Digital Literacy & Me

Final Reflective Blog Post


Photo by Gallery Hip

As the world becomes more and more digital, digital literacy becomes more and more important. It has come to the point where certain skills cannot be ignored or underutilized anymore. In my opinion, these skills that everyone should know how to do are Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, E-Mail, Google, and Facebook. These skills are not especially hard to learn or that unique, but I believe that they are important and NECESSARY for people to communicate in their personal life as well as succeed in business. One of my personal pet peeves is when people say that they are “not technologically smart” and use it as an excuse not to do simple digital tasks. Clearly, the world is moving in a direction that makes the digital world vitally important to success and society.

But this class focused more on the slightly more technical side of digital literacy. In order to be truly successful in today’s field of digital communications just a basic knowledge of Word isn’t going to cut it anymore. In my opinion, there are three things that will truly prove your digital literacy: your personal website, formatting, and your personal brand.

Look at my personal website. This is a good example of a personal website (in my opinion), as well as a shameless plug for my website. So go check it out if you want.

A personal website isn’t even going to make you stand out that much anymore, but it has become a vital necessity to market yourself as an unique individual and show that you are digitally savvy. How this website is set up will truly show digitally literate you are. Link to your past work. Show your digital resume in a visually appealing and unique way, but you should also have a link to a traditional PDF printable copy. Based on this, my digital resume could use some work as it really isn’t anything spectacular or memorable. Then in my personal opinion as I tried to do on my own website, I think you need to make your personal business website a reflection of you. You should show things that show who you really are that would not show up on a traditional resume like facts about you and your interests.

The formatting of your digital media is VITAL. The design of the website makes or breaks the website. It shows the level of professionalism that you plan to show off. I feel like the formatting of this blog and my personal website is something that is very professional, easily read, and appealing to the eye. One complaint is that this blog doesn’t utilize colors that much as it is mostly neutral colors with some splashes of blue for links.

The logo I made for my personal website

You need to brand yourself. You need to market yourself consistently (with some deviation) across your different social medias. I feel like I branded myself as laid-back, confident, easy going, and TV-loving. Clearly, my website has 14 pictures of me that can come across as narcissistic which could be fixed by adding more pictures of my work to replace them, but any future employers who look at it won’t forget my face. During my live tweet, I feel like I allowed the readers to make their own opinions on the governor’s debate, so I didn’t brand myself well then. If I could go back, I would add more of my personality into my tweets. Then I originally made my logo (pictured to the right) for my personal website, but I have since added it to this blog and my twitter. I would like to add it to my video as to add more consistency of my brand across my different mediums.


Of all the skills I learned in this class, there are a handful that I would love to improve upon. Improving these skills would help make me more marketable in the future. I would like to improve upon

  • My Editing
    • I feel like there is a lot of improvement to be made in my editing. Specifically how to fix the mistakes I make while filming. In my video, the interview with Dr. Radel has sound issues that I made while filming that I couldn’t figure out how to fix in editing. This is something I should learn how to improve upon as mistakes are inevitable.
    • I feel like this skill will be specifically useful as I would love to work in television after I graduate. This skill will help give me knowledge on every part of the television production process.
  • Photography
    • As clear in my Flickr, my photographs weren’t the best. I feel like improving my photography skills will help my work in the future as it will allow me to not rely on others to provide photographs for any work.
    • Also just my Photoshop skills, as shown in my blog post on corruption in prison.
  • My Voice in Writing
    • As shown in this blog, I feel like my voice and personality in writing can be a little inconsistent. I would love to firm my voice while making it informative and opinionated.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice
    • I feel like the most important thing for me to do is to practice. Without practice, I will not improve in anything. So I would love to practice videoing, storytelling in podcasts, branding myself, and many more areas.
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Oreos and Social Media

Reading Response #7 – David Dubois – “Content Strategy is King in Social Media” & Jan Kietzmann, et al. – “Social Media? Get Serious! Understanding the Social Building Blocks of Social Media


Oreo Superbowl Blackout Tweet (click for original source)

Your social media should not just exist. It needs to be a presence. Hook the reader. Make them interested. If the content is not interesting, you will have no viewers. In a way, your blog is a business and it is important to have customer loyalty. Make the readers come back and back again. The layout and appearance of the site only do so much. If the content is bland or unoriginal, your viewers will stop coming. Companies can use social media to promote their product while also entertaining the viewers like Denny’s with their Twitter which helped them increase their popularity.

To keep your blog appealing, you should follow this 3 rules:

  • Content: More than the Room
    • Have your goals clearly defined. Know what you are doing.
  • Creative Content
    • Make your content original
    • Social media allows you to post new ideas as soon as they are made so they always stay relevant. Your ideas can go up instantaneously. Make sure that they are creative, while also getting your point across like the Oreo Superbowl Blackout Tweet.
  • Springboards for Content
    • Make sure your content is easy to share. If the content is not shared, people will not see your work. Bloggers and celebrities are a great way to get a message across.

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Different Types of Social Media (click for original source)

Social media is becoming a bigger and bigger deal as more people become active on it. Even the Pope has a huge social media presence. Social media has given people a platform in order to voice their opinion specifically against corporations and products. It also allows celebrities to connect with their fans like Katy Perry, who has the most Twitter followers. People can also live tweet events or TV shows we can give instant feedback on how successful the event was.

The Seven Functional Blocks of Social Media – factors that interrelate in order to provide a social media experience:

  1. Identity
    1. Your identity on social media can be whatever you make of it. You can decide how much personal information that you realize, of your age, weight, ethnicity, gender, etc.. The amount of identity necessary to use social media can vary greatly. Facebook requires a rather large amount of identity, while Tumblr requires very little to no identity.
  2. Conversations
    1. Conversations on social media are vital. Users need to communicate with each other.
  3. Sharing
    1. Sharing is all about the extent to which you can share, distribute, and receive content from others on social media. Sharing varies greatly from site to site.
  4. Presence
    1. Presence is all about knowing what others are doing. Whether or not they are online or available.
  5. Relationships
    1. Relationships is all about how users can be connected to each other. How can they interact? What can do they do for each other?
  6. Reputation
    1. Reputation is how people identity themselves based on their social media. People judge themselves based on how many Twitter followers they have, how many Instagram likes they have, or how many reblogs on Tumblr. This is also how people judge other people. LinkedIn is a professional social media site where people make hiring decisions based on the person’s social media presence.
  7. Groups
    1. Groups is all about the extent to which people can create communities on social media sites.

It’s also important to follow the 4 C’s for developing strategies for monitoring, understanding, and developing new social media.

  1. Cognize
    1. Recognize and understand the social media landscape
  2. Congruity
    1. Follow guidelines of other social media sites with similar goals. It makes it so the new social media is easily understood by the users and it follows a successful plan so it increases the chance of success.
  3. Curate
    1. Curate the social media interactions and content. When starting a social media site, edit what goes on it in order to make it the most appealing.
  4. Chase
    1. Chase information on your social media site in order to understand how users use it although it is time consuming and expensive.

Scripts, Storyboards, and Videos — Oh My!

Reading Response #5 – Lynda Felder – Writing for the Web – Chapter 4 & Todd Chappell – Video Production Primer


Images can captivate an audience, especially when they move. Adding moving graphics to a website can greatly increase the appeal to the audience, but they can also distract. Make sure you choose moving graphics wisely. There are many types of moving graphics but only some work in certain situations. Types include:

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Example of an animation graphic. It shows a way on how to tie a tie. Click image for original source.

  • Video: This is best used for real-life, moving images. Also for showing interviews.
  • Animation: Works well for introductions, short ads, and instructions
  • Motion graphics: Makes logos or words move across the screen to catch the reader’s eye.
  • Software simulation: Helps the reader experience a software program. Perfect for promoting software and providing instructions on how to use the software.
  • Games: Provide entertainment, and sometimes education
  • Photo slide shows: Perfect for showing people
  • Digital storytelling: Works for personal stories
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Example of a storyboard. Click picture for original source

When designing, it is important to brainstorm. Some people have found that sticky notes, 3 x 5 cards, lists, outlines, napkins, or a combination of the things above are very useful tools in brainstorming and organizing your thoughts.

A storyboard is a necessity for designing, and it’s also a form of brainstorming. It shows “all the media for each scene, such as sound effects, voice-over, music and text, and describes how they all work together.” They also:

  • Record the plan
  • Persuade stakeholders
  • Inform team members
  • Establish a blueprint
  • Create a working agreement

When making a video or animation, a script is important for multiple reasons.

  • It helps the speaker remember what to say and when to say it.
  • It helps prevent noises of confusion like “ah,” “um,” and “er.”
  • It stops some spontaneous, impromptu nonsense that would be redundant and need to be eliminated.
  • It helps set up the scene by briefly describing settings.
  • It helps describe actions.
  • It provides some stage direction.

When making your own video and animation, avoid these common mistakes:

  • Talking heads
  • Panning and zooming too quickly
  • Little or no sound
  • Timing is too slow or too fast
  • Not providing a war to print out detailed information
  • No transitions
  • Too many scenes
  • Impersonal instructions

There are three steps in the video making process.

  1. Pre-production
    1. Debatably the most important step
    2. Make a story with a beginning, middle, and end
      1. VERY IMPORTANT
    3. Make a script. Two types of scripts-
      1. Screenplay
      2. Interview
    4. Make sure you have appropriate media for the project that you have the rights to
      1. Images
      2. Music
      3. Stock Footage
      4. Videos
    5. Make sure you have appropriate storage for your media. Also that is organized in a way that makes it easily accessible and understandable.
    6. Make sure you know that film making is a time consuming process.
  2. Production
    1. Have appropriate gear
      1. Camera
      2. Tripod
      3. Microphones
    2. Understand Basic Shots
      1. Subject/Action Shot
      2. Establishing shot
      3. B-roll
    3. Look at tutorials online beforehand
      1. Like this one
      2. This one is cool too
      3. Never under estimate lighting
    4. Keep this things in mind
      1. Don’t zoom in for close ups, move the camera manually in.
      2. Anticipate action
      3. Keep computer screens out of the shot
      4. Use a tripod
      5. Make sure you know your camera before taking it into the field
      6. Be aware of background noises
      7. Keep the wind in mind
      8. Test your microphone beforehand
  3. Post-production
    1. Have a good editing software. The most common ones are
      1. Final Cut Pro
      2. Adobe Premiere
      3. iMovie
      4. Windows Movie Maker
    2. Edit the video
      1. Cut it down to the most important clips. Then string them together with transitions
      2. Note: the fancy transitions or other glitz can distract from the message and look tacky
      3. Images can also tell a story effectively
      4. B-roll can come in handy here
    3. Save and export your work

“Don’t Tell Me. Show Me.” & Violent Pandas

Reading Response #4 – J. Carl Ganter & Eileen E. Ganter – “Sound in the Story


When interviewing or making audio, there are several ideas and tactics that are important to know beforehand. You must plan ahead and know how to properly format your audio in order to interest your reader.


The attention span of the average person has greatly decreased over the past couple of years. This is partially in fact due the increased use in technology. You could argue that this is shown in the popularity of the app, Vine. Vine is a social media platform that allows users to posts videos that can only be up to 7 seconds. You could argue that people’s attention span can no longer handle movies so they switched to TV shows and then to Youtube videos. Now our attention can only be held for 7 seconds, not even a full 30 minutes for a TV show. Therefore, keep your audio short enough to keep it interesting, but long enough to cover the basics.

“Audio is an intimate medium.” So keep it personal. Play on emotions and make people care. “Be interested, be organized, be authentic.” Be yourself. Make people like you for you. Care about what you are doing. Know what you are doing. Plan ahead, but not too much in order to allow for some fluidity and flexibility.

Logistical components of an audio project:

  • The interview
  • Ambience
  • Natural sounds
  • The voice-over
  • Supplemental music

There are three stages to an interview:

  1. Development
    1. Think about what you are going to do and plan ahead. Make questions, make plans to interview a certain person, set up the recording equipment, research background information to make the audio more topical, do whatever you have to do to set up for the audio.
  2. Pursuit
    1. Pursue the audio and record it
  3. Mop-up
    1. After you finish the audio, go back through it and edit it. Make sure you have everything you need. Call or schedule another interview to gain more information if necessary.

There are multiple bad habits to avoid in interviews, especially podcasts. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Silence = reflection
    • Try not to immediately fill the void of silence because silence means that they other person is contemplating and thinking which can be helpful
  • Multi-barreled questions
  • Leading questions
  • Editorializing
    • Keep it objective
  • Putting an assumption on a question
    • Allow the interviewee to make their own ideas and assumptions
  • Trigger word questions
  • Biased words
  • Questions that go on too long
  • Either-or questions

Friendly advice: Repeat names, not pronouns. It allows for the listeners to constantly be reminded of who they are listening to and keep them interested.

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Professional recording equipment in a studio. Click picture for original source

Make sure you have the appropriate recording tools:

 

Bildungsroman and Rhetorikós

Homework Assignment 2: Lynda Felder – Writing for the Web – Chapters 9 and 10 & Brian Carroll – Writing For Digital Media – Chapter 8


There are many types of stories and ways to make them interesting for the readers. You have character driven stories, love stories, bildungsroman, adventures, and many more. Each story also emphasizes different elements. Aristotle believed that plot, or mythos, was the important element in a story. Quentin Tarantino focuses more on characters in his stories. Other elements that can be used include:

  • Conflict
  • Place
  • Premise
  • Backstory
  • Theme
  • Tone
salmon-flies-by-merryjack

I’m sorry. I had to make this pun although it’s terrible. Click picture for original source

Felder also says that it’s best to “start with a hook.”  You have to gain your reader’s attention immediately to encourage them to continue reading. But what hook should you use? Look to the right for examples. (Excuse that terrible pun. I just really love puns. They are the highest form of comedy in my opinion). Actual hooks and examples include (but are not limited to):

Parks_and_recreation_title

Click for Original Source

Cliffhangers can also be used in blogs to encourage readers to continue following the blog and reading future posts. When posts leave on an interesting note or unexplained questions, readers are more likely to continue reading your blog. Examples of cliffhangers in mass media (warning: slight spoiler alerts):

In order to be successful, a blog must be organized well. Rhetorical modes offer great patterns for organizing thoughts and making them understandable for readers. The four traditional modes are:

  • Narration
    • “Narration tells a story by walking the reader through a series of events. The thesis for narration is implied and often expressed as a mood, attitude, or impression.” – Lynda Felder
  • Description
    • “Description shows a picture of someone or something. Description works best when you provide vivid significant details and draw readers in with impressions from all your senses.” – Lynda Felder
  • Explanation
    • “Explanatory composition informs readers with explanations. definitions, examples, comparisons, and more.” – Lynda Felder
    • This is a broad mode that can be separated into several subsections:
      • Process or instruction
      • Classification and division
      • Compare and contrast
      • Cause and effect
      • Problem and solution
  • Argument
    • “Using the argument mode, you take the position that is somewhat controversial and then provide valid reasons to support that position in hopes of persuading your readers to join your side of the debate.” – Lynda Felder

Rhetoric is described as the art of persuasion by Aristotle. In Ancient Greece, rhetorikós applied to public speaking. Today, rhetoric is used in both spoken and written word. Aristotle said that there were three ways to persuade your audience; By appealing to: ethos, pathos, and logos.

MAKE YOUR WEB CONTENT CREDIBLE. Check your facts. Avoid errors. Proofread your site. Create a way that will allow readers to contact you to point out errors. Do not be like www.dhmo.org. There are also a lot of problems you can try to avoid. Common structural problems that need to be avoided/fixed include (but are not limited to):

  • Flashbacks or flash forwards in time
  • Effusive description
  • Missing information
  • Too much information
  • Arbitrary classification or division
  • Comparing apples and oranges
  • Missing causes or effects
  • Preaching to the choir
  • Faulty logic

Carroll talks about how technology is constantly changing how media is spread. He focuses mainly on how newspapers and print is dying. Newspapers and magazines are starting to make their target the elderly or older generation because they are the only ones still buying print materials instead of e-books.

“Keep It Simple, Stupid”

Reading Response 1: Writing & Editing for Digital Media – Brian Carroll – Chapters 3 & 4 

rs_1024x759-140112191413-1024.amy-poehler-winner-golden-globes-2014

While it is exciting that Amy Poehler finally won a Golden Globe, this picture makes no sense in this context. KEEP MEDIA RELEVANT. [click picture for original source]

I felt like the beginning part of this chapter was relatively self-explanatory. You need to know your audience and direct your content directly towards them. The content you put in needs to be relatively concise as to not bore your audience and give them the most information in the shortest time possible. Also for headings on the web, the headlines must be concise, but also give a clear picture of what you will talk about while spiking the reader’s interest. It also gave us advice on how to put maps into our webpages because it can help the reader get a better understanding of what  we are talking about as well as possible directions to a specific location. Keep your topic and all media relevant.

Chapter 4 discusses more of the layout and how you should design your webpage. It is best to include links and images from multiple media i.e. maps, videos, bulleted lists, etc.. A good web page has multiple facets to it and looks pleasing to the eye. A webpage needs to be more than just words on a screen. It must be interesting to the readers. A color scheme must be used, varying font sizes [writer’s note: I was going to make “varying font sizes” in varying font sizes but the WordPress editing software is made for those with no web design experience (unlike myself who has 3 years). So that is incredibly frustrating. That has nothing to do with this topic at all. I just wanted to apologize for the lack of varying font sizes.] to show the differences in headings, titles, and the body paragraphs. Bolding and italics can also come in handy. But design can be too much and the webpage can get too much. If there is too much going on in terms of design, the reader will be unable to focus on the actual message of the website and the website will be a failure. The book gives the advice to KISS the website: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

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Click on Image for Original Source


Writing for the Web – Lynda Felder – Chapter 2

Felder gave us advice on how to write the passage ourselves in this chapter. The sentences must be in our own voice, but yet still semi-formal. Active verbs will make the passage more interesting. Short sentences are advised, but occasionally you have to mix it up.

Personally, I felt like most of this was pretty self-explanatory. You have to keep your page simple as to allow people who know nothing about the subject to fully understand what is going on. So if you use acronyms, it is best to give the full name when you first introduce it. If you are going to be talking about the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts, introduce them. Do not just assume that everyone knows what NAME is. Also keep foreign phrases to a minimum as to not complicate the reader. Not everyone is going to know what it means.