One website I frequent is called PCGamer. I go there daily for all of my pc gaming news, and I usually end up reading all of the posts published that day. One thing that I’ve never actually done is analyze the writing of the articles. For me, I think it’s a mix between serious writing and humorous writing. Some articles I find very interesting because the writer includes things like pictures with funny captions. Other times, the writing can be very long, drawn out, and overly expressive. It really depends on the writer in my opinion. These websites all have multiple writers that each bring their own set of skills and styles to the table. I know for a fact that there is one horrendous writer on PCGamer. He writes not to entertain the reader, but to entertain himself. His prose is long, overly complicated, and defiant of grammatical law. It’s good to vary vocabulary, but he does it so frequently that the original message takes multiple google searches to decrypt what is actually there. That is a bad thing. Is it good writing? Perhaps, but not the type of writing suited for the website. I believe diversity is important for a blog or website because otherwise, we would end up reading basically the same writing over and over and over again. Having a variety of voices all bringing you fascinating information is much more entertaining. However, there should be a fine line between varied and just flat out unnatural.
A good writer for a blog should be unique enough to have their own style and voice, but still constrained to the overall style of the blog as a whole. That means if a blog is exceptionally clean and devoid of swears or curse words, one particular writer should not go out of their way to add profanities just to make their writing a little more different. In the case of PCGamer, I feel as though that particular writer should lessen his use of large words and intricate sentence structure. I go there to read about the next big game coming out; I don’t go there to watch a writer bask in his self-indulgent word porn. Overall, I would say PCGamer has exceptionally good writing (for the most part). It’s snappy, informative, varied, and very entertaining to read. The skill level of the writer will vary from article to article, but I definitely feel it is one of the better websites out there.
Now I know what you all are thinking, but I will not be talking about nude people in this post. Media is so specific and so personalized that once any part of that media is taken away, it no longer is the same article anymore. In “Uncreative Writing” Kenneth Goldsmith talks about how when the layout and customization of a blog is removed from an article it no longer has style. It becomes naked and bare. The words that once flowed with the theme of the blog just become words on a screen that have no life to them. To me an article is nothing without the right delivery and presentation and personally I find paper articles to be much easier and more interesting on paper than on the internet. However in this day and age most articles are virtual, being posted on websites rather than printed in magazines or newspapers. This virtual journalism makes it that much easier to strip away that which makes the article so interesting to read. I would be able to sit down at any computer and simply copy and paste an article into a text post and it would lose all of the familiar aspects of the original article. One could say it lost its personality. This being said, when looking at Lauren DiCioccio’s artwork, a similar aspect comes to mind. Here she doesn’t strip away the personality, she strips away the article itself, leaving only the layout of what she sees before her. She takes a magazine article and paints it with colors and shapes but doesn’t include the words. She is removing any detail of the original article and uses what remains (shapes and colors) to create something entirely different. These two aspects can be argued to be the same. If you are given an article from a newspaper or a website. This article has words, sentences, and loads of colors and photos to attract the eye and make that article more interesting. What Goldsmith and DiCioccio are showing is that if you were to strip away the color and photos you are left with a boring article that you don’t want to read but if you were to strip away the words and any title leaving only shapes and colors, it is no longer a piece to read but a piece to look at. There is no more interesting news to be read or a photo to keep you interested. That is what they are saying. Nothing stays the same when you take just a piece of it away.
Cadwalladr, Carole. “We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of Lulzsec, Anonymous and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson – review.” The Observer. 17 Aug. 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/18/we-are-anonymous-parmy-olson-review>
The article discusses the recent rise in popularity of an anonymous hacker group know as “Anonymous”. Masked behind the internet, this group of individuals attack specific companies and groups to help raise awareness of controversial social issues surrounding these groups. Their methods are often questionable and extreme, but it is usually done for a good cause. The group has evolved from simple 4chan hackers to a global organization that coordinates attacks against powers like the North Korean propaganda accounts. The article brings up a good point about cyber terrorism. While it might not be a big deal in some countries, it could land you in prison in America. Anonymity on the internet gives people the courage to do crazy things they wouldn’t normally do online. What’s more interesting is that groups like Anonymous attract so many people because they know the risk of getting in trouble is much lower. In a sense, they lose their own individuality and become a part of a greater mass. While one or two members might get caught, the idea of Anonymous will always remain on the internet. It’s one of the very reasons why I feel that anonymity is too strong of a privilege to give people.
Sawer, Patrick. “Cyberbullying victims speak out: ‘they were anonymous so they thought they could get away with it.'” The Telegraph. 13 Nov. 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/8885876/Cyberbullying-victims-speak-out-they-were-anonymous-so-they-thought-they-could-get-away-with-it.html>
Cyberbullying is a huge issue because it causes victims to feel the pressure of bullying wherever they go. It affects them both inside and outside of class, often making the victims feel like there is no end to their torture. Two girls in particular, Natalie Farzaneh and Paige Chandler, share their stories of how cyberbullying affected their lives. In both cases, the girls used a service known as Formspring. This website allows users to receive anonymous messages from anyone who comes across their webpage. Chandler recalls people leaving comments on other profiles that say things like “I wish your mother would die.” The worst part is, most of these anonymous users do this not because they know the user personally, but because “they have nothing better to do.” It goes to show what normal people are capable of given the right conditions. Another interesting thing brought up by the article is that large companies like Facebook do nothing to stop this type of harassment. Both girls filed complaints, but were ignored.