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.
This class was the first one I’ve had to take that has required the students to write blog posts each week. We’re not only writing for our classmates and professor but for everyone on the web as well. I think this has improved my skills as a writer because this is the first time I’ve had to write for a wider audience than just my professors and classmates. I think writing in blogs gives you the opportunity to show more of your personality in your writing than you would for a normal assignment that only your professor would read. I think I’ve always shown my voice through my writing. One example of this is for the DH project evaluation paper. I chose to examine the September 11th Digital Archive site. For this paper we got put in groups and had to edit and proofread our group members papers. I remember one comment from one of my group members said that he liked the way I let my voice show through my writing. I think in some ways this is effective, especially writing in blogs, because it allows the reader to connect with the writer on a deeper level than a more formal assignment.
I think blogging is more relaxing to write than a paper that is for your professor. Even though my professor, classmates, and other web users read what I posted, I think blogging is more personal; it takes some of the pressure off. Blogging has changed the way I write because I feel more comfortable to sound more like myself in my writing and let more of my voice show through. I think professor Pignetti did a good job at allowing this because of the open posts we had to do each week along with our other post that was about a specific topic. The open posts could be about anything related to our course goals and I really enjoyed seeing what everyone else posted each week. I think for the open posts everyone let their voice shine through in their writing and I think this makes the blog seem a little more inviting. Another thing I liked was that professor Pignetti would also do blog posts and would comment on our posts. In her posts and comments, and even teaching in class, she would talk to us in a casual tone and I think this also helped put everything at ease. Writing in the blog didn’t seem like an assignment sometimes because I usually always enjoyed what I had to write about and share with others for the open posts. And since our professor would do blog posts too that also helped make it seem like it wasn’t an assignment sometimes.
This link takes you to my very first blog post for this class. I couldn’t tell you what the assignment was about but I think this is a good example of sounding more personal in your writing. One thing that I would change now that I have reread it is in the last paragraph I talk about how I like Bobley’s definition of Digital Humanities. I wish I would’ve said what that definition was and explained why I liked it because now that I’ve reread it I don’t remember what his definition was. For most of the blog posts I just wrote it on the spot, read over it once for any spelling and grammar errors and then posted it. Normally I would write something, let it sit for a few days and then go back to it and make changes. I think writing for blogs forces you to be better at writing on the spot and writing something good the first time. Blogging is definitely good practice for that. For my editing class I think about how my professor was telling me how reporters would sometimes have to write stories and they would get proofread once and get sent out to the press. I always wondered how they could write something so good so fast and get mostly everything right the first time. Now that I have a little blogging experience under my belt I’m not too intimidated by writing something on the spot and still feeling confident about it.
My last post was about the tumblr page UFYH, Unfuck Your Habitat. I have spent most of this semester in a real funk, and my living space reflects that. AKA It was a total mess. From Friday mid-afternoon for the next 48 hours until today mid-afternoon with MASSIVE help from my mother, we cleaned my entire apartment top to bottom, bought and built Ikea furniture (hooray! new sewing table!) and generally got my place into the state it should have been in y’know, 3.5 months ago when I moved in.
Thus, I’m writing my own reflection on my last post.
The premise is make it livable, and lived in, without being chaotic and cluttered. Yes, I have two couches in my livingroom, we vacuumed twice (I have really fluffy cats) and I still have 5 boxes of yarn and other crafting stuff attached to my wall. It’s me. It’s my house. and It’s not embarrassing anymore.
I just wish I had taken the embarrassing before pictures so I could post that-much-more-awesome after’s to the feed.
Tumblr made me clean my house this weekend. shoving the link at you again, because I love this page that much. Unfuck Your Habitat.
If you haven’t heard of Google Ngram before, I think it’s worth checking out.
So Google has digitized over 5.2 million books and this Ngram viewer allows a user to punch in a phrase, word, couple of words, etc. to search how those words have been used throughout history. The best part about it is that it is a visual representation.
I really enjoyed the website that I chose! What I liked about my presentation was that I talked about how the site is free although the creators could charge for all the information that is on the site. Many history sites today as well as newspapers charge their readers to see their information, for example the New York Times only lets you go so many years back before it charges you. The other thing that I think I did a good job with was explaining that the site is good information for all ages. Simple enough for high scholars, yet informational enough for graduate students. The only thing I didn’t like was how fast I talked, but I had so much to tell that I felt was important enough.
The thing that I enjoyed about other student’s presentations was that they talked about the big data, which I totally forgot about. Also I liked how some projects mentioned Unsworth, which I also forgot about. I would have to say that my favorite website would have to be For Better For Verse. I thought the website seemed fun as well as informational. The site does seem quite difficult, however it can help for someone who is into poems! I totally see the digital humanities within this site and I think that it is awesome that something like this, can be put on the internet to help people who need it.
(It wouldn’t let me embed the video or upload to slideshare–here is the link: Speech Accent Archive)
After researching the Speech Accent Archive and listening my classmate’s presentations, I feel like I have gotten one big overview for the definition of DH and how it applies to the real world. I think each project touched on a different definition or aspect of DH. Each definition can relate to the “Scholarly Primitives” that John Unsworth wrote about and within each of the primitives, there is a specific connection to DH. Through my own project—and editing within my peer group—I learned about the influence of technology on the humanities. In previous years, the humanities would not have been able to reach such a large portion of the population, but the accessibility that comes with the use of technology within a project has allowed the authors to reach a larger portion of people. The accessibility factor alone makes a huge impact on each project. Another trend I saw was collaboration; many of the projects allowed for people to submit or add to the project so it was continually being updated. Humanities prior to the digital age would not have bee amble to accommodate for this type of collaboration because many of the artifacts were printed, making it impossible to add onto a project. Although the projects could be used as references, the possibility for a project to be out-of-date on a topic was highly likely; however, with the advancements in technology in modern societies, it is more likely that people will have a greater and faster access to information, which leads to more collaboration because each person can submit ideas or share the topic through social media websites or something as simple as e-mail. Much of the increased accessibility and collaboration of projects today is due to the increasing use of digitalization of the humanities, which influences the whole idea of DH.