Category Archives: virtual friday

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.


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.


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.


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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.


Although this class has taught me a lot about blogging my career in public writing did not begin here. The first time I ever blogged was in Matt Livesey’s class freshman year. We had a choice of where we wanted to blog and what we wanted to blog, he was happy as long as we posted one paragraph each week and commented on a few others as well. I think that this type of freedom definitely allowed us ease into the world of public writing and flourish on our own time. Here is a link to my Blogger account where you can find multiple blogs I posted all throughout my first semester in addition to one in particular about a soda company commercial. (http://fuax-promises.blogspot.com/2011/10/not-for-women.html) I think this post is a good example in general because of how I wrote it. I stated that “Since the commercials first started airing at the beginning of October the perception ratings of Dr. Pepper have decreased detrimentally and not just from women although their ratings went from 32.9 to 18.4 (which if you didn’t notice is almost a 50% decrease.)” Although, I did do research on the subject and posted a fairly good analysis I think that it is lacking professionalism and content that would make it much more interesting to readers who may be concerned with that kind of stuff rather than just some students in my class. I believe that I simply added too much sarcasm, for example asking, “Did Dr. Pepper have a death wish here?” I relate this blogging to this class because I think it helped me develop from semi-serious writer to the more professional writer I have become this semester. In the few months that I have started blogging on wordpress I think that my content and professionalism has increased a lot. I also think the subjects that I talked about definitely improved as well.

For example, in this Post (https://engl335digitalhumanities.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/the-effects-of-social-media/) I talked about the effects that social media had on the election. I found articles relating to my post and discussed important topics that matter to people. Such as “I’m pretty surprised that twitter didn’t crash with the overload of opinions, thoughts, and ideas all coming in at around 65,000 tweets per minute.” Although, it doesn’t seem like this would be that important to some people I think that to people who are involved with social media and care about its effects on events would find this really interesting and important. I also think that I kept my post more interesting and professional than the other example that I provided. It is definitely one of my favorite posts from this semester just because it means so much to the world, in relation to the elections. One of the most important quotes is this “If there is something to know or something to see all it takes is a simple click or a share or a retweet for anyone to be caught up and see what is going on. Social media now has such an impact that it can either make or break the way people are perceived not just by people on the internet but by people who dont use it too.” This is important and factual and I think it demonstrates how much the internet effects everything. I wrote this post on the 12th, which was less than a week after the elections with an awe-inspired mind because of the article I found. I cant even explain how it was written because I think I did it so fast I hardly recognized what I was writing. The subject matter of the post was just so interesting to me that I wrote down my findings and my opinion into one content crammed interesting post. The article I read stated that this election was the most tweeted, blogged, and posted about election that has ever existed. I found this intensely interesting because I’m pretty much interested in anything that is remotely web related. Re-reading this article I think I’m actually pretty surprised at just how excited I was about this new idea that the web can decide how an election goes. This is such a new concept that I’m pretty sure everyone had to step back and realize how far the internet has come and where it may be going in the future. I really liked how I commented on the fact that President Obama had a better chance of winning because of his involvement on the internet. By doing this I think he connected with people my age and allowed us to see what he was all about. Its funny to me how social media pretty much relates to anything these days and can be used for almost any purpose as well. I learned these lessons in this class this semester and will continue to learn these things, I’m sure, as time goes on and I further my education. I think that this important distinction between my professionalism and subject matter was definitely influenced by this class and what we have learned. If not for this class my content may have continued being about nothing instead of blogging about interesting world events that make a difference.

I think the thing that surprised me most about this semester was how much I learned about blogging. Blogs don’t just have to be personal diaries for people who have nothing else better to do. They can, in fact, be very useful and full of interesting content that can help enlighten people about new world events or just provide an insightful thought about the subject. I surprised myself by coming up with interesting blog subjects that weren’t about me personally but about other worldy topics that were still interesting and fun to write about. Honestly, in the beginning of the semester I was worried that blogging would be boring because we had to stick to a certain criteria and blog about what the professor told us to blog about. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I had fun blogging and commenting on others work even without it being my own personal diary that I wrote about. I had a lot of fun this semester writing for this class and seeing what everyone else wrote and I hope that we can continue blogging and having fun while doing it but also posting interesting subject material that can be viewed by everyone and liked by everyone too.

 


One of the main requirements for this class was to write a weekly blog. Often we were requested to write a structured post and an open post. I mainly blogged about social media, specifically Twitter. If it was for my open post it would be my opinions on Twitter, my personal tweets or things I’ve learned from Twitter. If it was for my structured post I would blog about studies done involving Twitter. I’ve blogged about studies, infographics, and surprisingly politics. My writing has improved over this semester and it has affected not just my school life but my personal life too.

 

My writing has definitely improved over time and it’s mainly because I became more specific with my writing. I did this by learning how to insert links. In my first blog post “Testing, Testing 123 (Hope I’m doing this right!)” I wrote, “I created my own blog on blogger and wrote whatever came to my mind.” I should have linked to that specific blog in that sentence but I didn’t, I didn’t even think of it. When I began to insert links I just copied and pasted the URL into my post but eventually I learned how to link it to a specific word and have since gone back and fixed all of them. I used to find all of my information on Pinterest, in my blog post “Why Every Digital Humanist Should Own This Book” I wrote, “Then one day, on Pinterest where everything magical happens…” There is not a whole lot wrong with that except that it’s not effective to get all of your information from one source even if the information being contributed is from multiple people. Eventually I learned to search for other sources, and I learned how to work WordPress and I even blogged about things I never thought I would.

I do not like politics it is the last thing I want to talk about. But I surprised myself this year by actually blogging about it a few times. Honestly if it wasn’t for the election I probably wouldn’t have, but it was the first year I could vote and tis the season right? Of course it wouldn’t be a post of mine if it didn’t involve Twitter. My post #election2012 analyzed the connection between Twitter and the election. I noted “Tuesday evening I did not watch T.V I didn’t have to everything I wanted to know was being posted on Twitter. In I only found out Obama won because of Twitter.” Which is all completely true. My mindset was I don’t care about the speeches and the policies, I don’t want to watch CNN I just want to know who wins. With Twitter that was possible. If I was going to blog about the election I was going to blog about the social media side of things. I loved that this election was the most tweeted about subject in the history of Twitter. I loved all the memes that came out of it. I even found a study filled with inforgraphics on how Obama was reelected. The use of social media made this election bearable for me. Being able to write about it showed how much I’ve changed this year.

 

My writing this semester has grown from opinion based to research based. I’m so used to the easy way out, I didn’t mind writing the open posts, especially in the beginning when I was on Pinterest all the time and blogged about whatever DH thing I came across. I went from doing the bare minimum to actually digging for topics to write about. It effected my life beyond school because it made me see Twitter in a new light. For me it was always just a post whatever is on my mind sort of thing. Now I realize that Twitter is useful in many ways. Whether it is documenting trends, finding statistics, or stimulating conversation. I’ve used social media more for classes this year than personal life; I tweet for homework! Whenever people hear that I’m tweeting or using Facebook for school they become skeptical as to whether I’m actually learning or not. My mother definitely does not understand it. What people don’t realize is social media is useful for more things than just socializing. We use it to document life today. I never even thought blogging could be used for school until I came to Stout.

 

I would think that my writing goals for the future would be to get people to understand what digital humanities is and how we can use social media for more than just pleasure. Though, that may ruin it for a lot of people. This course taught me a lot of things including how to write for an audience. I’m pretty sure someone who wasn’t even in this class commented on my blog. I will definitely continue to blog in the future.


Over the course of this semester, my classmates and I have been posting on this blog, referring to the assignments given in our Critical Approach to Digital Humanities hybrid class. This was not my first time blogging for a class, but I still had/have much to learn about it. For my open posts I mainly chose memes, websites, and news articles that related to my knowledge of the Digital Humanities. My most important goal is to make a definition of what I think DH is, and this class has helped me get closer to reaching my goal by forcing to do my own research, but the blog helped me see what my classmates were discovering and I found that to be very helpful. Using the blog for class assignments was also helpful in improving my public writing and developing my voice.

A few of my beginning post were not very detailed and it resulted in comments that had questions asking me to further explain what my post is about. After “practicing” posting and reading other’s post, it became easier for me to see what type of information was necessary to have a blog post that was brief but still very clear about the reasoning and idea of the over all post. This open post from the beginning of the class is an example of somewhere that I really could have gotten into depth. Instead I just assumed that my audience would know where the image came from, what my thoughts were on it, and how it relates to DH. The image was simply from a Google search and I was drawn to it because I saw it as a visual definition what I think to be Digital Humanities. The photo is representing a classroom and the volume symbol is showing that it is virtual. I could have expanded even further by relating it our hybrid class that is participating on this very blog. Those that go to class and those who are online students never meet, but on the blog, it feels to me at least, that we are all the same. For example, I am just as likely to comment on an online students post, as I am to comment on someone’s post that I see in class. When learning is cybernetic, everyone is essentially equal and this reminds me of the open and sharing attitude of the Digital Humanities. Later on I started to find things that reminded me of DH and that also related to my life, like this post with a “Y U NO?” meme. It may not be my prettiest post, but when you read it, you know exactly why I chose that meme. In this post, I made myself vulnerable and shared tweets from my personal feed and account to help demonstrate what I was talking about. In both my open posts and directed post, I slowly built up my voice and also raked through my interests that relate to the Digital Humanities.

When scrolling through my blog posts, there really isn’t much sense of a theme besides the common subject of the Digital Humanities.  I am really still in the beginning staging of understanding the field, but I know that it is right for me because I find almost every part of it fascinating. The multitude of opportunities it has the potential of presenting me, gives me security for the future that I am comfortable with. What interest me the most are the projects that we recently studied; they are what I find to be the most important part of DH. I see social media being a part of DH as well, but I think that it kind of fits into the category because of the big data that it creates. DH has much more potential than just counting the amount of pictures on Facebook and weeding through all of the tweets about an event. Sure these are important aspects of DH and they help us learn about us as a society, but I feel that it almost “cheapens” if you will, the definition of Digital Humanities and it has not yet been set in stone. I see the networking to be an outlet for discoveries. Websites and blogs like ours that are collecting history and information is what drives the success of the field. Being an admin to this blog helped me work on my public writing, but it also helps clear my personal pathway to the definition of Digital Humanities.