Tagged: hirshgupta

Hyperlocal Blog: Tiny Town

Our hyperlocal blog represents a small, but diverse community. About 2,000 people will receive coverage of all the events from their community on the blog. There is a good number of children in the community too.  We will have a section covering school news, sporting news, local politics, recreational activities, weather. Since our community is a diverse community, we will cover cultural news as well, and advertise different events and holidays related to these different cultures. We want to create a blog that will allow all members of the community to actively partcipate in the community happenings. As we said before, there is a good number of children, so we will have kid’s activities and child caring tips for parents.

Since the community is smaller the blog will have a folksy and welcoming feel to not just the community members but also outside readers. The community is built on family and cooperation and thus the blog will reflect the community spirit.

The Concept of Linearity

Well, this is my second time writing about this excerpt and I’m still a little confused about Ellen Lupton’s idea of “linearity”. Awesome. Anyway, here is my thinking: linearity literally means “line”, going from point A to point B. There needs to be some sort of organization, otherwise one might stray from the linear path, and the user should not be able to jump from one point to another when it comes to linearity; that is the polar opposite of what it means. In terms of writing, linearity is basically a single stream of consciousness. A novel, therefore, would be linear because the reader cannot jump from page 3 to, say, page 50. He or she has to read each word and page in sequence in order to understand it. Similarly with speaking, there is no real way to veer off path; words cannot be spoken out of order. A textbook or a blog on the other hand would not be linear because the reader can easily jump from one passage to another, but more so for a blog. At least for a textbook, each passage is related. For a blog, the only relationship between each post may only be the general topic covered. Combine this with the reader’s ability to jump between any two passages fairly easily (at least with most blogs) and you have a complete nonlinear form of writing.

When Lupton mentioned PowerPoint as an example of linearity, I was a little befuddled. I didn’t exactly know what linearity was, but I thought it would be nonlinear based on what I got out of her explanation. Now that I sort of understand the concept a little better, it makes more sense. It is tough for a reader to jump from one slide to another because the information is presented in an organized, logical way (at least to the presenter), much like the novel. Thus, PowerPoint would be considered “linear”.

Annotated Bibliography 4

Jeremiah Owyang. Web-strategist. December 27, 2011. Web. October 10, 2013. <http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2011/12/27/end-of-an-era-the-golden-age-of-tech-blogging-is-over/&gt;

Well, this is certainly a different way of looking at the shorter attention spans we’re facing. I was always of the line of thought that the short attention spans and blogs were perfect for each other; after all, blog posts are generally pretty short and very abundant for an age group facing this “crisis”. But this author thinks that our short attention spans will bring the demise to the “Golden Age of Blogging” and he shows four trends to further illustrate his point. This article has certainly at least questioned my line of thinking about this topic. I believe this information is fairly reliable (he does provide hyperlinks to show where he found his data) and unbiased (I certainly don’t think that the author wants to see the end of the blogging era). I feel like this article is sort of like a count point to my argument, something that can certainly be useful in an essay, and so I can find a way to intertwine this in my essay with the other sources.

Typography…It’s Important!

This piece was a little difficult to understand and so I am a little confused about what exactly the author is trying to get at in this piece. I could be interpreting this all wrong, so bear with me. From what I understand, typography and text, when written down (on a computer, for example) has dimension, occupying space and time, and a fixed location…or something. As such, this has a very different feel to it than a written (by hand) work. The evolution of typography over time has also changed the way we read and create texts. According to the author, the text on a computer is supreme to the written word in a book. Due to technology, text and typography has become much more fluent and liquid than ever before. There are four ways that this has changed our lives: errors, spacing, “linearity”, and the user.

It is so much easier to detect errors today than it was, say 150 years ago, when everything had to be written down (and even with the typewriter); errors were so common and not so easy to detect and fix. This is obvious. Of course technology has made our lives easier to proofread our work. The problems are right there in front of us, and fixing the problem takes all but a few seconds to do.

A written piece, like an article, is like a type of art.  Spacing is important and integral to a written work(noonewantstoreadorwritelikethis), but it shouldn’t dominate it. Again, pretty self explanatory. No one wants to read a piece that has as much white space as actual text; despite how lazy we have become with reading, we still want to read something.

The next part, linearity, is a little confusing. Here, the author claims that since writing occupies space and time, the reader is, or has the potential to be, “liberated” from the linearity that we are so used to. Although technology can be so nonlinear, we so often see this linearity, such as the ticker on the bottom of the TV screen was one watches CNN. Word and PowerPoint are also linear by using a “one-way flow of speech”. One of the premier examples of a nonlinear form is a database, which is a structure behind electronic games, magazines, and catalogues. I’m not exactly sure what the difference between a “linear” work and a “nonlinear” work is, though. Nonetheless, the author thinks that we should stray away from linear media and turn to nonlinear one’s more.

Finally, the birth of technology and the Web as brought about “the user”. The user controls pretty much everything, including the significance of a given text. The use has also become significantly more impatient as the years and decades have gone by; this is due to the fact that the use of technology gives the user a different expectation of what to expect over a written work (productive vs. contemplative). Without the user, the Web is basically useless.

Annotated Bib 3

Baker, Natasha. Reuters. August 20, 2013. Online. October 3, 2013.

<http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/20/us-apps-attentionspan-idUSBRE97J0TI20130820&gt;

In this article, the author discusses how we use apps. Over a one year period from July 2012 to July 2013,  a study found that people opened apps 39% more often, but were only actually on the app 26% less. Raj Aggarwal, who conducted the research, stated that this is probably because apps are adapting to our shorter attention spans by giving consumers information much quicker. Vine allows the user to share videos as long as they are six seconds or shorter. Instagram has also allowed users to upload videos, but as long as they are 15 seconds or shorter. I believe that this information is credible and useful, although it does not go in depth about the research that was conducted and its findings (like my last source). This further supports my argument that social media, and technology as a whole, has lowered our attention spans significantly. It also adds the extra wrinkle into it by stating that businesses are catering to this by changing their smartphone apps.

Nude Media and Paintings

I found Laura DiCioccio’s paintings to be really fascinating. I never really looked at the way an article was inadvertently shaped to be “art”. There were times where I found myself zoning out while reading and looking at the white spaces that appear after the last sentence of a paragraph, but I never looked at it as “art”. But I suppose that it could be looked at as that. She succeeds in showing us this by substituting the words and pictures that appear on a writing piece with dots or varying color and size. I found her paintings really cool and even mistook the paintings for a real article a few times!

Perhaps relating to this, when an article gets stripped down to its “bones” it loses all of its creativity. No pictures, nothing to identify the source of where the piece came from, simply words on a page. For example, many online articles enlarge the first letter of the piece, but when the article gets stripped down, by emailing it to someone or even pasting it onto Word, it loses that uniqueness. If some words are colored or in a different font for whatever reason, those too may be lost. This may not be a good thing though because if someone were to write an article with some sort of creative layout in mind, it will be lost on the Internet after a while, losing the artful uniqueness of the piece.

In order to give true credit to an author, and to preserve its artful form, it is important to keep the piece as is and not modify it, if at all possible. This way we all get to enjoy an article in its alluring, original, form.

Annotated Bibliography 2

Kirsten Purcell, Lee Rainie, Alan Heaps, etc. Pew Internet. Pew Research Center. November 1, 2012. Digital. September 24, 2013. <http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Student-Research&gt;, <http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Student-Research/Summary-of-Findings.aspx&gt;

This is a summary of a study the Pew Research Center conducted about attention spans for teenagers. The researchers found that while teachers overwhelmingly agreed that the digital age has allowed students to access a wider range of information, teachers also overwhelmingly agree that it can also have a negative effect on the students. More than 3/4 teachers strongly agree that students now expect to find information much more quickly and easier. This source is extremely useful for me. Pew conducted an in-depth research project on this topic and found much useful information by questioning teachers about their views on this topic. Teachers, after all, are with the students for about 7-8 hours a day for half a year, and they of all people should know how the students react to the online world in school. This summary is far from biased and it simply attempts to show and closely examine the data the researchers collected. These findings will help me to further show that our attention spans are getting shorter, and it may not be a great thing.

Why is Creative Commons Important?

Using Creative Commons is essential when integrating someone else’s work into your own. When using a picture or a video or a passage from a book, it is difficult to give credit to the initial creator and people often forget that they even have to. With Creative Commons media though, using another person’s work pretty much automatically gives them credit as they are allowing you to use it. Since the media is already on Creative Commons, the author is already allowing you to use it and perhaps modify it to how you want to, losing the confusion of if one is allowed to do this without getting sued. Many people also illegally download media and sometimes alter it without even knowing what they are doing; after a while the initial author’s creation gets lost in a sea of modified works, making it very difficult and perhaps impossible to figure out who the initial author or creator is. Creative Commons attempts to make sure that this does not happen, since the author’s original work is always there, unaltered.

Creative Commons is not only an important tool to use as a random user; it can also be extremely useful to a blogger attempting to reach out to a larger audience. Incorporating someone’s work into your blog is beneficial for obvious, previously stated reasons: it gives the initial creator credit for his or her work and it makes sure that the blog’s author is not plagiarizing and in danger of being sued. As a creator though, Creative Commons can have a much more beneficial effect on the blog. There have been cases of movie producers and authors posting their pieces online for the rest of the Internet to view, free of charge, and these people have seen a surge in views and/or profits since doing so. A blog may not gain the author any profits, but using Creative Commons for a blog can boost the readership of it. Putting the blog on Creative Commons and allowing other’s to view the blog and possibly even use parts of the blog for their own use give the blogger a greater variety of readers and ultimately, this is the goal for any blogger.

Getting Used to Blogging

Writing a blog can be sort of like learning how to ride a bike for the first time; once you learn, you never forget. But when you are a beginner and writing your first blog, it can be very daunting. With so many options for how to set up your blog you don’t really know where to start. Even the supposedly easy choice of which blog domain to use can seem difficult since there are so many to choose from. WordPress is probably the most well-known though, so that is what one would use. I know I was (and am!) like that that. But being a successful blogger not only requires some writing skill, it also requires some technological skill and without one, the blog can be unsuccessful.

A blogger with a limited knowledge of technology will not have a lot of options when it comes to blogging. The most he or she will be able to do is the basics of what the blogging platform allows. For example, WordPress gives a blogger everything he or she needs to begin a blog: the layout, a dashboard where you can see everything and adjust if needed, and more. Novices can create a successful blog for a while, but the basic layout will get stale after a while and what readers were there may begin to thin out. This is where the technology know-how comes into play.

As the blogger becomes more technologically savvy, he or she has a growing number of options. WordPress and other blogs give the blogger the option of completely customizing the blog to however the he or she wants it. From the layout, to the fonts and pictures and everything else, all one needs to learn is how to code (which is admittedly more difficult than I am making it sound). The positive is that we are in the digital age and we have all the answers at our fingertips (literally), and all we need to do is a quick Google search. Coding in HTML is the most basic, but since blogs are simple almost by definition, it is probably the ideal way to go. Just with a few simple HTML codes, one can alter the size of the heading, the color and size of the fonts (and the font itself), create tables if necessary, and much more. With this new knowledge, a blog can be so much more successful and professional, and more readers will come with that success.

Attention Spans Getting Shorter!

Weatherhead, Rob. The Guardian. March 19, 2012. Web. September 18, 2013. http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2012/mar/19/attention-span-internet-consumer

In this article, the author talks about how attention spans for the current generation are getting shorter due to the Internet. With everything a simple click away, students no longer need to focus on one task for a long period of time. Because the current generation lives in an age of “instant gratification and quick fixes” critical thinking is no longer required like it was even a generation earlier. The article seems non-biased and aims to present the readers a fact, and then aims to give them a few pointers on how to structure a web page to maximize viewers. This source, at least the first half of the article, is useful to my essay. It provides hyperlinks to the author’s sources to back up his facts, which is great for further research on this topic (it even links to the initial study). I already figured that attention spans for the current and likely future generations were getting shorter, so this article doesn’t necessarily provide any new information as a whole, but I feel it is a good starting point for my research.