Politics, deer and apples

I’m reading through the final posts and looking for the one that mentions the uptick in use of social media during the elections. (I should have made a note when I read it.) The post mentioned something about how this election has claimed more attention through social media than any other election. That is true – some of that is purely a numbers game. The number of users of  all types of social media has increased dramatically since the last election, so it is reasonable to assume that the number of users following the election will be higher. The number of tweets on election day is just as much a product of the fact that more people use Twitter, as it is about election coverage. The increase in the percentages of social media users following this election compared to the past elections or events may be a more accurate comparison than just a user count. It’s a bit like comments that there are so many more car/deer crashes than in the past. That is true – but again – part of it is a numbers game. The deer population is higher than it has ever been AND there are more cars on the road, traveling more miles than ever before. Even the probability of hitting a deer goes up. So, we have to be sure we are comparing apples to apples when looking at the numbers.

The End of the Beginning

Or, You’ve (I’ve) Come a Long Way Baby.

This slogan was a popular ad campaign marketing progress for women (and cigarettes) in the late 1960s. I’m not a smoker, but that slogan is how I see what this class has done for me and for digital humanities as part of my degree plan, and possibly my future. If you heard the term “digital” in the 1960s, you will see here that it probably referred to numbers or toes. I had no idea what to expect from this class and probably less of an idea of what digital humanities was – or even what humanities was, for that matter. These blog posts have helped shape my definition of digital humanities. What that boils down to is using technology as an avenue for searching through massive amounts of data – big data – and analyzing it in a new way, then sharing that information. In part, the posts have helped to shape me, too. My open posts were all over the board. Some followed the virtual Friday themes, especially the posts relating to Twitter and the election. Some were based on my interests – crafts, jobs, social issues, current trends, education and more.  Some were self-explanatory, like the info-graphics. Others, like the post about exit polls required more of an explanation, and even generated some discussion. I’m not entirely new to blogging, we had weekly blog posts for one of Matt’s classes. Most of those didn’t have much depth; his goal was to get us used to writing and responding to other posts. I’ve also followed some blogs relating to my interests. These are some of the things I’ve learned about blogging, websites and ME from A Critical Approach to Digital Humanities.

I’ve used the internet for some time, but had not given much thought to whether a website had a goal, so maybe that is my epiphany for this class – going from glancing over a website to really gaining an understanding of the information on the site, and the purpose for its creation. Analyzing a website as a mature digital humanities project exemplified John Unsworth’s Scholarly Primitves for me, and also helped to point out shortcomings of websites which may not be readily apparent upon first glance. That became very clear when listening to the presentations about other websites. I chose Railroads and the Making of Modern America. I love trains, so this was an easy choice. It is also leading to some research for another of my classes. The site creators are mainly educators and experts in their fields. The site is practical and efficiently provides links to lots of data rather than being flashy. I did find the site somewhat limiting in that it focused primarily on the latter half of the 1800s. When listening to some of the other presentations, it became apparent that the same group of researchers has created other websites relating to the same period in history. That is a striking example of big data and how it can be analyzed for different purposes. Creators stated their goal was to “use digital medium to investigate, represent, analyze and document their findings.” In my opinion, they’ve met their goal and this site is a “strong example of a mature digital humanities website.”  In the bigger picture, they have added to the larger bodies of knowledge in the discipline and in digital humanities.

The post I struggled with the most, and which has probably had the biggest impact, was the personal Manifesto, I don’t think I’ve had my epiphany for that yet, it is still a work in progress. This post made me think why I’m doing what I’m doing. Pursuing a bachelor degree is something I’ve always known I wanted to do, and timing was an important factor in choosing the PCEM degree. Am I nuts for doing this at this point in my life? Realistically… This post made me put that goal into written words – I had talked about it – and put it “out there”. That adds a measure of accountability. The manifesto is still pretty general. As I noted, “Bottom line – I don’t have a definite direction.”  I am still looking to define that. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer, math always made more sense to me – but who knew that math and history were part of the big picture of digital humanities. (And, I never did see that young maiden standing by the window in the castle watching the river flow serenely by from that literature class.) So this pushes my limits. It makes me re-define creativity and tap into something I always thought I lacked. Writing these posts – both the open posts and the virtual Friday posts – has helped me to analyze and organize (and reorganize) my thoughts so they are more connected and make more sense.  In a sense, it is adding to my larger body of knowledge, one of the goals of digital humanities. Success! Oh, and another success is learning linking and embedding – things that without having to  learn them would have been very easy to procrastinate about.

So, this class is the End of the Beginning. It is my jumping off point for digital humanities, and who knows where it will lead. I, rather accidentally, have worked in digital humanities for the past couple of years, and I could see that in my future. In a perfect world, I would be able to afford NOT to work and have the time to really delve into what interests me. Meanwhile, back to my blog posts and classes.

Double-Rainbows…What does it mean!?

Reflection of a reflection of a post—it’s like a double-rainbow of my life as a blogger.

Many of my posts this semester have been rather lackluster. As I noted in my post “Unfucking My Habitat” I’ve been in a really bad funk this semester, and it hasn’t been easy doing the simplest of tasks—from housekeeping to homework—everything was tough for me, and I pretty well just did the bare minimum to get by. This definitely shows in not only my most recent posts, but all of them. Things that have most definitely changed for me as a writer, is that I feel like I’ve found a blogging “style” if you will. I feel like when I blog, I am writing to someone—even if I only have one or two followers, its one or two people for me to write directly to, and that in itself gives me motivation and some semblance of direction. I find that I also rely (probably a bit too heavily) on images/external information to “speak” for me—I’ll post a blurb or a snippet of information, and let people see for themselves what this thing I’m speaking of is. I shouldn’t rely so much on the information, but rather give my own opinions and interpretations of things. Two posts that I could and should have said a lot more on topic we’re “Historically Hardcore” and “Banned Books”.  “Historically Hardcore” showcases a student project in which a young woman made fake Smithsonian posters, comparing current day “bad asses” to historically “bad ass” figures. While they’re very cool and I love the project, There are a few nitpicky facts that the creator didn’t get quite right (and could have easily checked). Also, these posters went near-viral when the Smithsonian requested that she remove their name from the project, because people were mistaking them for real Smithsonian advertising posters. “Banned Books” should simply have been so much more. I am historically a lover of banned and censored books, as I feel that many writers are. Why didn’t I mention The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which has recently been adapted to film, and stars Emma Watson, the actress who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series—in fact, why didn’t I talk about Harry Potter, my first experience with a banned book, and I didn’t even know if was banned at the time!


Going through my posts, I ask myself “Why didn’t I…” and I have no real, logical, or coherent answer. For the most part,  at the time it just didn’t occur to me. Clearly, I need to rely more on the drafting process, and less on the word-purge style I seem to utilize.


My biggest take away this term is REVISE, REVISE, REVISE. Something I should have learned a long time ago.

Last Post Recap

Blogging this semester has been a strange experience. Not only have I had to keep one for this class, but I’ve also had to keep one for my Intro to Tech Communications class. So going from never having blogged or anything before to trying to remember to keep two separate blogs has been strange to say the least. I have a terrible memory to start with, so this really didn’t help my case.

When I first started blogging, I’m not sure I completely got what blogging entailed. I started off blogging as more of a personal soap box than anything else. I didn’t do much with it aside from just talk about a single topic. Then again that may have been the nature of the topics that we started with. They were more focused on just describing something we had read or whatever. Even with our open post, I just kind of talked about whatever I wanted to with no regard for the audience that blogging opened me up to. In my later post I started taking more of the audience into account. I started talking about things that not only I cared about, but also what I thought others would want to talk about or at the very least interest them enough to read it at the time, even if they weren’t going to comment on my post about it. The first post I noticed this in would be my post about the supposed ‘Bacon Shortage’. I knew it was a topic that people may find funny and want to comment on. Most of my topics from that time forward had a fair amount of comments on them since I started talking about stuff I thought people would care about.

One post that surprised me with the amount of attention that it had gotten was my post of “Is Youtube Becoming Internet TV?”. The article I had read talked about Youtube securing deals with specific channels. The idea behind this was that these channels would post their content on a set schedule in the hopes that people would then come to Youtube at those times to view the content, almost like they would a standard television channel. The content would still be available afterwards, but they wanted to see if it was possible to get people to show up to Youtube at certain times to watch the content. This article fell into a special interest to me. I’m a big fan of podcasting and some internet television stations already. I’ve been viewing a lot of them since I was in high school. Most had started out as just guys talking about a subject that they were passionate about and going. I always like some of those shows because it was less about the station they were on or anything but their show and their field of interest. I wasn’t that surprised that it was one of my less commented on open post, but it was something I wanted to talk about.

Throughout the semester I have found myself subscribing more and more to not only sites and news sources talking about Digital Humanities things, but also things that just talk about technology in general. I always subscribed to a few just to read whenever I would have the time throughout the week, but thanks to the post in this class I made time to read the ones that interested me in order to make my post. While looking at these I found myself more intrigued by the technology post. I hadn’t realized how often they can fall into line with the Digital Humanities disciplines and how often I can make them fit into the blog post. I liked reading a lot more of all the human interest pieces. They tended to focus more on the Digital Humanities disciplines and how people were dealing with the technology or whatever the post happened to be talking about. So now I’ve subscribed and read a lot more about the disciplines, and I tell myself that it’s for class even when I’ve already made my post for the week. Things like Digital Humanities Now and CNN’s Technology RSS feeds have worked their way into my regular weekly readings now.

goodbyeeeeee forevVvverrrrr (well I sure hope not)

What? The semester is closing? Woah woah woah.  My last post, huh? Weeeeird.

Well, it’s been real guys. I had done blogging before for other classes- but this has been, hands down, the most lively, resourceful, and amusing blog yet.  I think that’s what I enjoyed most about good ol’ ENGL 335 – DIGITAL HUMANITIES.  There is always plenty of conversation going on to spark interest, and new posts trickling in every couple hours. That’s what a blog should be at it’s best anyways, right? Cool.

I clicked my name on the side links to pull up all of what I had written this past semester, and couldn’t help but smirk and nod to myself. Niiiice. Look. At. that. I done wrote that all myself.

Speaking of bad grammar, everyone has been really good at not doing it. (Except for me just now.) Really guys, I’m pretty impressed. Everyone has been formulating some really good contributions and it has helped my writing and ways of thinking quite a bit. I can definitely say I feel more comfortable forming an educated opinion on things that to me seem irrelevant to an actual field of education.

Twitter, for example, has been to me, before this class, just another form of “hanging out” online and talking to friends. Yet, as we have discussed, it is so much more than that now, to the extent of people creating entire classes around it. It is a medium to communicate, a method of research, and an overall incredibly successful tool to share news and social changes happening in the world.  I took a look at my personal twitter feed, and around the time this class started I had about 45 tweets for the past 8 months. After this class I now have 109 semi-useful but always thoughtful tweets, and adding! Yay for Twitter!

After reviewing my posts on this blog, I’ve noticed a ‘digital v. printed’ theme happening. My posts initially started out oozing over how much better books were than digital resources (smells, feels, awesome overall “book-ness”). I’ve also drawn a lot of attention to coffee (sorry follks) And also coffee and printing… (BUT ITS JUST SO COOL!)

It absolutely made my day when I found something that I have liked for a long time on the internet, and then it magically relates to a the ‘friday post’ assignment. The little things guys, the little things.

That turned into other Internet memes of how people are getting wrapped up in the Kindle and not really reading physical books anymore. Turtle. 

I hope people continue to post for the fun of it, I’d really enjoy re-visiting every so often…

Well, it’s been a grand time down memory lane, but onward to these annotated bib’s! I wish you all the best and that you all get A’s in everything and have an awesome Christmas.

Reflection Ya’ll

As many have said before me, the semester is coming to an abrupt end.  This is the time of the year that the Christmas music is playing in every department store and the colors of red and green side the streets. This also means, finals. As finals quickly approach, so does reflecting on my past four months in English 335 and telling about everything that I learned for the good as well as the bad. Throughout the past four months I have been blogging every Friday about current events that the class would talk about with one another as well as something relevant that was from my own personal thoughts. As all of this seems like fun and games, it was really helping me keep involved with new things going on around the world everyday by reading something I wouldn’t normally read.

When it comes to blogging, I wasn’t a big fan going into the whole idea. When I took ENGL 121 my first freshman semester we did a lot of blogging and when we were told that we would be doing it for 335 as well I was not to thrilled. However, this class took blogging a different direction and we were given more direction from the professor. Blogging has changed my writing in more ways than I realized. When it comes to my writing before blogging, I would write in very detailed ways. I wrote in such ways that would bore a blog reader and make them probably not want to read again. As I read other students work I knew where to take my writing styles from. I wrote my first blog post for this class about blogging! Surprise I know! I realize now that I wrote way more than I had to and what I wrote did not have much strength to it. Now when I look at my blogs I realize that I have more body to what I’m saying. For example one of my first posts was written like this, “I did however find it quite difficult to write a blog once a week because I’m not the kind of person who likes to tell people about my life and experiences.” 09/12/12. That post makes me sound very rude and to outside viewers who don’t know me, may think that I am stuck up and stuck on myself. Which is not how I am. As for improvements one of my latest posts looked like this, “This past week I was able to learn the differences between a good and bad webpage!” 11/29/12. I found out that as the semester went on I kept my sentences more choppy and shorty keeping a blog reader more interested.

            Currently I am in ENGL 125 and for our final paper we need to pick any topic we wish and, well, write about it. My topic is, “Is texting hurting younger generation’s grammar?” Why I mention this is because I feel like what I have done in ENGL 335 has helped guide me to this question. Question number five asks about how writing this semester has affected life beyond school and I think that with having 10 people blog each Friday about something going on in the world has opened my mind to what really is going on. For example, there was an article that I read that talked about only 8% of people use Twitter in the world, when here I thought it was only I who didn’t use it! When it comes to writing with this class and the outside world, I text and use Facebook. This class shows me that I keep my texting and Facebooking posts crisp and to a point. I don’t venture off onto something that doesn’t need to be talked about. I understand that Facebook is much different than writing a paper, but I feel like this class has helped me understand writing.

            Feedback: the negative stuff no one likes to hear! One way that another student’s feedback has helped me is on October 21st I posted that Mean Girls politics meme. It was said that I need to give credit to the person I got it from and I realized after I read that I should have and that from now I should quote where it is from. I mean, I know this however I realize that I should for everything that I post so I don’t get in trouble in the long run. My classmates all did a great job posting throughout this class, and I am happy to say that I was taught so much from reading everything I read. 


My Reflection


Each day in my Digital Humanities class I have been blogging about information being given on the Internet. Whether the information has been professionally put together, like through Manifestos, or more informally written like Twitter Tweets, it has all been relevant to my goals. I have always though of myself as a good creative writer, but never a good structural writer. I wish to improve on my online writing skills because I discovered that I have a lot to improve on when it comes to blogging.

I will admit that some of my blog posts had very little thought put into them, however that was not the case with most of them. Unfortunately, no matter how much thought I put into my blog posts they never seem to come out how I want them to. I have yet to fully improve on explaining my ideas on a subject. I would like to practice writing out my thoughts before hand, then making sure I get my point across before posting something.

I also discovered that I have troubles with discovering good sources. When I look for a Blog topic I never quite find that golden story or picture. In order to be a successful blogger, or writer of any sort, there needs to be a good supporting subject. I’m sure that if I found a more interesting story, or picture, my blogs would have been much more interesting, and easier to write. This also affects my essay writing skills. I have never been good at finding reliable, useful sources, in order to back up what I am trying to say.

I recently looked through all of my blog posts and discovered one that I truly put all my thought and effort into, and tried the hardest on. It was my very first blog post. With a sort of irony, my most thought went into my first and last post for Digital Humanities class. When it all comes down to it, I work my hardest when I need to write about myself. I know more about myself than any other topic, making writing about me the easiest thing to write about.

In conclusion, I need to improve on some very important parts of writing. Without putting more thought into what I write, I will never have clear thoughts on paper. Once I start putting more thought into my writings, I need to learn how to explain exactly what I mean. After I have mastered these techniques, next will be finding more scholarly sources, and searching farther than the first thing I see on a Google search. I have tons to improve on when it comes to my writing, but I have learned plenty of new skills that I can improve on.