Monday, December 7, 2009

Brainstorming my Reflective Intro

THESIS: Electronic Writing environments are a good fit for my writing style.

- I stray often from standard writing format. Writing in electronic enviroments affords me some leeway in that regard.
- Electronic writing allows more freedom in editing. Other writing environments are more concrete. I like to write in a place that I know is flexible. I like to able to change things when needed.

Potential Portfolio Themes

Here are some ideas for my theme:

1. "Finding my place in a team"
- An exploration of how I adapt my writing to function in a team setting. Drawing from specific examples in the Website Re-Design and Causes projects.

2. "Me vs. Proper Format"
- An exploration of my struggles against proof reading and proper formatting. The Wikitravel project will be the best lens through which to view this theme.

3. "Keeping Time and Quality"
- A chronicle of my attempts complete assignments on time without sacrificing my writing style. In other words exploring how I manage deadlines. The enthusiast blog is best example of this. Each post I did was a review and has such required some research. Managing that research in respect to the deadlines gave me a healthy challenge.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My 2 Portfolio Revisions

I will revise my enthusiast blog and my wikitravel article.

The bulk of my revisions will be spelling and grammar related. For the blog I will add more hyperlinks and media content. For the wikitravel I will further flesh out the sections I started.

Kimball Response

As the Kimball article shows, there are many things to keep in mind when developing a portfolio. Arguably the most important is audience. Knowing who you are writing to and for what purpose will directly shape the portfolios construction. After the audience is established then pay careful attention to the textual rhetoric. Word choices are extremely important. Generally speaking, the goal is to be professional sounding, use proper language and stay concise.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Animal Rights Cause Response 3

On the whole this was a fun project. If nothing else it was nice to explore ning, get a feel for it. Perhaps one day I will use the service again. Maybe I will find another cause that begs for social awareness.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Animal Rights Cause Response 2

I found it rather easy to compose my blog post. Much of the post is my voice, though I do make use of stats. I didn't go overly crazy with research as I felt it was unnecessary. Why? Because the importance of spaying and neutering is common knowledge stuff. The problem isn't that people don't know it's that they don't care or want to. I see my post as gentle nudge, a play to reason. In that respect I think it works.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Animal Rights Cause Response 1

I am glad I was able to get into a group about Animal Rights. I am a pet owner and all around lover of animals, so this topic is close to my heart. I know many animal rights organizations exist. But the way I look at it, the more the better.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Potential Discussion Topics

1. Finding the right breed for you (family size, location)
2. Understanding pet body language.
3. The importance of walking your dog.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Animal Rights Blog Post Ideas

1. The Importance of Spay and Neutering
2. The Importance of Heart Worm Medication
3. Choosing a dog that best fits with your family (i.e. location, family size)

I am really leaning towards the first one.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Boyd and Bennett Response

Both these articles touch upon misconcepatoins with social networks sites. SNS are a big part of modern culture but as tools they are underutilized. Boyd's article dispels the myth that social networks directly open the door brave new worlds. In truth social network users do not seek out new things but rather gravitate towards their friends. The internet interaction is a straight substitute for hanging out in public.

Bennett's article highlights the rift between generations in terms of citizenship. Generally speaking, parents and grandparents put faith in the government. They get news from mainstream outlets and place a high emphasis on voting. The youth on the other hand doubt the mainstream. They seek news from alternative outlets and turn to friends for approval in political matters. The youth does not blindly follow a political party; instead they seek out specific causes to invest in.

Both artilces were good reads. In particular though the Bennett article gets me thinking. I totally agree with his assertion that the old school and new school must meet in the middle. The future of citizenship lay in the middle. When the respect and experience of the old world smashes together with the technology and ambition of the new world the result will be nothing short of spectacular.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Social Networks: Definition, History, and Scholarship Response

This article was a nice read.

I was surprised to learn that social networks date back to 1997. I associate the birth of social networks with the launch of myspace. For me it wasn't till I entered high school that I first head the term "social network" being tossed around.

I feel bad about what happened to I can see where the founder is going by saying it was ahead of it's time. All to often somebody gets and idea but the magic moment hasn't arrived. It's funny how innovation works that way.

The Launch Dates graphic is a nice visual complement to the info dump of site names and dates featured in the paragraphs.

On a rather random note, I found it cute that dogs and cats have their own social networking services.

Causes That Intrest Me

Causes I Care About

1. Animal Rights
2. Domestic Abuse
3. Child Welfare
4. Bullying
5. Internet Stalking

Of the lot I'm leaning the most towards animal rights.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Website Design Reflection #3

The limitations of Google sites surprised me somewhat. Though it is free, so barring that in mind this is a good program. I'm sure with more time investment I could gather a stronger mastery of the program. For the sake of this project is did the job well enough and I must commend it for user friendliness.

Website Design Reflection #2

I enjoyed the teamwork aspect of this project. I feel like from day one we all jived nicely. We stayed on the same page through-out and everybody brought some snazzy suggestions to the table.

I think our bond was easy considering the sad state of the site. Anybody could tell that the site needed a massive overhaul. So we didn't get stuck on picking out what aspect to focus on. So much needed work that we knew any place was a good place to start.

Website Design Reflection #1

When I first had the first misfortune of laying my eyes on the aesthetic mess that is the Creation Museum website I had a smidge of an epiphany. I got to thinking about just how many sites of this kind exist. How many crude, seemingly long forgotten websites stain the a tapestry of the internet. There must be thousands of pages crafted from crude tools and now ignored entirely. It's somewhat sad really, they are like disowned black sheep.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Site That Works and A Site That NEEDS Work
This site works well. The navigation bar at the top allows for easy access to all the areas of the page. This site uses a blog style format in that each new entry has tags. The tags help to further link everything together. The bulk of this site is comprised of videos, all of which are hosted off site through services such as

I like this site and I think in many respects it works. However I do see areas of potenial improvement. All the links work, but the general lay-out could possibly benefit from an overhaul. There are a lot of ads on the page, which isn't in it's self a bad thing. The issue is that with the current lay-out the information can get lost in the ads. Tweaks to the aesthetic could make this site have more of an impact and by proxy make the information more accessible.

Palmquist Reading Response

This was a nice straight forward read. It covered a lot of familar terminology but provided some insight I had not previous known about the terms. One thing I really took away from it was an understanding of how the 3 organizational structures. More importantly a realization that sites rarely stick strictly to one one structure. More often then not elements from all 3 bleed together. But still it's important to understand the basics of all 3 before beginning to play around with mixing them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Offical Goddard Park page helped me a lot

When putting together the brandy new Wikitravel page for good old Goddard Park, I found a valuable tool in the official website. While the page is extremely basic and looks as thought it hasn't been updated in years it still provided to be a great place for stats. Information such as dedication year and phone numbera where things I could never have gleaned exclusively form my personal experience. Using the site was a good way to go, thought I realize I could have gone one step better. I could have taken it upon myself to visit the park again. Maybe even ask the rangers some questions. In that way the page would have been filled out more. But even without another visit, I am confident that the page came out strong. There is a ALOT of room for addition. But I take pride I knowing I got page started in the right direction.

The Challenge of Writing About Goddard Park

I found this Wikitravel assignment to overall enjoyable. I choose Goddard Park because I thought I would be able to fill the page very easily. The Park has been a big piece of my life. Yes as I assembled the page I found it difficult to filter myself. I had a lot of personal stories about the park, but not such much pratical information. I tested me creatively to take a matter of fact look at the park, as I had never before looked at it through that lens.

Monday, October 12, 2009

3 Potential Entries For My Place

With a state park there are many areas to look at. Here are some ideas I have:
  1. The Beach: It is such a big part of the park that it would be irresponsible of me to not to discuss it.
  2. The "Big Rock" In The Field: This landmark is often the first image I concur up when thinking about the park.
  3. Picnic Tables: I may want to discuss how park visitors go about renting them.

3 Great Tips From Manual Of Style

Here are three good points I took from the readings:
  1. The text formatting codes: They are simple and easy to memorize. Knowing them is a essential when revising or constructing a page.
  2. Restoring Previous Article: It is always comforting to know there is an undo. It allows writers take more creative with the articles.
  3. Something is Better Then Nothing: I think that message disperses fears new writers may have. Every article has to start somewhere, so there is no pressure to produce a complete article from the get go

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wikitravel Edit Ideas

I live in a rather wacky area of Rhode Island. I am a resident of the city of Warwick yet I have an East Greenwich zip code. As a result I have a good deal of exposure to both Warwick and East Greenwich. The articles I'm considering expanding upon are as follows:
  1. Goddard Memorial State Park: A real gem of a park in my opinion, my whole life I have lived within walking distance of the park and I always find it a place of fun and comfort. Of the three I'm leaning towards this one the most. This park does not have it's own page so I might trying getting it one.
  2. East Greenwich (The town in general)
  3. Warwick (The city in general)

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Thoughts on Wikitravel

I really dig the concept of Wikitravel. While not a big traveler myself, I got some good exposure to the concept with a travel writing class I took last semester. For one assignment in that class I had to look at various travel guides and compare them against each other. One revelation I took from that exercise is that timely access to information is a life saver for travelers.

There are instances when travelers need info quick and can't be bothered to fish around brochures which may or may not have the answers. Wikitravel cuts out all the hassle and places valuable travel info in one concise, easy to navigate place. And with the constant updates travelers can be sure that info on the site is relevant, a claim which brochures can't always deliver on.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why I'm A Credible Author

Since my enthusiast blog is opinion driven, I have complete confidence in my credibility. On the hard facts side of things I trust my knowledge of the games I review as they are ones I own and have played many times. I went into this blog with a solid list of games to review, games that I feel need my unique point of view. I know I won't just be rehashing what's already been said, I will be bringing to the table new insight on games that are all but forgotten.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Enthusiast Blog

The Premise: A blog that looks at video games labeled as "bad" yet I personally love them for one reason or another.
Audience: Video gamers, mores specifically open minded games who's tastes stray from the mainstream.
Personality: I look to put a lot of "me" into the blog, trying to emulate how I speak in a written form. I want to be completely honest, present a voice that differs from any other online video gamer reviewers.

As far as title, I plan to stick with the first one that came to my head:

My Blog Title: Horrible Games That I Love

I think it works because of its irony and frankness.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Clubhouse Blog Ideas

Here are some blog ideas my brain has conjured up:

1. TV Ad Reviews: My rantings on and ravings on commercials that trouble me. First up would be those damned Girls Gone Wild ads.
2. Sucky Video Games I Like: A look at some video games that are classified as "bad" but I still love them anyway.
3. Beverage Reviews: A look at various beverages with a particular focus on bargain brand sodas.
4. Top 7 Lists: My take on the "top countdown" fad, using the number 7 because it has special meaning for me.
5. Bat-Blog: A blog covering all things Batman, with a focus on some lesser known products that utilize the character.

UPDATE 9-23: It turns out a Bat-Blog already exists. I may I have subconsciously channeled that one.

Stefanac Response

I feel this article has a wealth of valuable insight on blogging. I really enjoyed the "quick tips for enthusiast bloggers" section; it features some handy practical tips. In looking at those tips I recalled my own personal experiences in blogging, especially in "Stick with it".

The biggest issue I face as a blogger is consistency. At present it has been several days since I updated my group blog. If in the last few months we have barely averaged a post a week, which is pathetic when consider we used to bang out a post a day.

It's surprisingly easy to get disenchanted or discouraged with blogging, but dedication will yield positive results every time. I really need to break my lazy habits, stop "thinking" about post ideas and just go out and write them.

If I truly didn't care about the blog then I would have given up already. Stefanac sums it up nicely when writing:

"if your heart isn't in it and the content is forced, your efforts are likely to fall flat and fail to attract"

In the end bloggers have to come to the table with a feeling they have something worthwhile, a unique angle that needs to be present on the internet. If you find yourself just phoning in posts about topics you semi-care about, then really your just wasting your time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Experiences Blogging

Back in December of 2007 I started a blog with a buddy of mine. Initially the concept was to review "bad video games". Fairly early we lost that narrow premise and expanded to pretty much a blog about anything. Though there are still some recurring topics: movies, comic books, videos. So really it has just become a pop culture blog. Another friend of ours joined as a writer and the three of post about whatever amuses us.

That blog which is still running (though seriously lacking in updates as of late), was my first real exposure to blogging. Prior to that I never read many blogs. Occasionally I'd stumble upon a post while looking for some news topic. But other then that I no presence in the blog community.

Since starting a blog however I have found myself turning to blogs more often. In fact I get much of my entertainment news from blog posts. Despite my increased flowing of blogs I would still clarify myself as a lurker. I virtually never comment on posts, which is something I should consider doing more as I understand the importance it has for the writers. I know form me at least, blogging is only worthwhile when I can be sure an audience exists. No matter the size, as long as somebody is reading then I am willing to take the time to blog.

weblogs: a history and perspective response

This piece does a nice job of exploring the growth of blogging, the statements presented are strengthened by the writer's experience in the world of blogging. I learned much from this article, especially in regards to the formative years of blogging. To me the concept of blogging seems fairly new, so I was semi-surprised to learn it's roots stretch back to 1998.

"While weblogs had always included a mix of links, commentary, and personal notes, in the post-Blogger explosion increasing numbers of weblogs eschewed this focus on the web-at-large in favor of a sort of short-form journal. These blogs, often updated several times a day, were instead a record of the blogger's thoughts: something noticed on the way to work, notes about the weekend, a quick reflection on some subject or another. Links took the reader to the site of another blogger with whom the first was having a public conversation or had met the previous evening, or to the site of a band he had seen the night before."

I am fascinated by the shift mentioned in this paragraph. It seems that at this point in time blogs mutated into real time forms of communication. This practice of repeated posting on the same day has lead to the ultimate real time blog service: Twitter. The existence of Twitter is a profound step in the history of blogging, as it marks a glass ceiling for the format. While blogging will continue to change in ways not yet foreseeable, the extent of it's speed has been reached.

With the ability for anybody to write what they are doing at any time, focus must shift back to quality. With so many millions blogging in some way or another, their must be standards to which these writings are held in order for a readership to form. Those standards are ever changing and vary from group to group. But the bottom line becomes: this is an amazing time in history to be a writer because you can easily find an audience for you specific message.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What is Writing?

Writing is really a craft, it is the process of taking existing words and twisting them to convey thoughts and ideas.

The most profound aspect of writing is that it works on a base level. Whether writing on paper or electronically, the same basic rules apply and it is a mastery of those rules that allows a writer to ply their craft most efficiency.

Writing in an electronically environment has exponentially increased the speed at which humanity communications. The changes are so immense that it has brought all other writing forms to the edge of obsolete. While it has yet to and will likely never completely erase more traditional writing environments, electronic writing has altered the way the world communications to such a degree that there is no turning back.