer to do the “old school way,” such as reading in print.

In a technology filled world, and specifically technology filled school, what way do you learn best? Are you #TeamPenAndPaper or do you prefer to escape from reality and learn digitally?

 

 

10 Things Only Writing in a Digital Age Students Will Understand

  1. You created a meme that is worth 10% of your grade.Image result for professor meme
  2. Your professor forced you to create a Twitter account (even though you hate Twitter).Image result for meme about twitter
  3. You had a lecture day regarding Sexting.Take that! The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is encouraging teens to stop obliging when they're asked to send a nude
  4. You have now considered what happens to your social media when you die, and may have even changed your Facebook memorial settings.Image result for awkward moment between birth and death
  5. Your professor encouraged you to tweet during a lecture.Image result for live tweet meme
  6. You had a mindfulness session in class.Image result for mindfulness meme
  7. You learned about fake news.Image result for fake news meme
  8. You figured out how to create GIFs directly from YouTube videos.Image result for meme about gif
  9. You have payed more attention to technology and how it affects your daily life.Image result for technology meme
  10. You understand why this blog post is in list-type format.

After writing about media going viral in my blog post a few weeks ago, I decided I would make an attempt to try out creating a blog post using some of the tips given by professionals on how to make a story go viral.

Although there are many elements that go into viral media, the one that stuck with me the most was a tip provided by Maria Konnikova in her article, The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You.

“Lists also get shared because of another feature that Berger often finds successful: the promise of practical value. “We see top-ten lists on Buzzfeed and the like all the time,” he notes. “It allows people to feel like there’s a nice packet of useful information that they can share with others.” We want to feel smart and for others to perceive us as smart and helpful, so we craft our online image accordingly.”

This speaks to me, as I am a list lover (which can be better understand by this Buzzfeed list about List Lovers).  Number 20 on the list stuck out to me the most on why I like lists.

20. And over time, you’ve discovered that writing your goals down on paper gives structure and form to your ideas, dreams, and intentions.

I love writing lists, reading lists, and sharing lists. I bet I don’t go a day without crossing something off a list or reading a list article on Buzzfeed. Many people can also relate to this feeling of order and control, which is why Konnikova suggested list-type articles as highly spreadable media.

So next time you are bored and want to make something go viral, try making a list and sharing it with your followers, and hope that it takes off!

 

 

 

 

 

The Ghost, Pt. 2

In my blog last week, I talked about my experience deleting (actually really just ignoring) the ghost lingering on my phone screen, taunting me every second of the day.

The theme of ghosts continues, but this time it’s a little more spooky as we dive into the topic of ghosting.

We have all heard the phrase ghosting tossed around in conversations regarding modern dating, but what exactly is “ghosting”?

To find the most accurate definition, I went to the most reliable modern source I could think of, which is Urban Dictionary.  I found a detailed explanation, but the first sentence sums ghosting up well and is as follows: “The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date.”

The definition seems pretty self-explanatory. Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Boy and girl date. Boy realizes he doesn’t like girl. Boy ghosts girl. Girl is mad…but life goes on!

So why is there such a negative connotation about ghosting? Sure it sucks to be ignored, but haven’t young daters been doing this to each other for ages? You can’t tell me that girls have always written back to love letters or returned phone calls from their suitors.

The impact of the digital age is what I attribute the increase in the “ghosting” buzzword to.  With the rise of dating apps, social media, and digital communication, there are so many more ways to ignore people and so many more ways be ignored. (Have you ever “ignored” an Instagram post or looked at your friends Snapchat to view a story so it looks like you “ignored” it on your phone? The answer is yes, you have. And if you haven’t, you probably aren’t petty…or a girl.)

Dating apps, such as Bumble, have even tried to combat this sense of being ignored, as discussed by the founder, Whitney Wolfe, herself. Ms. Wolfe prompted the following question to her co-workers: “If the problem is ghosting, then how do we reward people who don’t ghost?”

Personally, I believe the idea of eliminating ghosting is nearly impossible. As somebody who has been ghosted, and yes, I have also ghosted somebody, I think it is more about your personality and communication style than the way a dating app is designed.

However, that doesn’t stop dating apps from trying to follow in Ms. Wolfe’s shoes. First, the First Real Dating App, has a “No Flakes” policy, so that “If you ghost the person you’ve set up a date with, then you’re straight up banned from the app! No excuses, no backsies.”

If that doesn’t stop the ghosts out there from being spooky, I don’t know what will!

So the next time you encounter a ghost, don’t take it personally, they probably just don’t want to hurt your feelings…or they’re just a jerk and you’re better off without them anyway! Who needs to be caught up with fake ghosts when Halloween is around the corner, right?

 

The Ghost

After Dr. Summer’s mentioned the app that plants trees when you’re away from your phone, I decided to investigate.  Unfortunately, when I looked up the app it appeared to cost money (and my $1.99 would be happier spent at Taco Bell), I settled for an app called Moment. There are daily challenges every day, to which I mostly ignored, until I got the following notification.

wda

It felt like fate, because this just happened to also be an option for our assignment for our blog post this week.  Perfect! Doesn’t seem like that bad of a challenge, right? I was almost excited to test myself and prove I could make it a WHOLE DAY without using my most used app, which happens to be Snapchat.

So, I fudged the instructions a little. Instead of deleting the app (because I don’t know my password and resetting it is a pain) I just told myself I wouldn’t open it all day. And I stuck to that.

Okay, I had to open it once to make sure I kept up my 489 day streak…sorry but this assignment isn’t worth ruining that!

So because I didn’t delete the app, I still received notifications. So I could look, but not touch.

And it was horrible.

I was stuck on a bus for over six hours, and I couldn’t communicate via ugly pictures of myself or get my daily Cosmopolitan, DailyMail, Buzzfeed, and People articles. How else am I supposed to know which of the Kardashians is pregnant today?

Side note: Have I ever gone a day without seeing something about the Kardashians? The answer is no, they are everywhere and taking over the world.

But why was it so horrible?

I don’t know, maybe because in the last 7 days, I’ve spent 24% of my phone screen time on Snapchat and now that 24% has been taken away from me. I have also spent over 2.5 hours on Snapchat in the past 7 days. The statistics also revealed that I use my phone 3 hours on average each day. Yikes!

No having access to Snapchat also made me feel anxious, similar the feelings Laura Turner described in her article about Twitter fueling anxiety: “Anxiety functions by constantly reminding you to pay attention to it. And so does Twitter.” I felt the same way about receiving Snapchat notifications, always tempting me to open the app and take a quick peak.

And that is when I had a revelation. I am always claiming I “don’t’ have time” to call my grandparents, vacuum my room, or basically do anything productive, but in reality I definitely have the time! I’m just spending it taking flower crowned pictures of myself instead of doing things that matter to reality.

I am going to try to be mindful of my technology use, because I really do want my habits to change and I want to spend more time being happy in the present and not behind my phone screen, but it’s definitely easier said than done.  Even just sitting through the class activity was difficult for me, I couldn’t sit still and stay focused, but I think it would be worth it to make an effort to be more mindful.

So I am going to challenge myself, and challenge you. The next time you are about to open your favorite app, ask yourself “Is it serving me or hurting me?”

#TeamPenAndPaper

Twitter has always been one of my weaknesses. Not only do I struggle to create tweets that are retweetable, because let’s face it, everybody wants to acknowledged for their humor, but Twitter sucks me in for hours and I get absolutely nothing done. Which is why I deleted my Twitter accounts a few years ago, only to recreate one for a class years down the road (who would’ve thought?).

However, the use of Twitter for classes isn’t solely just to look at funny memes all class long.  One of the ways we used Twitter in class was to live-tweet. But why live-tweet? What are the benefits? Why implement Twitter in the classroom?

In The Art of Live-Tweeting, Christopher P. Long, a Philosophy Professor, states “I live-tweet for the same reason I take notes, it heightens my attention, forces me to become an active listener, and creates a record of ideas and resources for future reference.” So in essence, live-tweeting can be thought of as interactive note taking.

So in class, we put this “interactive note-taking” to the test, as Dr. Summers ironically gave a lecture on live-tweeting.

For me, it was absolute chaos in my brain.  Between looking at other tweets, trying to come up with a tweet so I could participate that wasn’t too embarrassing, and listening to the actual lecture, I couldn’t keep anything straight.

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Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am not the only student who has felt overwhelmed by this situation.  In an article about Live-Tweeting Assignment, it states that “students can get overwhelmed by the barrage of tweets” which is exactly how I felt.  However, the article goes on to agree with Long, in that there are a lot of benefits to live-tweeting, such as it encourages students to be active in the lecture, rather than passive, and can give the professor immediate feedback on the students’ understanding of a topic.

This highly debatable topic about live-tweeting reminds me of flipped classrooms, and the debate revolving around that teaching style.  I have always been passionately opposed to flipped classrooms, as well as live-tweeting.

However, what I have found with my recent re-exposure to Twitter is that live-tweeting, although distracting, can be pretty useful if used correctly. Are you #TeamLiveTweet or #TeamPaperAndPen?

 

 

 

Apparently…

Noah Ritter.  An adorable kid who, apparently, had never been on live television before. He appeared on a local news channel to describe a ride that apparently makes you spin around and apparently you get dizzy from that. After the video clip went viral, the popularity of the soon to be kindergartener skyrocketed him to popularity.  Three years later and, apparently, Noah has made multiple appearances on Ellen and is a star of The Toy Box on ABC.  He even has his own information box when searching him on Google (#lifegoals).

Many times, going viral is not the intention for those who become “internet famous”, such as Noah Ritter.  After all, how would a five-year old devise a plan of going viral?

Viral hits often begin as a spur of the moment video or funny prank, like many other things on the internet. In a Wikipedia article about Wikipedia (yes, apparently that exists), there was an instance described where Brett Straub was named a founder of the The Independent.  The issue at hand was that Brett Straub was a 25 year-old Californian who was born after The Independent was founded and had also never heard of The Independent before.

So how did that happen?

Apparently, it was the doing of one of Straub’s friends, who “added his name to a string of Wikipedia pages as a prank.”  While what may start out as harmless internet pranks can give rise to stardom, other times people use specific strategies in plotting for their video to go viral.

In a blog by Huong Lee, it is claimed that viral videos are not “happy accidents”, but are instead carefully planned out.  Some of the basic rules of viral video success include making the video mobile friendly, to move fast and engage, and have a great distribution strategy.  Apparently, twenty percent of viewers decide to opt out of a video within the first ten seconds, so making a quick first impression counts!  So, if you’ve ever aspired to make a video go viral, following the tips by Lee may be your key to success.

Personally, I think a large part of the success of a viral video is the element of surprise.

Nobody could have planned out what Noah Ritter was going to say, the grape lady falling, Sweet Brown getting bronchitis, or Antoine Dodson telling us to hide our families (to list just a few of my personal favorites).

Think about your personal favorite viral videos.  Do they seem well thought out or spur of the moment? Are they all similar or do they spread across a wide range of topics? What makes a viral video stand out to you?

For me, my favorite viral videos are all easily quotable and I am able to imitate them.  And apparently, some of them just happen to feature an adorable five-year who is already more accomplished than me in life.

 

Esc from Reality

 

Addiction 💊 #graphicdesign #art #digitalmedia #digitalart

A post shared by Ali Ossayran (@aliossayran) on

Take a moment to think about your life on social media.

What motivates you to post on social media? To show everybody you’re having wayyy more fun than they are? That you have lots of friends? To brag about your accomplishments? That you and your significant other are #couplegoals? To show that one cute boy (and the world) your best selfie?

Whatever your motivation is, we all know that a picture (or a tweet) is worth a thousand words.  And often times, those words can come together to form a fake world, an escape from reality, a “happy” place.

Posting on social media can give you a false sense of popularity and give you confidence. Every little filled heart and comment gives you a certain kind of joy that is undeniable. The more likes you get, the more driven you are to post.  Although the connection may not be immediately apparent, fake news may make the same feelings emerge.  In an article about fake news, Professor Patrick Leman states “In the short term, even fake news can help with self-esteem.  But it’s a quick fix – the more you do it, the more you need it and the more you move away from reality.”

In the same article, Leman also goes on to say that “People are always looking for information that confirms their beliefs.”  This concept explained in that statement is similar to the phrase “confirmation bias.” Confirmation bias is “a certain type of cognitive bias that motivates us to seek out information we already believe and ignore or minimize facts that threaten what we believe.”

Shahram Heshmat explores confirmation bias in-depth on his post in Psychology Today.  He emphasizes that we often reject information we don’t want to acknowledge and focus on the information we want to hear, agreeing with Leman’s observations.  This mindset of self-deception can make you delusional, and is compared to a drug in Heshmat’s writing, as substances can help you escape reality.

Which brings us back to social media.  It does indeed help us escape the reality of whatever is going on in our life. Just a minute ago I checked my phone to see if anybody had some fun news to help me escape the reality of a school night (update: nothing exciting).  We check to see who is having more fun than us, who is spending Saturday with the boys, and which new guy got roped into being your ex-bffs #mcm of the week.

Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we care so much? Why can’t we just be content with what is going on in our own lives?

To be honest, I don’t know how I would answer those questions, but they definitely make me stop and think.

So, the next time you’re about to post that super flame girls night out picture, ask yourself, what is your motivation?

 

Rdg btwn d lns.

Hands down my least favorite part about texting is the ability to misinterpret messages. Are they angry or are they just in a hurry? Is my mom trying to make me feel horrible when she K bombs me? What is the difference between “Okay!” and “Okay.”? Did my best friend’s boyfriend realize that sending a purple heart instead of a red one was hurtful because “red means love and purple doesn’t”?

Probably not.

Even those of us who are digital natives still have a difficult time navigating through the world of texting.  I’ll admit to purposely changing my texting style so the other person knows my emotions, rather than just being upfront when communicating them.  This can be extremely confusing and can cause misinterpretations. As pointed out by Lauren Collister in her article about the period, something as simple as using a period can “appear angry or standoffish” in a text, but it was found that “the use of a period didn’t influence how the messages were perceived” when in handwritten notes.

This current way of communicating and reading in between the lines goes beyond just the texting world. It extends to email, social media, and the entirety of the internet.  You could compare using a period at the end of a sentence to not “liking” your bffs most recent Instagram post. To them it may seem standoffish but maybe you were just too busy to look at your Instagram feed! Who knows.

Even the notion of “liking” a post can be misinterpreted.  As summed up well in a post on the Watercooler blog, “A ‘like‘ does not translate to, “I like this.” Sometimes a ‘like’ is just an acknowledgement that you saw something.” The post continues to discuss the difficulty Facebook has now faced us with: multiple reaction options. Users will have to explore and define their own set of rules for what situation each reaction is appropriate.

And as discussed in class, there are no “set rules” of texting or social media.  That is what we all are trying to figure out for ourselves, and have been ever since the beginning of our texting journey.  Sure, there is suggested etiquette, such as the list of Texting Dos and Don’ts provided by Dana Holmes, but are you really going to “always double-check your text before hitting the send button” or “sign your text”? That’s highly unlikely.

As texting and technology continue to evolve and things such as predictive texting arise, we will continually have to redefine what our messages imply and what is socially acceptable.  And while focusing on redefining those standards, be conscious of what your texting style implies, just as you are conscious of your behavior and different situations. And don’t be offended by the K text from your mom, she still loves you.

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