Friday, December 4, 2009

Ideas for Intro

The first thing I will talk about is what I learned. I learned how to write in all sorts of electronic environments, many of which I had no prior knowledge of. From there, I think I should go into how much fun I had with everything. Creating these projects felt more like a fun activity and less like homework. From there I will describe what things I had to fix for my portfolio, why they needed to be fixed, and how I fixed them. I will add a thank you to the class, because peer reviewing was very helpful and it taught me a lot. I will outline my best piece of work, which I believe is my enthusiast blog. This is a rough outline of my intro, and I of course will expand on these subjects when I write the intro in full.

Ideas for Portfolio Theme

1. Discovering the electronic side of writing - The things I learned most in this class all revolved around learning new electronic environments. I had no idea how to create and work on things like Ning, Google Sites, Wikitravel, and even Blogger. In this class, I learned how to write in all sorts of new electronic environments, and what you need to do to make it appealing to your audience.

2. Writing in electronic environments is fun - It really is. I can honestly say I had a lot of fun writing and creating things in this class. I enjoyed working on my enthusiast blog, it was so much fun to write about one of my passions in any way I wanted. I can honestly say I had fun doing homework! It was fun to write stuff about my home town. That's why I like writing so much, it's fun, and shouldn't be tedious, and this is one of the main reasons I enjoyed this class.

3. Use of multimedia - Multimedia is something I never really knew how to use effectively when it came to writing and designing things. With this class, I have learned how to use multimedia effectively for writing and design purposes. I believe this is a great skill for all writers to have, especially in the age where everything is moving towards electronics.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2 Things I'd Revise

Here are the two projects that I think need the most revision for this portfolio.

1. Wikitravel - My wikitravel page content-wise was good, but there were numerous things that flew over my head that I missed and caused me to lose points. I just didn't follow the layout properly at times and put things where they didn't belong, and my tone was below par as well, mainly because I think I used this a way to somewhat vent about the problems in the town when I should have been focusing on the good. To rectify this, I will go back and fix the layout to adhere to proper standards. I will then fix my tone and make it sound more neutral and less cynical.

2. Social Networking - I know we haven't gotten this back yet, so it may be a bit early. I just think there will be things that we messed up on that need to be fixed, I just don't know what yet. Once I get a better idea, I will find ways to improve the site(s) both in a multimedia and informative sense, depending on which one needs the most work, if not both.

Kimball and Portfolios

Kimball made some great points about what makes for a good portfolio. The first is that a portfolio is used to show your best work. To do this, you need to revise and polish your work to prove it is the best you can do. The thing that stuck out to me the most was when he suggested that portfolios should follow a certain pattern. Being a portfolio is comprised of your best work, you want a good reflection of yourself in this portfolio. The design and structure of it should go along with the image of yourself you are trying to portray in your work. Also, it should follow a pattern of some kind. This would be work you had to fix the most, or what you had most fun doing, what you learned the most, etc. It was a very helpful article for this final portfolio.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Final Thoughts on Finished Social Network Project (3/3)

First, I'd like to say by finished I mean completed awaiting review. Overall though I think we did a great job on our project and we don't have to change that much. Everyone did their part and pulled their weight. We all easily agreed on what we should do for each component of the project. We all found great multimedia items for the site, such as youtube videos, music, and pictures relating to our topic. I really liked how fun and easy Ning is to use. Creating it was very similar to creating a facebook page. The blog portion is a great way to post developments, facts, and opinions on our topic, and the message boards are easy to use and a great way for people to get involved in the online community. Facebook causes was another thing I liked about the assignment. It was fun to see how people can come together and raise awareness, and even money, in one of the largest and most recognized social networking sites. Everything was easy to find and use on Ning, and Facebook causes was easy to use as well, for the most part. Overall our group worked together very well, and I think we completed a great social networking site for a cause.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ning Network: Facebook Causes (2/3)

For my group, I chose to create the Facebook Causes group. Upon completing the creation of the site, I have to say I was very underwhelmed with the interface. I didn't even know how to get to it from the main Facebook page, and the customization options are far worse than that found on Ning. However, I did like the fund raising option that facebook causes presents. Also, by having causes directly connected with facebook, it is possible to reach a larger audience. That is why I think getting Facebook causes going is essential to this project. By using the Facebook interface, we can reach a vast audience and hopefully persuade them to join our cause on Ning, so we can really have a true online community that supports our cause.

Thoughts on Ning Network (1/3)

My first thoughts about Ning is how it really is a great way to spread information about a cause. With a blog area, message boards, facebook-style personal profiles, and picture/video sections, this really is a great place to start social networking for a cause. To me, it seems like the ultimate information ecology. We can provide information to a large group of people, who can comment on it and add their insight, which we could possibly use to enhance our site. It is also a great place to interact with other people in your online community. Your personal page on the site is very similar to a facebook page, which can lead to fun and jovial interaction between members. I believe that with the recent boom of social networks, it is only a matter of time until this catches on and gets huge.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Discussion Forum Topics

Here are 3 topics I think would be appropriate for the discussion forum:

1.Work-at-home Scams
2. Nigerian E-mail Scam
3. Phishing (A type of credit card scam)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Topics I could write a blog post on related to scamming

These are 3 topics I think would make a good blog post relating to scamming:

1. Work at home scams (i.e. Twitter scams)
2. Tips for online scamming prevention
3. The top 1o online scams and how to avoid them

Friday, November 13, 2009

Initial thoughts on Ning

Ning seems like a great social networking tool. It has a very interesting premise, but I think it's one that can work. I like the idea that you can not only join, but also create, social networking sites geared towards your personal interests. I think it will be a great tool for helping construct a site and getting people involved. I would really like to use this site and really see what its about.

Thoughts on Boyd and Bennett

Boyd and Bennett brought up many good points in their respective articles. They had a lot in common when it came to how to use social networking tools for political action. In politics, it is important to find your audience to help resolve an issue, and you would usually need a lot of backing. Both articles stressed that with the advances in technology, the internet, and social networking, now would be a great time to take advantage of that. With social networking, it is easier to track down people with similar interests and makes communication much easier with the use of message boards and in-site messaging. They both stated that we should change with the times and start to use social networking to promote political causes.

Where they differ is that Bennett spoke about using social networking and the internet not only for politics, but for teaching as well. He suggested that we should stop educating students like they did in the age of our elders, and move to more advanced teaching. He believes that showing young people what can be achieved and the potential that can be reached with social networking and internet skills will result in more people getting involved in political and other practices. Both were great articles that taught me a lot about how social networking can be used, other than wasting time with my friends.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts on Social Networking

Before reading the article about social networking, I had a completely different opinion about what social networking was. I thought it was only things like facebook, myspace, and twitter. I had no idea that things like YouTube, Flikr, and Livejournal were social networking. However, after reading this piece, it made sense to me why these sites would be considered as such. You go on those sites and connect with other people. While it may not be the same set-up as a facebook or a myspace, you can still connect and chat with other people and post thoughts and feelings in an interactive environment. I was also surprised to see that social networking is not just an American fad. An example is when I checked out the site Hyves. Hyves looked very similar to myspace, but it was in another language. It showed that social networking is catching on all over the world. I also liked how they discussed the business end of it, and how money can be generated in the future. I like using social network systems myself, as it is a good way to stay in touch with friends. This showed that there is a lot more to social networking as well and it was very informative.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Causes I Would Raises Awareness For...

Here are 5 issues I'd like to raise awareness about:

1. Marijuana Legalization
2. Dogfighting
3. Date Rape
4. Autism
5. Police Brutality

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Final Reflection on Completed Proposal Memo

As a whole, this project was very fun and taught me a lot. I think part of the reason for our success was that everyone really pulled their weight and did what they said they would do to the best of their ability. We all got along really well, and shared similar ideas and suggestions that made this new site come out great. For my piece, I had to do the initial proposal memo. As I stated in my earlier post, the peer review showed I did a lot right for the memo, but I was still missing a few things, namely descriptions of specific design and rhetorical analysis terms. Having already had a professional tone that outlined all of the details about what we planned to do about the site and why, all I had to do to make the best it could be was add in those terms. So, I added in the terms where they applied in the memo, gave a brief explanation of what the term meant, and why it applied to what we doing. All in all, I now feel like the memo is the best it can be, and followed the guidelines for the assignment perfectly. I think as a whole, we have done a fantastic job redoing this site, and I think you'll be very pleased with what our group has done.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thoughts on peer review and revisions

If it wasn't for the peer review session today, I think things may not have gone as smoothly with this project. By seeing other classmates sites and reading the feedback they gave us, we realized that there were many things we could/needed to do for the site. We realized we could changed the background colors, and we should use more pictures to help pull the audience in. For me specifically, I got great insight into how to fix the proposal memo. Although I made it all professional sounding and structured it very well, I had forgotten to add key terms to the memo. I plan to go back and revise the memo to include those key terms and how they relate to how we fixed the site. It was definitely very beneficial to have an extensive peer review like this, because it allowed us to learn more about designing and redesigning a website, as well as what type of terminology to use in my proposal memo.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Reflections on Proposal Memo for URI Surf Club

I have written most of the proposal memo for the URI Surf Club site. By writing this, I have not only increased my knowledge of electronic environments, but also my writing style in general. By writing this memo, I have really gotten in touch with the rhetorical and critical analysis of a website, such as how to make it aesthetically pleasing and how to fix websites that are not easy to navigate and use. As for my writing, I used persuasive writing techniques to explain to the owners of the site what is wrong with it, why its wrong, and how it should be fixed. This knowledge has not only helped my writing style, but has also helped me with basic website design. I have learned how to rhetorically analyze how websites work best. I have also learned how to incorporate that into different forms of writing. This has been a fun and educational learning experience for me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thoughts on Google Sites

Google sites looks like it could be an efficient tool for creating and designing a website. It has some pretty in depth features, such as adding headers and attachments. It has a number of background layouts that you can choose as well. It has options for sidebar links to create a site map. For a site creator that is for non-professionals, it gives quite a bit of options. Since were not creating a professional site, we don't really need that kind of depth. Google sites should have enough tools to create an efficient site for any average person. The site itself is easy enough to navigate through, and it is easy to create pages and add things to them. It's really user-friendly and I would have no problem using it for creating a website.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Examples of Good/Bad Websites - This site is a good example. This is because for every story that is posted, there are pictures and links to related articles. It is organized very well, in a hierarchy format that puts a priority on breaking news from big names. It also has a section for videos, as well as a way to listen live to their radio show. - While they do have nice images and other things, there are a few flaws. Besides being organized by show, theres no real kind of organization. You may think you can find something in one area, then you realize you have to look in another. The pre-order section is completely out of date with no signs of repairs coming, links on the front page really have nothing to do with anything.

Thoughts on Palmquist

This was a very interesting article dealing with web design. There were a few things that stuck out to me. The first was how to use links properly. If someone is reading a story they really enjoy, it is a good idea to provide links that lead to more information about the story or maybe even similar topics. However, it is also important not to overdo it and clog your page up with too many links. The next thing I found to be important were the use of images. Not only can images enhance a web site is a visual way, but one of the things they suggested, which I liked, was to add a caption on the picture. What that entails is that if you hover over a picture with your mouse, a caption will pop up. This can be useful to not only use the picture, but also give your audience some more information or facts. The last thing, and what I found to be most important, was the organization of what you have on your site. There are a few different ways of organizing them, such as hierarchy (important stuff goes first). This is extremely important because no one will take your site seriously or find it useful if your site is unorganized or not organized properly. My overall thoughts of the article was that it was very useful. I found the use of charts and pictures to be very useful as well and it enhanced the point Palmquist was trying to make. You need to know this kind of stuff if you want to create and run a successful website.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wikitravel Draft

There are many places to eat in Branford, ranging from restaurant chain classics to exquisite fine dining. If you're looking for breakfast, Branford has five Dunkin Donuts conveniently located throughout the town. If your looking for something more, go to Scotty's. Their breakfast menu is unique and outstanding, and a great way to fill up after a long night on the town. For everything else, Branford has a wide array of eateries as well. If your on a budget and on the run, then Branford Hills is where you want to be. The close to half-mile stretch houses a Wendy's, Taco Bell, KFC, Burger King, Dominos, and McDonalds, making it to satisfy all of your fast food needs. If you're looking for a good ol' fashioned, mid-priced bar & grill, be sure to check out Eli's or Humphrey's for good burgers and fun. If you're looking to splurge on some fine dining be sure to check out La Luna, or especially the USS Chowder Pot III, which is home to some of the best seafood in New England.

There are numerous places to stay in Branford. While the town does not have any "high class" hotels, they do have some very accommodating chains. The best one being the Holiday Inn Express on Rt. 1. You can't miss it with it's dolphin fountain in front of the lobby. Beware of the places that look dingy, they most likely are. The Branford Motel is a haven for high schooler's parties and drug deals. Stay Away!

Buy a car or store something in storage units! Branford is known for it's sheer multitude of car dealerships and storage units. If neither of those appeal to you, then Branford also has a number of beaches to spend a lazy day in the sun. The water is grotesque, so I recommend not going in. There are numerous marinas in the town as well, so bring your boat for a fun day in the water. At night be sure to check out Regal Cinemas. With it's easy location right off the highway and showing all the hottest movies, the movie theater is a great way to spend a night out or find something to do on a lazy Sunday.

Wikitravel tips

1. Use of italics for emphasis
2. Use of inter-language links
3. Don't over-link

These three tips are what I found to be the most useful ones when it comes to Wikitravel. Use of italics stuck out to me. For my article, I know there will be certain things I'd like to focus or emphasize on, and I wouldn't know how to make those things easy to locate. Now, this helpful tip has let me know how to make certain things stick out. I think use of inter-language links is important because this is an international site. Anyone, anywhere can visit it, so naturally not all of them speak English. So, it would be helpful to them if there were links in another language. Or, if an international Wikitravel page had more detail on it than the English page, you could link it up to the English page (I'm sure you can translate it somehow). And finally it is important not to overlink because Wikitravel is made by people for people. When talking about travel, you want to describe things vividly and make it appealing. If you overlinked, I think it would read like a research paper, and no one likes those. So, I think those are three tips that would help anyone writing a Wikitravel entry.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What I'd Do on Wikitravel...

These are the three places I want to create or add to on Wikitravel:

1. Branford, CT - My hometown. I know everything about this town, inside and out. Wikitravel has nothing on it, so I'd be making it. I know where all the big things are and what they are, and I think I could make a really neat article for the town.

2. Bristol, CT - Next to nothing on it at Wikitravel. It is the hometown of ESPN, and there's no mention of it. There's also a need of a better description for Lake Compounce. So I'd do a lot of fixing for that page.

New Haven, CT - A pretty decent article already. The only things I think were missing were sections on nightlife and businesses, which is what I'd add.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wikitravel - My Initial Thoughts

My initial thoughts of Wikitravel are varied after my first look. It was really interesting to scan through a first time. It reminded me of a giant travel blog. To me, I think it could absolutely be useful when gathering information for a potential trip. It could definitely give you a good idea of what you will find interesting and how to get around, but I would definitely not use it as my only source. The same reason applies for why Wikipedia is not allowed for use on research papers. Since anyone can post on Wikitravel, how are you absolutely sure it's accurate? You don't want to get to a far away place and realize the things on Wikitravel aren't there in reality. So, while I absolutely think it's a good place to gather information to start to plan a trip, I would definitely do more research on the stuff you find, to make sure you don't screw yourself up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why I Should Have Influence...

People should listen to what I have to say about MMA because I know what I'm talking about. Simply put, there aren't many competent sports writers who fully understand and appreciate MMA yet. Being a fan of the sport for over 4 years and watching countless events presented by numerous organizations. I am well educated about the techniques and disciplines found in the sport, and have a great deal of knowledge and interest in the fighters as well. I know a wealth of reputable sites about MMA on the internet that I can base my posts around as well. My knowledge and understanding about the sport will shine in my blog.
People should trust me as a credible source because although I am a writer, I am also a fan. I wouldn't want to disrespect the sport by posting false information or be biased towards a certain fighter or organization. As, being trained as a journalist, I don't want to lose my journalistic integrity by not being truthful. This is why I should have influence in my blog.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Enthusiast Blog

I have chosen the topic for my blog: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). It is my favorite sport and I follow it religiously. It is specific enough because it is a specific sport, but its not too narrow because I can choose from a wide array of fighters and promotions (organizations) to write about in my blog. I would like to satisfy the stimuli of MMA fans and give them the information and insight they lack in mainstream sports companies (like ESPN).
That said, the audience I want to attract would be the MMA and combat sports fan. I think they would like to see an interesting MMA topic (ex: the newly announced headliner for the next fight card) posted, except with insight from a true fan and someone who knows almost everything there is to know about the sport. What I don't think they'd want to see is me half-assing this like many other online MMA publications do. What I mean by that is while some sites do provide new information about the sport, some of them are biased towards certain fighters and organizations, or post wild, unaccountable rumors. I would never do things like that.
I would try to write like a sports radio broadcaster talks. What I mean by that is give in-depth AND fair insight on a topic. Also, I'd inject my opinion if I feel it is applicable, or to get a few laughs. It will support my blog's focus because I don't think there are enough writers in the world who are as passionate about the sport as me, and I hope that my writing can one day help MMA get to the mainstream.

Potential Titles: MMA Madhouse, The Angry MMA Nerd, Cage Writing Fury (a take on the Cage Fighting Fury Championships organization)

Potential Post Ideas: Fedor fighting for Strikeforce, Randy Couture back to the light-heavyweight division, the rollercoaster career of Paulo Filho, the return of Ricardo Arona, Kimbo Slice on The Ultimate Fighter TV show

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ideas for My Clubhouse Blog

After looking through and thinking about my own interests, here are the ideas I have for my clubhouse blog:

1. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) - This is my favorite sport. I would make posts about news, upcoming fights and events surrounding the fighters and organizations of MMA, and give my take on them.

2. Heavy Metal - My favorite type of music. I would post news and information about my favorite bands and musicians in the genre and talk about what I feel about it, and I'd even posts some CD reviews if it were ok.

3. Anime - Anime is my guilty pleasure. I'd make posts about certain series and give my thoughts on them, and post and give my take on new series that would be released.

4. Freestyle Motocross - My 2nd favorite sport. I was thinking of doing things like talking about all the crazy new tricks and give my take on them as well as the riders who created them.

5. Bad Horror Movies - I was thinking of reviewing bad horror movies, not to show how bad they are, but base it on how funny they are because they fail so badly at being scary. I don't know why, but I like movies like that.

Response to Stefanac

Stefanac was a good piece to read. What it said made a lot of sense to me. He described enthusiast blogs very well and gave good examples, like car blogs. The biggest thing I took away from the piece was when he interviewed the main blogger from one of the popular car blogs. I like how he explained that most people do enthusiast blogs because they are passionate about something and want to share their passion with other people. I agree whole-heartedly with that sentiment because I find it is much easier and much more fun to write about a topic that I'm interested in rather than one I'm indifferent about. That being said, I also liked how he described how bloggers generally receive little to no money for blogging. Personally, I follow and enjoy a lot of clubhouse and/or enthusiast blogs, and I do like how passionately they talk about the subject. I share the many of the same sentiments that were described in this article, and I'm sure it will help me with my blogging.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Response to Rebecca Blood's "Weblogs: A History and Perspective

Rebecca Blood's essay about the history of blogging was an interesting read. It was interesting to know how few and far between internet web logs were ten years ago. Today, by comparison, anyone can start a blog about anything they please, which is something Blood also touched on in her piece. I liked how she explained what filter blogs were. Without even knowing it, I found out that I look at a few filter blogs every week. The key part of her piece to me was when she said that blogging can help a person become more intellectually sound. Being a journalism major, I consider myself a writer. From my perspective, I find it much easier to express my opinions, emotions, and critiques through writing rather than spoken word. I cannot agree more with her on these sentiments. When someone comments on my writings and critiques, I gain confidence not only in my writing, but my intellect as well, just as she suggested. Blogging is becoming more and more common with people writing about more and more things. I think it is a way of stimulation for the writer, and it can also be entertaining and even informative for the reader. I was happy to see that someone shares these sentiments with me.

I'd say I have some good experiences with blogging. As an author, I've never published a blog, but it's something I've always thought about doing seeing as it's a fun and creative way to express myself. As a reader, I have read and do frequent blogs on a regular basis. This is because of my interests in culture. I'm a fan of things like heavy metal music, anime (Japanese animated cartoons), and the sport of mixed martial arts. Much of the news that goes around involving these sports are what Rebecca Blood referred to as "filter news" in her piece. Much of the news about these things slips through mainstream sources, and are picked up by bloggers passionate about the topic. I find much of the news and information that I'm interested in about those topics from blogs. I find them to be a very resourceful tool.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What is Writing?

To me, writing is a way for people to express themselves the way they see fit. You can write for pleasure, to entertain or educate others, or simply to express how you're feeling. Writers are able to make words come alive in the minds of readers who are seeking to satisfy their needs, whatever those needs may be. Writers also may just be looking to explain their thoughts through words. Some, like myself, find it easier to explain my thoughts and emotions through writing rather than spoken word. My favorite writing environments are reading articles about my favorite music, sports, and shows. When I write, I like to be alone in my room or a comfortable space where I can write memiors of what's going on in my head.