Tag Archives: Digital essay

x12: Presentations and Arcade

I’d like us to spend our last class meeting presenting your digital essays. Our closing celebration of your work will be in two stages.

Presentations:  Process, affordances, and constraints

I’d like each of you to offer a brief presentation of your digital essay to the class.  I’ll project your project on the screen. You should then plan to speak about it for about five minutes—no more! In the second half of the class, people will have plenty of time to read through your piece and talk with you about the substance of your work. So in your presentation, I’d like you to focus instead on what composing for the digital media allowed you to do, and what it made difficult. Please point to moments in your essay that help you talk about:

  • How you developed your project, from idea through drafts and revisions to final version (process).
  • What you feel you were able to express that you could not have done as well in print (affordances).
  • What proved difficult for you in working in this medium (constraints).

At the start of this course, I asked the question: What changes when you write for the screen rather than the page? This is your chance to offer an answer.

Final drafts: A digital arcade

Please post a link to the final version of your essay to this website. We’ll spend the last half of the class walking about the room, viewing and discussing one another’s work.

In the body of your post, write a version of your presentation of your project to the class. The written form of your presentation may be read by people outside this class, so you might want to:

  • Offer a somewhat more detailed description of your actual project—a “teaser” to attract readers;
  • Say a little more about the history of your project, how you developed it;
  • Insert an image from your project.

Please post your work to this site by 11:59 pm on Thurs, 5/15. Please use both digital essay and x12 as your categories.  I look forward to a fun last class!

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Draft 1: Turning the Digital Page

Dearest groundhogs (or whistle-pigs, if you please),

Apologies for lateness, but here is my first draft of the digital essay,Turning the Digital Page.

Summary: My project is primarily interested in digital archives such as The Yellow Nineties Online, and the ways in which we understand and approach archival texts in these digital contexts, as well as the processes and decisions that go into their remediation.

Note: For additional background information, I would advise reading my tabs at the top on the Yellow Book and “About this Digital Essay” before launching into the subsets of the topic I present as posts; my hope is that the posts themselves can be read in any order, but I may go in later and reorder them more effectively if you think it advisable.

Gaps and Problems: At this point, I am still trying to translate (and remediate) this project from a seminar paper to a more precise digital version of itself (plus some). This necessarily means I am in the process of adding links/images/text,  as well as changing my tone and incorporation of references somewhat. I also still want to bring some of our readings from this class (Baron and perhaps another–suggestions welcome!) to bear on this topic, but have not yet done so. I think that the meat of what I want to say is there (I am fairly certain I’m already far over the word limit), but I’m still working to streamline, clarify, and beautify.

Feedback: 

1.) I’ve been tinkering a lot with WordPress of late and I’d like to get your feedback on the appearance and ease of access of the site as it stands now. Does it work for you as a user? Is there any way I can/should guide readers more in terms of what to read first?

2.) I’m also concerned that my posts are too insular and do not clearly enough interrelate to each other and my stated goals in my introduction.

3.) What I’m most afraid of is that my project is coming off as too pedantic–that I have too much in the way of scholarship to the point of feeling clunky–and not as accessible as I’d like in terms of content–concerning level  of language and my sad dearth of images and other media. Any suggestions for making it more appealing (visually and otherwise)?

Thanks for reading!

 

Draft 1

Here it is!  It’s not very fleshed out now and actually looks quite boring, because all of my sources are (mostly) in print and I’m trying to wade through all of them.

http://haleyvilleumccemetery.wordpress.com/

Summary: Historic cemeteries are valuable resources that hold boundless information and data for modern researchers, as well as sentimental value to families of those interred there.  Sadly, many fall into disrepair due to the passage of time, natural weather processes, and human error.  When this happens, the historic information about the community and the people who lived there vanishes.  While the Haleyville United Methodist Church cemetery in southern New Jersey is well-taken care of, natural and chemical processes are beginning to take their toll and deteriorate the headstones on the site.  My preservation plan will set a course of action that will facilitate current and future preservation goals through 1) identifying the issues and solutions, 2) providing a context for understanding and appropriately approaching this particular cemetery, 3) providing resources and recommendations for care, and finally, 4) arguing for the importance of preserving graveyards as memorial spaces and historic resources.

 

Gaps or Problems: I’m still working on when I’m going to get my family group and deterioration mapping together– hopefully it’ll be done Thursday or at the latest, early next week.  I’m rather unsure how to map things on my own, so this will be an adventure.  Also, there’s not much content up just yet.  A good deal of my sources are currently on paper, so I’m working on pulling them all together and putting them in a coherent digital form.  The text that’s up there is chunks of the presentation I’m preparing for my class on this project, so it covers the basic factual gist of what I’m going for, but doesn’t go into too much detail just yet.  Also, there will be lots more pictures.  I’m going to work more on this throughout the week, so look for more things to pop up as the days go by.

Questions

  • Do you think it would be helpful to have videos from preservation organizations embedded in the pages in order to showcase how the preservation work is actually done?
  • Do you think that a website format is intuitive, in that people can follow the order of what pages they’re supposed to go to as they read more?
  • In terms of my argument, what do you think is the best way to display that?  A separate page on the site?  Argue the point throughout each individual page?  What would work best for you as readers?
  • I know that a lot of this is really technical talk and once the actual content is up instead of just placeholders, it’ll get a lot more detailed.  That being said, I’d like if you see something that isn’t clear or a concept you don’t quite understand, let me know so I can define it. 

 

 

Betty Who?: Social Media and the Construction of New Pop Celebrities (A Digital Essay)

Greetings, whistle-pigs! Er…groundhogs.

I’ve created a WordPress site that will serve as the platform for my digital essay. The link is: popexaminer.wordpress.com

A. Brief Summary: My digital essay is not only argument-driven but also theoretically-based, meaning I’m trying to pull together various threads of scholarship into one “cohesive” whole: celebrity, media, and fan studies, as well as interdisciplinary work on social media. In doing so, I’m pursuing the question of how fans use social media to construct new pop celebrities, as the title of my essay implies. What is live on my WordPress site thus far is a series of five posts that serve as the theoretical framework for my project. What I have left to compose is my case study, which will focus on Betty Who. By the end of my essay, I hope to prove how a “proto-celebrity” no longer needs to rely solely on the machinations of a PR team to gain and sustain media exposure; rather, fans do much of the footwork these days out of sheer interest in the proto-celebrity at hand and in sharing them with the rest of the world in the hopes of creating a fan community.

B. Gaps and/or Problems: As I stated above, the most obvious gap is my missing case study on Betty Who, which I’m still working through. In terms of problems, I have two concerns: (1) how “multimedia” or “digital” my project is, and (2) how my tone translates onto a blog. I’m afraid of sounding disingenuous by pandering to what a “blogger” should sound like, but I’m also afraid of sounding too academic. At the end of the day, though, I’d rather sound academic (and risk sounding pretentious) than phony.

C. What Sort of Feedback Would Be Most Useful: Here are some guiding questions that way I can avoid micromanaging. How can I better include more “affordances” of the web to make my project seem more multimedia? Keep in mind, though, that my case study of Betty Who will be very multimodal. Are there any places where you think I could condense or pull back on some of my theorizing/frameworking? How well do you see my own authorial voice coming through (since I draw from the work of numerous scholars)? Additionally, I’m conceiving each post as both a separate entity and a part of a larger whole. Does each post achieve those criteria? If not, which ones could I improve, and how could I improve them? Finally, one smaller point: is it redundant to repeat the same, long title for each blog post? Would it be more effective if I just titled them “Part x of ???” or something that more accurately reflects the specific post’s argument, paired with the “Part x of ???” parenthetical?

Philosophers Online

Hello, Gophers!

Here’s my stuff.

Link: https://sites.google.com/site/685dwcats/

Cover Memo:

Summary:
While humanities programs in the university are worried about their future, philosophy as a subject has quietly, but successfully, moved online. There are, of course, those who abstain from the public sphere, but philosophy has done really well online. The pages on this website are divided by method, in hopes that they can give an overall picture as to which methods work well (and for what reasons). It is also my hope that other fields can look to these public philosophers as they learn how to embrace and engage the public. My current sections are: Simulation, Illustration, Community, and Failures. Each page is divided into two sections: (1) an overview of several key online players and (2) an analysis.

Gaps or Problems:
So right now I am still drawing all of these sources together. I’ve fleshed out the pages on Community and Simulation (as well as the main, overview page), but I’m not sure that all of the pieces are working together. It seems to me that I need some process-education research or something to give my observations a framework. I mean, I can do all of the analysis that I want but there does sometimes need to be something I can tie my analysis to.

Feedback:
I really want to know the following:

First, how do you like the layout of the pages? Is this working for you? Why or why not?

Second, am I doing enough analysis? Should I add more examples from these works? Do I need more reasons?

The Overview worries me the most, because I feel like it’s not as interesting as I would like it to be. Any suggestions?

Also, it feels to me like I need some sort of concluding idea somewhere on the website. Does it also feel like that to you? I might be reading too much into this feeling because I’m envisioning an essay and working with a website (two very different genres).

4 Questions You May Not Know I Had About Lists

The internet appears to have an obsession with “listicles.”  If you spend any time on sites like Buzzfeed, Cracked, ThoughtCatalog, or MentalFloss, you know what I’m talking about.  Listicles are lists that are detailed enough to be considered an article- hence, the portmanteau of “list” and “article.”   Most notably, the aforementioned sites have made them a part of their daily repertoire.  There are even sites like Listverse, which is dedicated solely to lists on just about everything related to culture, science, history, technology, and life in general.  I am interested in exploring these detailed lists and their place in digital writing.

Lists as we think of them tend to be practical or a way to keep track of things, such as shopping, tasks to complete, things you want, or guests for an event– all things that exist in a personal and useful context.  Internet lists like the ones seen on Cracked, MentalFloss, and occasionally Buzzfeed tend to be trivia-oriented, and generally have some sort of educational value (Cracked’s 21 Beloved Famous People Everyone Forgets Did Awful Things or Buzzfeed’s 42 Incredibly Weird Facts You’ll Want to Tell People Down the Pub).  You’ll often see practical applications as well, like “workouts you can do at home,” or my favorite, the constant stream of 20+ item lists of unbelievably wonderful-sounding recipes put out by BuzzfeedFood.

However, there are a lot of irrelevant, distracting, and useless ones out there. Who really needs to see Buzzfeed’s “26 Disney Characters Reimagined as Hogwarts Students,” or ThoughtCatalog’s “The Girl You’re Pretending to Be on Instagram”?

13 Watercolor Sloth Versions of the Game of Thrones Characters?   I got a little time…

 

Texts: My primary texts/materials will be the aforementioned websites (Cracked, Buzzfeed, ThoughtCatalog, Listverse, etc.), as well as shorter, more to-the-point lists.  I’ll also want to look at print versions of “listicles,” as they show up in magazines and other print media as well.

Question/Problem:  I’m most curious to know…

  • What makes this listing style so popular online, especially in a context that could be seen as distracting or pointless?
  • Why do people decide to use this instead of just writing about stuff without dividing it up?
  • What stylistic choices- tone, use of images, length, etc.- do writers use?  Are there differences when you look at online vs. print?  One website vs. a different website?  Staff posts vs. community posts?
  • Ranked, thematic, and random listicles- how do they differ stylistically?  Why?

Format:  A list or series of lists, of course!  Likely on a WordPress/Tumblr sort of platform.

Model Texts: Once I decide if it’ll be just one big list or a series of small ones, I’ll decide if I want to model after a certain website’s format, or not.  I would like to try to imitate the general style of Cracked or Buzzfeed.

Questions/Concerns: I have a tendency to think of something and get very excited about it without thinking it through totally.  Plus, I often am too narrow or too broad in my topic choices, or don’t ask the right questions.  In this case, I also chose something that I may not be quite qualified to talk about, as I don’t study language or writing in a great depth.  I just have a general frame of an idea, and will probably need to flesh it out a bit more or pare it down.  I’m really interested to hear what you guys think, or any thoughts you have to offer.

(Re)creational Writing: Tumblr Rewrites Shakespeare

Texts: Blogs dedicated to Shakespeare (or that frequently write around/rewrite Shakespeare) in various ways (text, video, fan fiction, tags, captioned gifsets, art…). I’m interested in looking at rewritten Shakespearean texts, but also at how “Shakespeare” as a cultural icon is rewritten on the site. My title is coming from a comment Baron makes about how the Internet has led to a surge in recreational reading and writing, and I thought there was a pun there to make especially suited for an essay involving Shakespeare.

Question/Problem: At the most basic level, I’m asking: how is Shakespeare’s work (and “Shakespeare”) rewritten on Tumblr? In doing so, I’m looking not only at content – how do Tumblr users put pressure on Shakespeare in various ways (in terms of gender, sexuality, race, etc.) – but also at methodology – how do they do this? Tumblr has its own brand of literary criticism, and its own brand of creative fiction, that enable unique readings and rewritings of Shakespeare. Also, Tumblr’s interface allows for easy multimodal composition – some of the most interesting commentaries on Shakespeare (especially film adaptations in this case) are gifsets captioned in Comic Sans employing the “badness” in writing that Michael has posted about.

Format: Tumblr! Where I can interact directly with the source.

Model Texts: Tumblr pages aren’t necessarily the most visually appealing or intuitively navigable, and so I will be playing around a bit with how I want material organized. The blog will likely take one of two forms – vertical infinite scrolling or the other one here that I haven’t yet come up with a label for: http://loveyourchaos.tumblr.com/ and http://monk3y.tumblr.com/.

Questions:

Things I’m wondering about right now surround the blog format. Tumblrs are, like most blogs, set up in reverse chronology (unless I play around with the other form). I’m trying to think of ways that I can organize my posts so that I create a coherent structure. I’m also playing around with the idea of organizing my material so that the blog can be read either way – one which leads to some sort of “answer” and one that opens up to a lot of questions. I don’t know if I will be able to pull that off, though.

My other question is around the writing process itself. Blog posts aren’t really meant to be revised as we think of revising in a Word document. Also, my composing process would be public. Kiley and I were chatting about this, and she suggested having essentially a “beta” digital essay, where all the work is done, and then revising as I see fit for a final product. I’m wondering what other’s thoughts are on that as well as I am still questioning what I want to do. Tumblr users are an especially responsive bunch, and so I am still somewhat invested in having that public, relatively immediate interaction as a significant part of the digital essay.