Recently in Writing for the Internet Category
In the beginning of this semester, I never thought I would be able to create a website from scratch; however, for my final project in Writing for the Internet, I decided to create a website rather than an Interactive Fiction game.
Creating a website allowed for my creativity to come out not only with the layout and design of the site, but with what topic I wanted to create a site about. The ultimate goal of this project was to not make a website filled with content, but being able to put the knowledge I gained from class and the HTML books we used. With this project, I was able to work on the site outside of class and be able to have my friends perform usability tests to see how effective my layout and information was.
My website isn't to fancy because I feel that distracts the reader from the useful information I provide. My idea was to create a website
specifically designed for single fathers raising daughters. I wanted to appeal not only to the fathers, but to the daughters as well for they can gain some knowledge and insight of how difficult it is for a single father to raise a daughter. The information
provided would be from my own personal experience which would be more
beneficial than a psychologist's opinion on a situation they probably
While doing the alpha testing, I was able to get ideas from other classmates as well as get tips on how to do something to my own site. While my site right was in the process of becoming visually attractive with fonts and backgrounds and other images, I still needed to fix the headline color because during my beta release, many of my classmates told me that the pink color was to distracting and overwhelmingly bright. I asked a question on my alpha testing blog about whether or not I should include a page that describes my personal experience with this subject and they all agreed that including my personal experience with this sort of situation would show a "success" story.
My goals for the final release of my site were to:
- find a better background picture - used a family-like background of father and daughter holding hands
- finish the "Awkward Situations" page - this was hard to write, but I was able to come through
- create a biographical page - originally it was to be short, but I couldn't stop talking about myself
- change the color of the headlines - changed from a bright, obnoxious pink to a blue
- clean up long paragraphs - used bullets to cut up the information
- and to appeal to both fathers and daughters - I hope so
I have succeeded in achieving all my goals. The hardest part was creating the biographical page about myself. I don't think you realize how hard it is to write about yourself.
Without further ado, Dads Raising Daughters is complete.
Here are blog entries about my progress of the term project:
Term Project Idea
Progress after a couple days of work
And finally, my BETA release
Let me start off by saying that this is my last blogging portfolio of my college career. :(
This class has been incredibly helpful not only with my writing and communication skills, but with my technological skills as well. As I begin looking in the job market, I have noticed that there are many jobs in the writing field for technical writers that have experience with creating and rebuilding websites. This class has taught me many skills that would not only help me with technical writing, but with Public Relations writing as well.
I think that now I'm going into my last semester of college, I really take in what I have learned from my classes and reflect on them so I can see what I can take away and bring into the professional world.
The one skill I will walk away with from this class the most will be HTML. Not only was this fun because I was able to create my own site and appreciate and understand formats of websites, but this skill will help me get a job over someone who has no knowledge about HTML or websites.
Even though I disliked Interactive Fiction, this portion of the class was eye opening. IN PR, you are to write for the client and not for yourself. This is an example of that. With IF, you are to create an effective game. You need to predict what the player will do within your game, you want to make sure that you satisfy them by not giving them an incredibly easy game, but having a game that they will understand to the fullest without any lingering questions. With IF games comes usability testing. Like I stated earlier, you need to create an effective game and in order to make sure that the game is understandable, you need to incorporate usability testing.
Usability testing is where I learned a lot about HTML and writing for the internet. I was able to test users to see what was difficult to find on my site, what was confusing about my IF game, what they didn't like about only the layout of the overall site, but the colors, the fonts, and the way the text was organized. This skill will be used by me in the future. While writing a press release or anything, I want someone who knows nothing about the topic to read my writing and see what they didn't understand so that way I could build upon that and make it clearer. The basic idea of usability testing is to try to satisfy as many readers and users as possible.
Here is my progress of my Dads Raising Daughters website:
Beta Progress Report
My Final Rough Draft: Almost There
Sometimes, I am my own worst critic when it comes to my work
Term Project: My Initial Idea
Interaction with my classmates:
While doing the alpha testing, I was able to get ideas from other classmates as well as get tips on how to do something to my own site. While my site right now is becoming visually attractive with fonts and backgrounds and other images, I still need to fix the headline color because during my beta release, many of my classmates told me that the pink color was to distracting and overwhelmingly bright. I asked a question on my alpha testing blog about whether or not I should include a page that describes my personal experience with this subject.
Many classmates told me that I should and even proposed ideas that maybe I could get other women's experiences to put on the site that explain their experience with being raised by a daughter. I still have not created a biographical page about myself or about others who have experienced this in their lives. I have decided to just write about my own experience and not about others. Chelsea viewed my site during the alpha testing and explained to me via blog that she thinks that I should put my own story in my site because if a father came to the site, he would be able to see a success story so he knows that, 'Yes, this actually can work out'. This is the main idea for my final release of the site, to give single fathers some confidence and a relatable source and website to turn to for advice. I am slowly but surely working on this page. It’s harder than you think. With this website, I am trying to include helpful information to those fathers who are raising daughters alone.
With my personal experience, I feel that my advice is more helpful than a doctor's. I want to appeal to both the fathers and the daughters. Even though my sight is small and only 5 pages deep, I think I was able to include enough information. I still have some lingering questions before I can finally say my site is complete. I want to make sure that my site seems appealing to both the fathers and the daughters. Not only does the father need advice, but the daughter could read about another girl’s success story of growing up with a single father. I have also been confused as to what I should make the background. I wanted something subtle and friendly. As of now, my background is a picture of a father and daughter holding hands. I think that this picture works well with the theme of my site, but sometimes I think it is too forced.
As I look over my site, I noticed that some of my pages have long paragraphs. For my final release, I plan to make these into bulleted lists and clean up the overall format to make it sufficiently effective. I want to make the pages shorter so that the reader doesn’t have to scroll down my pages to finish reading my advice. Within the next couple of days, I will be cleaning up the site. I think that at this point, everything is pretty much done; I just need to fix some things up a bit.
So this is my final rough draft of my Dads Raising Daughters website. With this website, I tried to inlcude helpful information to those fathers who are raising daughters alone. With my personal experience, I feel that my advice is more helpful than a doctor's.
I want to appeal to both the fathers and the daughters. Even though my sight is small and only 5 pages deep, I think I was able to include enough information.
I have some questions.
Does my site seem appealing to both audiences?
Is the background distracting? Colors?
Does anything seem unnecessary or wordy?
Is the overall format ineffective?
I hope everyone else is having a great time with this term project and if anyone has any questions or needs a tester, email me. Thanks.
I am my own worst critic. No matter what I do to a website or for any other project, I will always have more criticism to give to myself than others do.
I am passionate about the subject that I'm working with so I will be able to criticize myself more than any other person because I have been through this experience and I know what I want to include on the site but nothing is ever good enough.
While doing the alpha testing, I was able to get ideas from other classmates as well as get tips on how to do something to my own site. While my site right now is very plain and boring, I received tips and feedback on "spicing" up my site with a different background that is family related or father/daughter related.
I asked a question on a previous blog on whether or not I should include a page that describes my personal experience with this subject. Many classmates told me that I should and even proposed ideas that maybe I could get other women's experiences to put on the site that explain their experience with being raised by a daughter.
While my information is good, I was told that I just need to make my site a little more interesting.
Here is what the site looks like now.
For my term project for EL236, I decided to do an informative website. My idea is to create a website specifically designed for single fathers raising daughters. I hope to include other information for other single parents, whether a mother or a father, on tips on how to raise a child. Some of the information provided would be from my own personal experience which would be more beneficial than a psychologist's opinion on a situation they probably never experienced.
There are approximately 13.6
million single parents in the United States today, and those parents
are responsible for raising 21.2 million children. Single
parents face many challenges when raising a child alone. For a single dad, raising a daughter can feel like competing in a
never-ending marathon with fifty-pound weights on your legs.
As a woman who
grew up only with her father from the age of 2 till I went off to college, I
looked towards my father for advice as both a father and a mother. Experiencing a father
raising a daughter first hand, I was able to see how hard it was for him to
play both the father and mother role. Having your parents divorced is already
very difficult to handle, but having only one parent, especially a father, is
an obstacle for both the parent and the daughter.
My website will include information on how to:
- Open lines of communication.
- Don't overprotect.
- Teach indenpendency.
- Don't do it alone.
- Being involved.
- And being up front and honest with awkward situations.
If you have any other suggestions or ideas that you think I should include in my site, please feel free to comment.
I also have a question for you:
Do you think it would be a good idea to include a page about my personal life living with a single father? I don't want the site to be based on me.
My progress so far is that I have being working on my homepage and additional pages with the stylesheet and such.
The most recent text we read in Writing of Fiction (EL236), Don't Make Me Think! by Steve Krug, seemed very similar to the previous text we read, Writing for the Web 3.0 by Crawford Kilian.
Krug explained to me that in a website, we need to eliminate the possibilites of questions, realize that the homepage is "waterfront property", usability testing is absolutely necessary in order to have a great site, and don't ask for unnecessary personal information from your users. Krug's book talked a lot about interaction and in our class we were able to use this knowledge and actually see it in action by creating our own usability tests and websites. As a user of the internet, I learned through this text about all aspects of the web like creating sites, usability testing and the do's and dont's of the internet. For the book being published 8 years ago, the ideas and tips are standard and universal as well as extremely helpful with Krug's short sentences, examples, and graphics.
This third portfolio displays my work and thoughts throughout these past couple weeks of the class. We learned about hypertext readings, interactive fiction games, learned about usability testing from Krug and we were able to create inform 7 games in groups and individually.
Coverage: Entries that include a direct quote from the assigned reading, that identify the source of the quote, and that links back to the course web page devoted to that reading.
Krug and there's no place like home
Krug's Waterfront Property
My experience with the IF game Slouching Towards Bedlam
Usability testing with Krug
Timeliness: Entries that were posted on time (24 hours before class).
Wikipedia Articles (Softball, SHU and SVC)
The policies and pillars of Wikipedia
Moral responsibility and Wiki?
I'm allowed to lie on the web
Interaction: Entries that demonstrate my ability to interact with peers.
Getting our feet wet. Comment on Jackie's blog.
Wikipedia Comparisons with Shellie
Depth: Links to an entry on my blog that shows my ability to write in depth.
I don't want to have questions
IF games and my true feelings
Discussion: Links to a page on a classmate's blog where I left a significant comment that was part of a fruitful discussion.
My interactive fiction blog received some love.
Anne and Krug's Last Stand
On the Pennsbury page, I added a little section about the softball team. I was apart of the 2005 PIAA AAAA State Championship team. This athletic program has won more state titles than any other sport at the school. I then added more information about the district area. I added very detailed information. Within an hour, Alphageekpa, another contributor to this Wikipedia entry deleted my contribution:
Pennsbury is located in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, along
the great bend of the Delaware River, lies Bucks County. In the extreme
southeastern corner of Bucks County lie the four political subdivisions
whose jointure for school purposes led to the formation of the
Pennsbury School District. Yardley Borough is a typical small Bucks
County municipality that has retained much of its early American charm
and beauty. Lower Makefield Township is a predominately suburban
residential area. The site of the major early expansion in the district
was Falls Township. The Keystone Industrial Port Complex, all of the
homes in Fairless Hills, and some of the homes in Levittown
are in this township. The last of the four sections that make up the
district is Tullytown Borough. This small borough was part of the Penn
Manor Tract in the early 1700's.
I thought that this information was helpful to those about what boroughs and townships attend this high school; however, Alphageekpa didn't delete my information about softball. (I put this information back up on the page just to see if Alphageekpa would undo it again.)
My second Wikipedia edit was on my family's hometown in Italy, Ercolano. On this page, I added more geographical information about the town that my father and aunt helped me with.
It lies at the western foot of Mount Vesuvius, on the Gulf of Naples,
just southeast of the city of Naples. The medieval town of Resina was
built on the lava stream left by the eruption of Vesuvius (ad 79) that
destroyed the ancient city of Herculaneum, from which the present name
is derived. Ercolano is a resort and the starting point for excursions
to the excavations of Herculaneum and for the ascent of Vesuvius by
bus. The town also manufactures leather goods, buttons, glass, and the
wine known as Lacrima Christi (Tears of Christ).
So far, no one has decided to undo my contribution. If someone decides that what I added isn't important or relevant and deletes it, I will let you know.
I think professors and high school teachers shouldn't try avoiding Wikipedia. If anything doing an activity like this will prove to the students and their teachers how easy it is to change and edit information on Wikipedia. An activitiy like this will help emphasize the difference between what is a reliable source and what is an unreliable source. I am not saying that Wikipedia is completey unreliable, I am just saying that it is easy to change the information given.
One of my previous articles about Wikipedia really emphasizes my feelings and views of this encyclopeida.
I, of course, looked at the article about softball being that I am a softball player here at SHU. Go Griffins!
Caution: You are not currently logged in. Editing this way will cause your IP address to be recorded publicly in this page's edit history. If you create an account, you can conceal your IP address and be provided with many other benefits. Messages sent to your IP can be viewed on your talk page.
What is better? Creating an account or editing without an account and have then record my IP address?
The page informed me that the page is 54 kilobytes long. Scrolling a little further down, I see a large text box that includes source codes, text and CSS codes that we were introduced to earlier in the semester.
I clicked on the discussion tab and was shown that "Softball was a good article nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these are addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake."
In the good article criteria, it explains that it must be well-written, factually accurate and verifiable, broad, neutral, stable, and illustrated. (A softball is not white but lime-green.) So this article is satisfactory.
The history tab showed me the most recent edits to this particular article. The last one was October 29, 2008 at 6:58. This page describes the edit the user did to the article at the time. Quite interesting.
When comparing the Wikipedia entries for SHU and SVC, I noticed that SVC had more information than SHU. SVC included history and traditions while SHU had the basic information. Both entries were richly-linked to information that a person wouldn't know if they didn't attend the institution. Seton Hill's article talks a little about the athletic programs while Saint Vincent has no reference to their athletics at all. Saint Vincent's entry also includes tuition costs, number of undergraduates and graduates, and faculty. Seton Hill's entry doesn't include any of that information.
Both entries were last edited in 2007.With this information, it is understandable why SHU's entry lacks some needed information.
Wikipedia strives to build a consensus and explains that it is not a democracy and the governance can be inconsistent. Sounds like the USA government.
The policies and guidelines clearly explain that a user who acts against the spirit of our written policies may be reprimanded, even if technically no rule has been violated.
Contributors come from many different countries and cultures and have different views, we must treat others with respect to effectively build an encyclopedia. Articles contributed should be neutral and represent views fairly, proportionately and without bias. it seems as if contributors decide to overlook this policy and believe slandering people through Wikipedia is okay. Well, it's not.
I don't like how they state that you don't need to read any Wikipedia policies before contributing. i think that all users should click on an agreement before having the chance to better the encyclopedia.
In the five pillars, they explain that Wikipedia is not the place to insert personal opinions, experiences, or arguments. This is because Wikipedia has a neutral point of view in which they strive for articles that advocate no single point of view. Even though anyone can edit, anything you write can we edited and redistributed by the community.
They shouldn't even have a code of conduct because it seems that no one reads and abides by it. They state that they have no firm rules besides the pillars, but whatever you write will be preserved for posterity and to be bold with edits and contributions to the articles.
I think the Wiki creators need to rethink their policies and pillars.
By Andrew Orlowski
"So we come to the question of responsibility. We've promised to deal with the ethics of Wikipedia before, and it's no longer possible to ignore the elephant in the room, so we must."
Wikipedia is a phenomenal source of pop culture trivia it seems like with the amount of "trolls" lurking among the articles and biographies. "The blame goes here, the blame goes there- the blame goes anywhere, except Wikipedia itself."
I'm not trying to side with Wiki, but the blame should go to the ignorant people in the world who have nothing else to do with their lives but destroy others. Maybe instead of destroying other peoples lives, you should build your own damn life.Okay, sorry. I got a little heated. Yes, Wikipedia should be constantly monitoring and editing pages, but they shouldn't have to worry about rude idiots editing and contributing to articles. Maybe I'm being a little too optimistic about the citizens of the world.
I feel Wikipedia has been responsible so far and able to catch some false information, but Wiki relies on the word of the world and it seems as if they trust the people of the world way too much.
By Lisa Spiro
"Just because more researchers-including some prominent ones-are citing Wikipedia does not mean it's necessarily a valid source for academic papers. However, you can begin to see academic norms shifting as more scholars find useful information in Wikipedia and begin to cite it" (Spiro).
Scholary documents achieve trustworthiness through a social process to assure readers that the source they cited in their paper or journal satisfies the quality norms of the field. This is a sign that the academic norms are changing in some disciplines and are turning to Wikipedia for useful and trustworthy information.
In my personal experience, many of my professors have told my classes to stay away from Wikipedia because it is to unreliable. Spiro examines these four criticisms of Wikipedia.
1) Research papers and projects should'nt rely on encyclopedias. This is not the kind of thing you want to reference in an academic paper. Many enccylopedias are constantly changing so the information provided could either be old or invalid.
2) Wikipedia is constantly going through revisions. This is similar to the first one. Wiki is too unstable to cite. What you read today may be gone tomorrow or even in a few minutes.
3) You can't trust Wiki because anyone is able to contribute.
4) These entries lack authority because of the lack of peer review.
Wikipedia can be appropriate in an academic source depending on what is being cited and for what purpose. Wikipedia is instructive for its readers because of its openness. Spiro explains that "Wikipedia can be a legitamate source for student research papers- and furnish a way to teach research skills." If readers use critical judgment in analyzing its reliability and appropriateness for citation, then there should be no shame in citing it.
I know I have turned to Wikipedia to look up helpful information on the subject I am writing about. I won't necessarily cite the information gained from Wiki, but I will use it in a way that I am helping my scholarly research. If you know what I mean.
What is a very bad idea that usability professors call?
ASKING FOR TOO MUCH INFORMATION.
There are two different kinds of usability disasters, as Krug put its. There is the boss asking users for more information than what they really need and having more pizazz on the site.
It seems today that no matter what site you enter, they are always asking your for information or even just asking you to take a survey. How much personal information do the companies need? And are they using this information solely for them or are they selling it?
What once used to be a quick task has become a project. I wanted to subscribe to a Phillies newsletter and was bombarded with questions pertaining to my personal information.
Krug explains there are three downsides to companies asking for more information than what they know what to do with. (I also agree with these as well.)
When I see a site that is asking me for way too much information, I will lie to the site just so I can get what I want. Krug says that "as soon as people realize you're asking for more information than you need, they feel complety justified in lying to you" (182). So in turn, the companies get false information. In a way they sort of deserve. I'm allowed to lie to you then.
Also, the less data sites ask for, the more submissions the company will receive. People just don't have the time to fill out long forms.
And by asking users for too much information makes you not only look bad, but also needy I think. I look at it like if they are asking me for all of this information the company is either doing bad or they just don't know what they are doing.
Basically, when creating a site that requires users to fill out some personal information limit it to their name and e-mail address considering that is the most basic form of communication today.
"...successful Web pages are usually a delicate balance, and it's important to keep in mind that even a minor change can have a major impact. Sometimes the real challenge isn't fixing the problems you find - it's fixing them without breaking the parts that already work" (Krug 158).
When we ask people to test our websites, we should be aware that some problems that might find and have with the site may be harder to fix than we think. Let's say person X says that the page on subject Y doesn't make sense it is harder to navigate through and read. Well Y maybe connected to Z and to change Y would mean that we would have to redesign both pages.
"Whenever you're making changes, think carefully about what else is going to be affected. In particular, when you're making something more prominent than it was, consider what else might end up being de-emphasized as a result" (Krug 158).
When we decide to make changes in our papers, our IF games, our blog entries, our life, we consider what else may be affected as well. We must do this with our websites and especially with our writing for the web.
In order to have a great site, we have to test. Krug explains that usability testing is like have friends visiting from out of town. You make the tourist rounds with them, you see things about your home town that you usually don't notice because you're so used to them. You realizee that a lot of things that you take for granted aren't obvious to everybody.
No matter how many people you test, if they are the targeted audience or not, this user will always point out things you can do to improve your site because as the designer, you will oversee a link, a color, a font, a picture, etc that should either have more emphasis or be removed.
TEST, TEST, TEST!
In the beginning of Slouching Towards Bedlam the gamer is given a variety of choices. The gamer can chose to examine a desk blotter, a sandlewood box, a desk drawer, a phonograph with the sounds of a man, or a black box on wheels. It seems that there is a particular procedure that one must follow in the game. You have to "get your bearings". Then one has to investigate the situation and the surroundings and then you must act upon the situation at hand.
When I came upon the phonograph, I pictured the tin cylinders as storage rather than "games". I didn't get that far into the game even though I played it for about an hour. I was able to examine the office, the lobby, some archives and rooms from the Panopticon.
In Cleve's archives, it explains that he has small burns on palms and inner forearms that should heal quickly. He is 23 and earlier in the game is suspected that he was a little crazy. Apparently, he was arrested for disturbing the peace. The doctors diagnosed him with disassociative disorder, acute schizophrenia with paranoid tendencies yet didn't seem harmful to himself or others.
That is as far as I could get in an hour. It took me forever to find out information about Cleve. I'm assuming that he will refuse to talk for the rest of his life. From what I understood from the game, Cleve is paranoid about something. Maybe he is paranoid about the future and time and how he is stuck in time. I don't know. I wish I could've gotten further in the game then what I did.
To go along with what Jackie wrote, the creator/author of this game did a wonderful job blending suspense, literature, time travel, and science-fiction into a game. I personally didn't enjoy this game as much as I thought I was because everyone in class said they enjoyed it; however, I don't really like IF games to begin with so I think I dislike every game I play.
"The result is that designers want to build sites that look great, and developers want to build sites with interesting, original, elegant features" (Krug 126).
The internet is in a continuous battle between art and commerce. The hype culture, as Krug explains, is focused on making promises no matter what they are in order to gain capital, users, partners, and revenue-generating deals to the site. This then lands all on the shoulders of the designers and the programmers to find a happy medium. Krug's chapter 8 basically describes the conflicts between web designers which is a great transition into the discussion, as well as our discussion in class, of usability testing. This will be incredibly helpful in our usability testing that is due the 27th.
We need to convey the big picture on the homepage so that the main subject/topic of the site is clearly stated. Krug explains that "the
Home page is the waterfront property of the Web: It's the most
desirable real estate, and there's very limited supply. Everybody who
has a stake in the site wants a promo or a link to their section...and
the turf battles for Home page visibility can be fierce." (97)
A typical user will normally scroll/scan down the page until they find an interesting link, this link should be relevant to the idea of the sites focus. If something is unclear to the user, it might be possible that the user will misinterpret something and/or get frustrated.
Basically, it is as easy as this: "Don't get me wrong: Everything else is important. You do need to impress me, entice me, direct me, and expose me to your deals" (Krug 99). But in order to accomplish all of these, we need to create a clear homepage to get the message across whether it is through a welcome blurb or a tagline, the idea needs to be AVAILABLE.
It is safe to assume that users don't mind a lot of clicking as long as they believe they are on the right track to their final destination. Users want to make "mindless choices" that end up being the right choices in the end. If a website is fairy easy to get around and is simple and basic, these "mindless choices" won't have to be so "mindless".
We need to make sure that our sites are easy to get around, simple and some what basic so our visitors can maneuver around; however, we need to make sure that our pages around overwhelmed with text. Krug explains that we need to get "rid of all those words that no one is going to read" because the "extra words suggest that you may actually need to read them to understand what's going on, which often makes pages seem more daunting than they actually are" (43).
By reducing our word count by half, we eliminate the noise level of the page, allows for the useful content more prominent, and makes the pages shorter. No one wants to scroll down a page; that is way to much work to do. (hahaha)
Krug wants to "kill" two things: happy talk and instructions.
The happy talk is small talk that basically is just a way to be sociable yet takes up way too much space on the page. This type of writing is just a way to fill up a page to fool readers, well not really, into thinking this is a reliable and trustworthy site.
Instructions are also on the "to kill" list. No one reads instructions, we all know that. I never read any instructions because I like to figure it out on my own. If you are to put instructions on a site make sure that they are self-explanatory or as close to it as possible.
In chapter 6, Krug emphasizes the idea of having a home button in sight. "Having a home button," Krug says, "in sight at all times offers reassurance that no matter how lost I may get, I can always start over, like pressing a Reset button or using a 'Get out of jail free' card" (66).
This is another way to help omit instructions. If you are to have a home page link on every page on your site, instructions would be useless.
"I should be able to 'get it'- what it is and how to use it- without expending any effort thinking about it" (Krug 11).
This is exactly what we did Friday when we critiqued our peers' websites. We gaver our opinions on whether the site was easy or if we understood the topic without using to much effort thinking about it. We need to be aware that a person of average (or even below average) ability and experience will visit our sites. As website creators, we need to make sure that something works not just okay or good, but WELL so that our visitors will not get frustrated.
"If something requires a large investment of time-or looks like it will- it's less likely to be used" (Krug 6).
Don't we do this when we have to read a book whether it's instructional, like this one, or for academia. The book is 300 or more pages and we dread reading it. Reading this book will require a huge amount of time. We will most likely store it in a book shelf or in a desk and forget about. We want to make sure we do this with our sites. Like some of our peers' websites, some included lengthy paragraphs. These long paragraphs are most likely not going to be read because that means the reader will have to invest time. That is why we are told to use bulleted lists that contain the most helpful and useful information.
"When you're creating a site, your job is to get rid of the question marks" (Krug 13).
Keep the site self-evident so that the pages are effective.
Like Kilian explained, we don't read pages; we scan them. As website visitors, we are normally in a hurry and we don't want to read EVERYTHING. This is the basic mindset of a web surfer. So we need to address these needs.
A main idea that is examined in both Krug and Kilian's books is the idea of visual hierarchy.
We must make sure that the most important items are higher on the page. This will help the reader understand the main topic or idea of the site.
Krug explains that we need to make it obvious what's clickable (37). This was an issue on the site that Jackie and I created. Many of our peers said that the pictures linking back to the homepage wasn't obvious. So we made sure that we fixed that problem. We don't want visitors questioning our site.
As part of our assignment, both Jackie and I have explored Interactive Fiction (IF) in depth.
Here is our website we created:
Jackie and Denamarie's Interactive Fiction Website
So as a child I never played video games. I wasn't one to sit in front of a TV for endless hours. I was the child that was constantly outside playing football with the boys. So not only are video games unfamiliar to me, IF games are worse. I just don't like playing video games. But as an assignment, I forced myself to play these games. I thought these games were hard. I don't know if it was because I didn't understand the concepts or if I just couldn't properly tell the game what to do.
So I first played, Lost Pig. I must say that this was a favorite of mine mainly because it was easier than the other ones. It seemed like an appropriate introduction to the world of Interactive Fiction games. I never caught the pig, but it was fun trying to find it. I loved the southern type of language Grunk had; it was cute.
I then tried Ecdysis. This game was easier to play because ot the links that limited my input in the game. This game seemed like hypertext fiction. I got to the end of the "game" just by clicking on the links.
- (Do gamers always have to create such gruesome games?)
The Tales of the Traveling Swordsman was a little more interesting than the previous two. I liked the story of the pendant. The imagery in the story was great. For example it says:
"On a worn path...
Your journey brings you north, through acres of grassland, into a sparsley wooded area, along a narrow stream for a short ways, and eventually across an overgrown path. It meanders forward, so you follow it for awhile. The path begins to show signs of recent use, and it widens some. It turns briefly, angles through outcroppings of rock, and soon runs straight eastward, like a channel between decrepit fences to the north and south."
Galatea seemed like a conversation with a woman than a game.It was hard afte awhile to think of questions to ask. Every question I put in would say that they didn't understand. But besides that, this game is a great example on how to interact withe the game in the form of dialogue rather than saying commands like walk west.
Finally, Photopia. This game frustrated me. I just didn't like this game at all. I felt like all I was doing was examining items and objects. This seemed like to much of a story to be a game. How did I go from two guys running through a red light to the red planet? WEIRD! I feel like this game was scattered.I thought this was funny:
>go to the bathroom>Nothing like that seems to be around.
So basically, IF games and me don't really get along.
Our main text throughout this part of our internet education has been Writing for the Web 3.0 by Crawford Kilian. This book was a good read. Even though some subjects were a review, other sections were helpful. Kilian’s book reminded me of first semester, freshman year in Dr. Jerz’s News Writing class with the style guides, the overview of active and passive verbs, the eliminating of excess words, etc.
Writing for the Web 3.0 was easy to read with Kilian’s professionally yet friendly writing style. This is the first time I’m actually writing for the internet; well, if you count my blog then I have been doing it since 2005. So, you can classify me as a newbie. With the help of this book, the repetition, the easy tips, and the exercises not only brought me to a starter level, it helped me understand the significance of publishing certain material on the web. There are too many books that explain rules and ignore exercises to help the readers practice what you preached. people explain the rules of grammar without giving you practice exercising those rules. I thought there were decent amounts, yet, I would like to see more used in a technology format, considering, we are writing for the web. Kilian is publishing a newer version of this book; I know this because he has been in contact with Dr. Jerz. I have some suggestions that might help him. The main idea about his book was the overall simplicity of the text. He put the technological lingo into lists and tips that were easy for us “newbies” to understand. Another think I enjoyed was the repetition within the book. He would refer to an idea he wrote three chapters back.
For the most part, I really can’t think of anything that I would change. I know grammar rules, punctuation and other writing ideas were expressed and I thought were basic, but for a new reader, like freshmen in college, who hardly knows any of these grammatical and punctuation rules, they will be helpful. I think this was an effective book. The explanations were thorough and in depth and the language was professional yet informal, a great way to grab the reader’s attention.
Blogs on Kilian's book:
Follow the Pattern is an entry where I talk about reading patterns of web surfers.
A Gladiatorial Fight with Rubber Crutches is a blog about editing with some style guide tips.
When in doubt, just ask Kilian...or Andy Lonigro is a blog entry about the rules to writing for the internet.
No More Than 2 an entry on corporate websites and how many people should be working on them.
A Little Bit of Everything - the different types of blogs.
Part One of Electronic Literature
Time for an Investigation - part two of Electronic Literature
It's All About the Feet is an entry about The Body
By: Denamarie To: Kilian - Kilian Critique
Follow the Pattern
Is it an election or an auction?
A Little Bit of Everything
Can I Persuade You?
Wow, that was annoying is a blog about the hypertext The Heist
Andy's Blender Blog
Jackie's Consumer Power blog
The University of the Yellow Wallpaper
Time for an Investigation is a blog that looks deeper into the hypertext Cruising.
An in depth blog about The Body, mainly about her views on her feet.
Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen is a blog about my close reading of Cruising.
Chelsea's Not a girl - Not yet a woman was relatively close to my ideas on Jackson's The Body
Aristotle's conception of plot explains that there is a beginning, middle, and an end. Aristotle concludes that "a well-constructed Plot, therefore, cannot either begin or end at any point one likes; beginning and end in it must be of the forms just described." He believes to say something is beautiful, whether animate or inanimate, they must not only present a certain order but also be of a certain magnitude. Hypertext breaks this idea of order and structure because it tests the ideas of a fixed sequence, a definite beginning and ending, a story's definite magnitude and the conception of unity or wholeness.
A book or story should not have a set of directions, but with hypertext stories there maybe some instructions. Ingrid Ankerson and Megan Sapnar provide instructions for their hypertext story Cruising. : To hear the sound, turn on the computer's speakers or plug in headphones. Move the cursor up and down to control the size of the piece, left and right to control the scrolling speed of the text and images. This goes against all of Aristotle's ideas of plot. Even though the story may be recited in order, the text is in order as well as the pictures, the idea of unity or wholeness is tempted with the struggle to coincide the sound, the text and the images.
Cruising requires the reader to learn how to “drive” the text because it is flash based poem with the help of cinematic effects. When the text on the screen and the spoken words are made to coincide, the rush of the image sequence is reduced to a slow ongoing loop of still frames. The viewer moves between reading text and experiencing a filmic flow of images — but cannot exactly have both at the same time. This idea was strategically thought of by the authors so they could manipulate the readers to highlight the materiality of text, film, and interface separately. Every detail used in this story has a way of grabbing the reader's attention and bringing them in. Through the use of words, images, and sound, people are captured.
writes,” the night rolling in Mary Jo's father's station wagon like movie
credits." They cruised through town all night trying to discover something
that would bring electricity into their lives. They would end up in parking
lots where they would all "really get to know each other." The small
town atmosphere used within this 2 minute recitation elucidates the idea that
they were able to "get to know each other" while spending idle nights
doing nothing but talking of their dreams they hoped to fulfill after leaving
this small town. Ankerson describes how there "were hundreds of us tracing
the edge of the small town of
racing up and down
flash poem seems to be a flash to the past, where a woman relives the days of
carelessness and love of friends and life. The story ends with the phrase,
"we couldn't yet take to the world." I read this as they weren't
ready to live in the real world and that the realization that once they leave
this small town, they will never get it back. The tracing of the small town of
This story reminds me of Baz Luhrman's Everybody's Free.
This poem on the go is an oral recitation of a teenager's favorite pastime in Wisconsin. Cruising is a flash based poem with cinematic elements marked by a flow of images accompanied with the text. As I wrote in my other blog, the idea of the text is for the reader to interact with the text. One must first struggle with controlling the speed and the direction of the narrative before closely examining this work.
Cruising is a personal poem about her life in a small town in Wisconsin. As I listened to the recitation again, I could hear the passion in the narrator's voice. After hearing the story again, I turned off the sound and just let the text flow on the screen at a decent speed where I could read word for word. By doing this, I really got to know the text by examining the rhetoric. I then just watched the images fly across my laptop screen where black and white images of a car, a subway train, a girl applying lipstick and a movie theater sign represent the young girl's small town. The images and text seem so stereotypical of a small town girl. This reminds me Journey's song, Don't Stop Believing.They are just small town girls, living in a lonely world who took a station wagon going anywhere. They feel they are lonely, but they have each other, and that is all you really need in this huge world.
The title Cruising is significant because the verb cruise means to travel about without a particular purpose or destination. They girls in the car were enjoying life, spending time with one another, being teenagers in a small town in Mary Jo's father's station wagon. They weren't in a rush to grow up, they just wanted what every teenager wants, love. They hoped that as they drove, or cruised, aimlessly in their small town where they never every crack and bump they would find it. The funny thing is that it is right in front of them, they just can't see it. Love is their friends, their small town, their family, the late nights cruising in town. Don't we all want love?
Have you ever spent a night cruising around town hoping to find something or someone, a change of something so ordinary? I know I have. I have been one of those girls in the back of a car, starring out the window dreaming of life and love and wondering where they are.
Cruising was my favorite electronic text. Not only is it text creatively arranged with pictures, it is also an oral recitation of a teenager's favorite pastime in small town Wisconsin. The idea of the text is for the reader to interact with the text. One must first struggle with controlling the speed, the direction of the narrative. It was invigorating to see when the text kept up with the sound, the images appear that coincide with the story. One can move from reading the text, to watching the images, to hearing the young woman recite her story. I love this story because it sounds like something I would have written.
The Cape was another story I read. Even though there were very few words, the images were appealing. They were different views, geographical images of Cape Cod. There were eight images to click on and each image had up to 5 sentences. As you moved your mouse over the image, a quick sentence summarized what the page was about.
1- My grandmother Carpenter lived on Cape Cod.
2- We only ever went to visit her once.
3- These events happened a long time ago.
4- My Uncle did not know how to talk to a kid.
5- We practiced whistling behind the glacial erratic.
6- Sounds carry, especially in the winter.
7- What a boring story. I never learned to whistle.
8- If I had a photograph I would insert it here.
The author prepares us from the beginning saying don't believe everything you read. The interesting thing about this story is that you could start at any image and the story would still make sense.
I, You, We was an odd but very original. As a reader, we are inside of some sort of enclosed space where we can rotate around and never return to the same point. The reader makes up their own story by clicking, dragging or just waiting for the screen to move where you see the pronouns I, you and we along with verbs. With every move you get a format of either I VERB You VERB We VERB or any order of I, you or we. You make up a sort of story by doing this. There is only one pronoun of I so you could assume the basis of the story is of the reader, the I.
The Dreamlife of Letters - Cool. Surprisingly, I didn't have to click anything this time. The poem was in a video from. It is more of a presentation than an interaction. The movement of the letters was very unpredictable and it kept me interested. You just have to see for yourself.
Body image is a very touchy subject when it comes to women of all ages. Everyone desires to have the perfect body, but no one accepts the body they have now. In Shelley Jackson's "The Body," she accepts her body, even if she has flaws, through her discovering her own body. She doesn't compare her body to the models and actresses that teenage girls are so often told to emulate. Our bodies are unique. It should be kept that way. Jackson's overall purpose for this story is to prove to the audience that image shouldn't matter. How you carry yourself and your self-confidence is what will make you attractive.
So reading about her body features, I was struck by the link about her feet.
"Feet are alien, like a hoof or a wing. They are more like tools or furniture than like flesh, they are so sturdy and well-crafted and so serviceable. Maybe they are a little too far away from the heart to befriend, though at one time I could put my big toe in my mouth, and I aspire to do it again, though without much hope."
Jackson doesn't refer to her feet as another body part, but she looks to her feet as a tool, well-crafted and serviceable. Without our feet, we wouldn't be able to walk. Well, okay, if we had our arms, we could technically walk with our hands, but anyway. She writes, "My strong feelings about feet have lessened in intensity as I have put distance between myself and them." I think this line is brilliant. She is telling us through this one sentence, that as she aged, she also grew in height allowing for her to be further away from her feet that she depends on to walk. She explained earlier that feet are alien, they are more like tools than flesh. Can't we look at our arms, legs, mouth, and eyes as tools as well?
A side note:
When she writes about her feet nestling one another under sheets, I was like OH MY GOD! I do that every night. It is the only way that I can fall asleep.
"My feet rub each other under the covers at night or while I'm reading, sliding sensuously on each other. The ball of the big toe screws into the arch of the other foot, the toes fraternize, side slides by side. The pace steps up when I'm excited, the foot cranking around the ankle joint in slow circles, toes spreading and then squeezing together: a whole waltz under the covers, very comforting and secret and like company, like two small dachshunds rolling on each other."
Okay back to the close reading.
Jackson talks about how she has hairy feet and how a girlfriend was opposed to all body hair. Even with her girlfriends comments, she still looked at her feet as cute. The way she flashbacks to her childhood on most of her body parts, really emphasizes the idea that through the years, she has grown to accept her body more and more.
"I have a few glinting hairs on the tops of my feet and a
little tuft on each toe. When I was nine I read that hobbits had hairy
feet and went around barefoot, and that was enough to persuade me that
hairy feet were good. Much later a girlfriend firmly opposed to almost
all kinds of body hair persuaded me to try shaving my feet, but stubble
on my toes seemed so ludicrous that I gave it up forthwith. Besides, I
still felt that my hairy toes were cute."
Jackson had a willingness of being open that may help other women having constant body image problems know and understand that everyone's body is imperfect, and that's the beauty of a body. The author was not always happy with the her figure, but as she embraced her body, she embraced a new level of self-confidence that every woman wants.
Disorientated, confused, annoying, and stupid are a few adjectives that describe my feelings about this hypertext story, The University of the Yellow Wallpaper. Why do people make these types of stories? Don't they realize that readers aren't going to sit at a computer screen and click on every link and read every word?
Okay, so now that I got my feelings out of the way, I will look a little closer at this dreadful reading. Throughout the story, the author makes several references to her childhood. She also includes an image of a child there is an image of a child from the waist
up. where she explains through one of her links that it is "not a realistic representation, a related copy, an
idea such as we might get from figurative painting; it is a scene made
up by blocks of meaning, at once varied, repeated, and discontinuous".
It seems that she is not very confident in herself for she explains that she " will have become the post-graduate, who by sheer
terror, boredom, anger, frustration, melancholy, or witty intelligence,
decided to terminate my indefinite subscription to higher learning; I
will opt to drop out
of the University of Yellow Wallpaper, owing to the fact that the
voices have strongly suggested I cease listening to the anterior
voices, who whisper, "you are an infantile wish fulfillment..." She describes voices telling her to give up. Who are these voices? Is she crazy? Is The University of the Yellow Wallpaper an insane asylum. She indicates that the university is on the hills near an insane asylum, but never says that she is admitted into it.
Her professor told her class about the idea of "existential 'nothingness,' as simply to be and
not to be, expressing the fact that nonbeing is an inseparable part of
being, grasping what it means to exist, I need to grasp the fact that I might not exist, that I tread at every moment on the sharp edge of possible annihilation and can never escape the fact that death will arrive at some unknown moment in the future (but I always knew this)!" She seems very gloomy and depressed.
As I clicked along with the text, I came across a passage that goes a little in detail about her childhood and how she has felt.
"...you used to say to me that I am a great young girl, and though you
left me here to perish, though you put beneath my feet a great howling
pit of emptiness, the words that lie at the bottom of my soul leap
forth and they light the shadows below me; I am the one who was lost in
the crowd, whom the fizzing lights made dizzy, a subaltern who saw
everything about her reduced to absurdity, for if I were truly a great
young girl the specters would cease bellowing; I was a young child with
a body and soul, I had a heart that was not protected by a steel vault,
and when I had moments of ecstasy I would sing with burning sparks"
The young girl, or woman, however old she may be, is very unforgiving of her parent(s) actions when she was little. She was empty. She was a young girl with a body, soul, and emotions whose heart was unprotected by her parent(s).
Us as a reader you get an inside glimpse of her childhood.The young woman seemed as if she didn't want her mother to leave because she knew that she was being sent away to The University of Yellow Wallpaper, where one can only assume, is most likely some sort of psychiatric ward where she could recover. But what causes her to become psychotic? Was it her family, the voices in her head that she still hear? To me, it seems that her childhood is what caused her to be so disoriented and confused.
As Maddie writes, "White displays in this excerpt the age old dilemma of a child facing the great troubles of adulthood and the adult that still wished the inner child time to play. The continuing sentences, though correct, reflect both the continuity of time as well as the child-like desire to pour something out that either excites or sorrows in one mad long rush."
Don't we all feel like that? We wish to stay young forever and avoid the trials and tribulations that adulthood has awaiting for us. I know I do. =]
"The Heist" by Walter Sorrells was a sight for sore eyes.
Not knowing to expect from this novel, I opened the site and saw links. I clicked on one of those links that brought me to a page with more links, and those links brought me to another page of even more links. Ughh... never again will I read a hypertext novel in my life.
I didn't know where to begin. Should I read the first page first then go back to the links? Should I read it and click on the links as I get to them and so on and so on with the other pages filled with links?
Well, I read the first page in its entirety and I felt bombarded with links. This hypertext novel reminded me of my elementary school days when the class went to the library and I ran over to the section that had the choose-your-own-ending story.
On every page, there was another story waiting to be read by me. By following some of the links, it made my concentration of the novel as a whole incredibly hard. All I want to know is what happened at the end of the overall story. While I was taking in the information from the other links, I forgot what I just read earlier. I feel like there were too many different sub-plots in this novel.
Conclusion: This hypertext novel is a complete overload of information and sub-plots. I felt like I was trying to catch a frog but he kept jumping to different locations.
My feelings: I hated it.
"Yet manipulating readers by appealing to their fears and insecurities is deeply disrespectful. If you're attempting to persuade your readers, it should be on the basis of appeals to their intelligence and maturity."
-Writing for the Web 3.0
Three Elements of Persuasion:
1- Logical Argument
Stating a proposition of some kind with supporting reasons.
2- Emotional Appeal
Invoking ideas and images that stir our readers' feelings, we can gain attention that logical argument alone may not achieve. You may find that facts, not loaded language, can inspired emotions in the readers.
Using the readers' language and registers they are comfortable with can strongly enhance your credibility. Make sure to demonstrate a shared interest between you and your readers and convey sincerity through your tone and evident desire to help readers view your site.
Kilian says to make sure you write in the language your readers will understand; however, I sometimes visit a site that I don't really understand what they are saying. It is hard to make sure that anyone that comes to your site will understand you completely. The vistiors that will come the most will either know about you or your ideas and will repeatedly come back for more. But for those visitors that came to the site on a whim, they may become lost in the language that is normal to the regulars of the site.
It's all about the blog. So basically there are 5 different types of blogs: personal, job, specialist, news, and advocacy. Well, our Seton Hill blog can fit under any of these categories. We can blog about personal ideas, we do it for a job (college counts as a full-time job), we have become specialist in the field of writing for the internet (well, we are getting there), we have blogged about news events such as the smiley or Palin's e-mail hacker, and we do advocate ideas through our words (whether or not teachers should have Facebook).
In section 6.3, Kilian explained that "bloggers usually welcome comments, but this function has hazards. Some comments may be abusive or even defamatory. Others can be 'comment spam,' planted to attract your visitors to pornography or gambling sites." Well I haven't had anyone direct to porn or gambling sites that I know of, but this semester I had "MS", a teacher, write an comment on my blog arguing my idea of this new text language. Dr. Jerz then stepped in and replied back to "MS" on my blog and later created a whole new blog about this topic going in depth. I later wrote an essay type blog on this topic, again.
So as for comments, they can be good or bad, but all in all, they are a form of expression.
The section on Personal Sites for Self-Marketing wasn't new to me. I have actually gone to internship interviews where they searched my name on Google and found my blog. During the interview, they asked me about it. I was blown away that they actually read my entries. My point is, that come later in life, when you're looking for a job, some employers might look at your blog and read your writing that could land you a great writing job either for them in print or on their website.
"Most of the problem with corporate websites is poor structure: visitors receive inadequate orientation, so they can't navigate to the information they want."
-Writing for the Web 3.0
Like Kilian explained earlier in this book, its all about the structure of the site and the text. If I go to a website and I'm confused as to where to go, I will leave the site and will most likely never return. Then again, "even when the site design is good, the quality of the writing may make the information unusable and the desired action unappealing to most readers." So basically, if the site is impossible to navigate and the writing is poor, the corporation may suffer from a decrease of customers.
In Kevin's blog, he wrote that "the corporate heads, the web writers, and even the readers all have a
part to promote a product or service. As web writers Killian states that
we must keep our ego offstage and engage the reader on terms of
equality. If the reading thinks that he/she is being jived, then that
company will undoubtedly lose a customer." If there are more than two people working on a corporate website, the competition to be the best writer on the site will probably allow for this "ego writing" to come through even when the site isn't their own personal site, but one that is trying to sell a product or service.
- Writing for the Web 3.0
It's not surprising the the noun editor was used for fights because nowadays, as writers, we are all suspicious of editors. Kilian said that we can be our own editors which is hard for me to do because what looks right to me because it's my writing style is wrong to someone else reading my work for the first time.
For me, I can only edit my work on paper. Kilian stated that "you simply cannot trust your own proofreading abilities unless you proofread from paper. Not only is computer-screen text hard to read, it's hard to proofread as well." The longer I try to catch errors in my writing on a computer screen, the less accurate my editing will be because the monitor makes my eyes tired.
Kilian explained to us that "a writer lives inside your head, and so does an editor. They don't always get along. Your inner writer is having a great time being creative and showing off his vocabulary; your inner editor is watching over the writer's shoulder and tearing her hair out."
That is exactly how I feel. As I'm writing I think that my writing is flawless and perfect, but as I edit my own work, I sometimes take a step back and ask myself did I really just write a fragment and then a run-on sentence. It is very aggravating reviewing your own work because you never want to think you can write well and sometimes editing your own creative pieces or academic essays, you question your writing ability.
Okay, so Andy basically has it down to a science with his 10 webtext-ments. Thank you, Andy, for your very descriptive and helpful blog.
Not only are these rules that we should use when writing on the internet, but most of them could be used for other academic writing too. These rules aren't anything we haven't heard before, but the way Kilian uses examples and defending her rules really allows for us to soak in all this information. Daniella felt like she just "read a high school/basic composition grammar review."
I think we all are always a little worried with using passive and active verbs. But when we are writing on the internet, we always want to make sure that we are putting all the attention on the action, not the actors because that is what readers want. We should use active sentences when we are writing on our personal blogs, etc because then the reader always knows who is doing what.
So here is what else I learned:
Cliches are bad. Don't use them because they are so ordinary and lazy.
Use strong verbs. You want your readers to be blown away with your clear and concise writing skills.
Use proper grammar. Well duh, that is obvious.
Make sure you use clear antecedents, otherwise your reader won't know who he or she is.
That's pretty much what I got out of this reading.
Jacob Nielson found that readers of websites use "an F-shaped reading pattern: visitors would start at the top left, scan straight across, return to the left, drop down, and scan to the right again. Then they'd return to the left side of the page, going straight down."
- Writing for the Web 3.0
I never realized how I read a website until I read this idea that Jacob Nielsen researched. Try it. Go to a new website and see how you react to it, how do you read the page? I definitely read the page in an F-shape. Interesting.
What else is interesting that Eyetrack III observed was that
larger type encouraged scanning;
smaller type encouraged careful reading.
Readers also paid attention to blurbs, which later Kilian explained was defined as a sexy cover art, if they were on the same line as the headline. Blurbs were only read if they were short and the first two words grabbed the attention of the reader. You know when you log on to Facebook, the news feed, well, I think of them as blurbs and I only really look at the "blurbs" that either sound funny or interesting or if they look intriguing. Don't you?
In section 2.2, they took a look at hook, links, and blurbs. While reading this section I thought to myself, "Don't we do this when we compile our blogging portfolios?"
We do. We compile our blogs into an entry, write a hook for a reader to actually open the blogging portfolio, we include many links to our blogs and comments on other blogs and at the same time, we write blurbs about the blog entries that will catch the eye of the readers.
So, in a way, I thought the information in this chapter wasn't anything new, it just reiterated what we have already been doing and what we already know.
"Is it an election or an auction," said former State Senator Allen Kukovich today at lecture.
With all the mudslinging going on between the democratic and republican parties, it seems that the concern is more about negative campaign ads against the opposing party rather than the issues on hand. The Senator explained the only way to combat with the election at hand, especially with the name-calling, is for individuals to fully participate, that means voting, in the election. "Whenever you don't participate, you give even more power to those who already have it," Kukovich said. We all need to vote this year especially when our economy is in jeopardy.
Kukovich stated that many don't even pay attention to the election until 3 weeks before voting begins. They then become engaged, involved and enthusiastic about the election when they hardly know anything about the candidates.
Senator Kukovich stated that since May, 100,000 new voters have registered. I am registered to vote and since early June, I have been paying close attention, or at least I'm trying, to the election. (GO OBAMA!)
An issue Allen went in depth about was our economy which is in jeopardy due to the lack of regulation by the government with lending and CEOs of huge corporations. He explained that we have to rely on manufacturing, where our people are make the items and supplies, instead of sending them overseas. This related a little to my Senior Seminar class where my group and I are working on a critical issue that is part of the election: USA Intervention and Priorities. We are arguing that as a country, we need to worry about our problems first before we go help out other countries. It may sound selfish, but it's true.
So it's that time again to compile our blogging portfolio. It's amazing that we completed the first third of the semester and it's only been four weeks.
Within these four short weeks, I have learned, as well as my classmates how to correctly write professional e-mails, how to create a website with the help of HTML, and we also reviewed articles about social networks and professionalism.
As a class, we have expressed our opinions about social networks, formal and informal e-mails, web shorthand, emoticons and the use of this new technical language in school work.
It's been a windy and bumpy road trying to figure out HTML, but the long was short-lived and was guided with the help of my classmates.
This blog entry is a compiled list that demonstrates my accomplishments so far in Writing for the Internet.
"Hit-and-run information retrieval is what most of us do when we surf the Web. We visit a site, see if anything looks interesting, click around, get our jolt (or fail to get it), and go on to another site."
When do you think we do this type of information retrieval? When we browse Facebook and see an advertisement or article on the side that we want to read more about?
I know that I do this every day especially when I'm logging into my Yahoo! e-mail account and I see an article headline that catches my attention. I read it, then become bored with it and leave it and continue on with what I previously was doing. This chunking retrieval is usually articles that have material broken up into segments of not more than 100 words visible on the monitor. I find myself doing this chunking whenever I am procrastinating from doing homework.
"Sometimes readers surf online for very detailed information...readers who want to scrutinize them can download them to their hard drives and then print them out in whatever format they prefer."
This type of retrieval I do whenever I'm researching for a paper, project or presentation. A lot of these scrolling documents needed to be downloaded as a PDF where I then will read through part of the document that I need for my work. I never read these types of files or articles on my computer; they are too long to read on the screen and it involves a lot of scrolling that becomes annoying after a while.
Whenever I come to a new site, I've always noticed that the homepage of the site gives me background information and the formating of the site, a paragraphy normally explaining the intention of the site and what the site hopes the readers gets out of it. Sometimes the background information is too detailed which then takes away from the rest of the site.
These past two chapters have been very helpful with great ideas and information for how to write and what exactly to do with the format of our writing when putting it on the internet.
"The unspoken message in the standard model is, 'Do what I say.' In the interactive models, the unspoken message is, "Is this what you want?'"
Let's see if you are standard or interactive.
Take the quiz.
1) Do you want to know the right answers?
2) Do you want to know the right questions?
If you answered yes to 1, you are standard. If you answered yes to 2, you are interactive.
1) Do you learn more from failures and mistakes?
2) Do you learn more from success?
If you answered yes to 1, you are interactive. If you answered yes to 2, you are standard.
1)Do you look towards the future?
2) Do you demand immediate results?
If you answered yes to 1, you are standard. If you answered yes to 2, you are interactive.
So did you answer yes more to the standard culture or the interactive culture?
I was mixture.
I want to know what the right answers are because I probably already have the questions. STANDARD
I learn more from failures and mistakes.
And I look to the future a lot. I mean, I am a dreamer.
Who are you more like? Do you agree with the results? Why or why not?
"Standard culture adherents wait for someone to give order; interactives decide what to do and then do it."
I thought that I was one that decided what to do, when to do it and how to do it. But then again, I do wait sometimes for an order to be given before I start anything. When writing a website, we should be write in between both the standard culture and the interactive culture so that the website will attract both audiences.
You're probably wondering what online lingua franca is and you're probably wondering why I'm referring to it. Well, online lingua franca is English adapted for the spitfire conversational style of Internet instant messaging. This spitfire style is taking over the academic world.
In Jennifer Lee's article, "I Think, Therefore IM," she interviewed Jesse Shedidlower, the North American editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, who explained that "there is no official English language. Language is spread not because not anyone dictates any one thing to happen. The decisions are made by the language and the people who use the language.'' The teenage society today has pushed the boundaries of spoken language, introducing words that adults find hard to adapt to. I find it bewildering that this sort of text language is being implemented into actual school work. It is with the help of the new emerging technology that gives rise to the tweens' new social lingo
For many teachers and professors, they believe the real issue is carelessness as explained in the article, "IM Shortcuts Popping Up in the Real World". As I wrote in my blog about how the informal style of electronic messages are showing up in school work, I explained that I personally have never used emoticons, text shortcuts or omitted
proper grammar and punctuation in my schoolwork, but outside of essays
and other schoolwork, I find myself using this new form of
Within that blog, I received a comment from MS arguing "that as an English teacher, all that I have to say is that these IM's and
text messages are destroying the English language faster than anything
else... This abomination of our language is not cute, hip or expressive; it is dangerous." that sparked an idea in my Professor's, Dr. Jerz, mind to elaborate more about this topic on his own blog. Dr. Jerz clarified that he knows "many student
writers who can text with winged thumbs, and also turn out well-written
research papers on literary theory."
He has yet meet a student who can't expand this online lingua franca into complete sentence. "For every accidental "ur" (a popular IM abbreviation for "your"), I see at least as many examples of "per say" (a mondegreen for "per se") and "should of" (a similar mishearing of "should have"), and all manner of similar mistakes ("That story was bias" for "That story was biased") that have nothing to do with text messaging, and a lot to do with the fact that tweens and teens live in a largely oral culture,"Jerz said.
A senior classmate, Andrew Lonigro, explained in his blog that in his experience and his understanding of the evolution and history of language, generation by generation there are changes that take place. Andrew used the example that "when looking at the transition from Old English to Middle English to Early Modern English and so on, there are constantly new rules and new jargin that change and evolve the language."This phenomenon that is taking place with new online language is a result of the search for the quickest and most convenient way to communicate to others. The English language is changing once again in correspondence with society's changes, especially with technology.
In Tamar Lewin's "Informal Style of Electronic Messages is Showing Up in Schoolwork, Study Finds," she finds that "as e-mail messages, text messages and social network postings become nearly ubiquitous in the lives of teenagers, the informality of electronic communications is seeping into their schoolwork." Nearly 300 students that were surveyed said their e-communication style sometimes bled into school assignments.
Karissa Kilgore and Jay Pugh, SHU graduates, did a presentation in my Literary Criticism class two years ago where they argued that IM chat and text messaging wasa new form of writing and language. Karissa wrote on her blog, "With its pervasiveness, IM language is becoming a genre all its own. It has conventions like any other, and develops as the technology does. Although many find IM language to be a lack of form, the reality of the language is that the lack of 'form' creates the newer version of form."
I couldn't agree with her more. Any type of writing is real writing even if it is improper. They are still expressing their views, ideas and thoughts just with using shortcuts and other forms of the new English language to express it in a quicker manner. They just need to learn how to revise the shortcuts before handing in an academic paper.
So I created my own homepage by myself with HTML. It's amazing seeing all these codes and style sheets merging together and making a page.
It's not to elaborate but it's my first time creating my own website.
So, just check it out.
"...the way to write well is to produce a bad first draft and then toil through many revisions, editing it and refining it to bring it ever closer to supposed Platonic ideal. If you believe in this (as I used to) and if you apply it to the topic of smileys, you arrive at the conclusion that smiley users are lazy writers who could get along just fine without smileys if only they took the trouble to revise and edit their work a little bit, to make the meaning clearer."
- Smiley's People
Okay, Neal, tell me how you really feel.
WOW! He was really ranting in this piece and mocking every one who has ever used the smiley emoticon. I understand that he retracts what he said, but his original piece really was cruel. He truly believed that "the online world has its own cliches and truisms, none so haggard as the belief that reliable written communication is impossible without frequent use of emotions." I don't remember seeing in Scott's article him saying that without the use of emoticons, the written form of communication will deteriorate.
Also in his original piece he explained that "the internet is, therefore, still very much a college town and shares much the same ambience as Cambridge, Iowa City or Berkeley: a dysfunctional blend of liquored-up freshmen and polymorphously perverse deconstructionists." Okay, so then he was tearing apart college students, especially freshmen. Really, what the hell was wrong with him when he wrote this. I don't see any harm of the use of the smiley.
He denounced smileys and the people who use them on the internet. From my viewpoint, the only time I ever use a smiley or see one use is when someone is INFORMALLY talking to someone through text messages, e-mail, AIM, Facebook, MySpace, etc. When people are communicating online to one another, they aren't going to write a novel to them. They want to convey their ideas, thoughts, and feelings as quickly as possible.
I think Neal was beginning to think that smileys were going to be used in essays, articles, newspapers, TV, etc. The use of the smiley, well at least for me, is to help express a certain emotion quickly.
I appreciate that Neal finally understands the concept of the smiley. =)
"After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone. Various 'joke-markers' were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence :-) would be an elegant solution..."
- Smiley: 25 Years Old and Never Looked Happier!
First of all I would just like to thank Scott Fahlman personally for creating the smiley because I use it ALL the time. It really does help with text conversation.
It seems like Scott and his colleagues had a hard time expressing their tone or body language through text as do we. But now we have the help of the smiley to use for text conversation. I have come across conversations online with someone who I assumed was telling a real-life story and believed them. I replied to the story saying he should send in a video tape in to Funniest Videos. The person was all sorts of confused as they wrote back, "Dena, what are you talking about? IT WAS A JOKE. My goldfish didn't really jump out of the tank and back in." I think if the person would have used LOL or HAHA, or a smiley then I would have understood it was a joke.
For example, if someone was to write you in a text or e-mail, etc.
you're so dumb
you would take them seriously and think they really did just call you dumb,
but if someone wrote this
you're so dumb :)
you wouldn't take it so seriously and you would understand they are joking kidding (JK).
I would also agree with Scott in the matter that "Microsoft and AOL now intercept these character strings and turn them into little pictures. Personally, I think this destroys the whimsical element of the original." I agree with him 100%. I think the way the smiley is used with just the symbols is a lot better than a picture.
It is crazy to think that "many people have denounced the very idea of the smiley face, pointing out that good writers should have no need to explicitly label their humorous comments." I disagree with the point that the smiley isn't being used into true literary forms or journals, but that it is used informally between friends and family.
Plus, every one could use a little smile in their day. :-)
At the beginning of every academic year, as a new crop of college
students started playing around with their network accounts, Usenet
old-timers complained that the communities they had nurtured and
maintained according to the rules of netiquette
were invaded by clueless newbies who (like me) trampled the flowerbeds,
tracked mud into the front parlor, didn't clear our plates when we were
finished eating, laughed at all the wrong times, and didn't laugh at
the right times. We didn't know when to post a smiley, when to attribute a quotation, and when to STFU.
-Clueless Usenet Newbie
I thoroughly enjoyed this blog by this mysterious character whom I still can't seem to figure out...NOT!
Like Kevin says on his blog, "When one introduces something that has been private for a while people tend to enter it is mass numbers. In those mass numbers, it is hard to weed out the psychos from the sane, the intellectuals from the conspiracy theorist."
I completely understand why the old-timers would have become upset when a younger generation came to the understanding of Usenet and completely blew it out of proportion. It is shocking to think that a one time in Dr. Jerz's life he was once clueless to the internet but more so with Usenet. He broke into the well-maintained and proper Usenet community and went against all rules of netiquette because he was a clueless newbie. I think it is hilarious that there a type of etiquette one must have on the internet. I mean there are boundaries one must be aware of and make sure they voice their opinions in a certain manner, but netiquette? For real?
But isn't this true for all of us even if it isn't related to the internet or computers? We were all once clueless newbies to something and made mistakes that the old-timers would ridicule us and hate us.
As I was saying about newcomers, its like Facebook when it first started at as a college social network then when the high school students were allowed to join, the whole thing went down the toilet. Now Facebook, to me, sucks.
Well I guess that's just life. Everyone is a newcomer at points in their lives then everyone becomes an old-timer bitching at all the stupid kids. HAHAHAHA.
Okay, so I was finally getting the hang of this whole website thing. I got up to page like 33, viewed the website and it was all messed up. But 3 pages before that i viewed it and it was fine. I looked over ALL the codes and they looked fine, so I tried it again, and it was still messed up. So I viewed the codes again, looked fine and still no good.
During class, Dr. Jerz pointed out to me that I forgot a closing quotation and that I added an extra line space that would allow the computer to get confused and mess up (even though I'm the one who messed up).
Now, I'm off to finish this postcard site.
Finally finished the website.
What a load of my shoulders. As I look back on this whole process, it wasn't impossible or even hard, just frustrating at times when things weren't showing up correctly or if I missed a closing quotation mark.
I feel very proud of myself for completing this. I like to think of myself as a user of the internet and websites rather than a website developer. Now I can say I created a website from scratch with the help of the lovely HTML.
I'm excited to start creating my own website which I know will be hard trying to figure out how I want the layout to look like and actually knowing what codes and commands to use.
Okay, so I begin reading Castro and I am able to understand and do the instructions given with the first six pages then it goes all down hill.
I read through the thirty pages understanding what and how HE is doing it, but for me to do it is another thing.
I am having difficulty finishing this assignment. Maybe in class tomorrow, Dr. Jerz and throughly go through each step so when we have other assignments within this book, myself, along with the rest of the class will understand.
"Do the risque pages matter if teacher performance is not hindered and if students, parents and school officials don't see them? At what point are these young teachers judged by the standards for public officials?"
-When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web
I do believe that you must keep your professional life and work life separate. Like Chelsea said in her blog, "I know that if my name is on something I'm making sure that if anyone
that wouldn't normally stop by my site doesn't think that I'm just
another 'stupid teenager'." I think that if you are a teacher, you should grow up and not have a Facebook or MySpace account. At this time of your life, you should be past that stage, you're a professional educating the young minds of America.
I know realize that many of the teachers they interviewed were in their 20s but they are behaving, for the most part, like young adults like nothing they post on the internet will hurt them in the future. Well guess what? It does. It is amazing that many are clueless to the fact that their principals and superintendents can find ways around the internet and find their pages. Hello!!!! The internet is not safe.
All teachers, no matter what their age, are and should be judged by the public officials standards immediately following their acceptance to the job.
We all need to understand that nothing on the internet is private and if you are going to have an account on a social website make sure all your "friends" on that network are your closest friends and to keep it private.
This is my first experience with the term troll until now. I was completely blown away about the story of Megan Meier and how a simple troll could destroy such a young girl's life. The fact that a mother of one of Megan’s former friends created a fictional male character whom Megan later fell for is unthinkable, but reality. To know there is a growing Internet subculture filled with a fluid morality and disdain for online users is unreal.
"Drew later said she hoped to find out whether Megan was gossiping about her daughter."
It is horrible to read that people, in this case a mother, use the Internet to torment other individuals for laughs and giggles. I think it is people like these so called trolls that create problems in our world today, not just on the internet.
The internet is such a powerful world and a sort of luxury, why would people want to intentionally disrupt online communities with lies and deceit?
Trolls exploit insecurities to obtain drama and laughs and they do whatever it takes to achieve this. It is with this article, that I have become a little uneasy about the internet, security and what information I put out there on the web. I'm kind of freaked out. Aren't you?
"If you want to appear professional and courteous, make yourself available to your online correspondents. Even if your reply is, "Sorry, I'm too busy to help you now," at least your correspondent won't be waiting in vain for your reply."
- Writing Effective E-Mail: Top 10 Tips
"...the e-mail administrator has the
ability to read any and all e-mail messages (and may fire you if you
write anything inappropriate)."
-Writing Effective E-mail: Top Ten Tips
Just because you have a username and password combination doesn't mean that your e-mail is safe. There are people out there in the world that have the power to hack into any personal e-mail or website and expose personal and private information. My boyfriend has a work e-mail specifically for professional reasons and a seperate e-mail for personal items. His job has the authority to check his work e-mail at any given time to make sure he is not doing anything illegal or harmful to the company. I would advise anyone who has a work e-mail to keep that for the professional world and another for their personal life.
-Informal Style of Electronic Messages is Showing Up in Schoolwork, Study Finds
When I began reading this article, it made me think of a presentation Karissa Kilgore and Jay Pugh did in our Literary Criticism class where they argued that IM chat and text messaging is a new form of writing and language.
As Karissa wrote on her blog, "With its pervasiveness, IM language is becoming a genre all its own. It has conventions like any other, and develops as the technology does. Although many find IM language to be a lack of form, the reality of the language is that the lack of 'form' creates the newer version of form."
As the English language evolves, writing in this new form will slowly be accepted. Within the first paragraph of the article, Lewin explains how this new language has blended into school. I, personally, have never used emoticons, text shortcuts or omitted proper grammar and puncuation in my schoolwork, but outside of essays and other schoolwork, I find myself using this new form of communication frequently.
Any type of writing is real writing even if it is improper. They are still expressing their views, ideas and thoughts just with using shortcuts and other forms of the new English language to express it in a quicker manner.
I can't wait to see what the English language will look and sound like in the year 2025.
I guess I will just have to wait and see.
"Maybe it's no surprise, given how empowering it can be to have one's own thoughts transported instantly across the globe."
-Freedom of speech redefined by blogs
The power of the 1st amendment allows for all the right to freedom of speech as the right to hold opinions without interference. With the help of weblogs, social networks, e-mail, and other forms of communication, we, the people are able to freely write about our opinions and thoughts. In the article it explains that a fellow Seton Hill graduate was harassed by football players after they read his blog about why Seton Hill shouldn't have a football team and how a Duquesne student was disciplined after posting remarks about gays on facebook. So basically, you can write whatever you want, just be aware of the repercussions that may follow.
Having my words transported instantly across the globe is kind of overwhelming knowing that anyone is able to view my blog and comment as well. That is why when I write on my academic blog, I know who my audience is and try to use that in my writing.