March 17, 2007

A blog is a blog is a blog--I'll never leave you

Three worlds will collide next week in one familiar, yet alien place: New York City. My past, present and future...dun dun DUN!

I will travel to the Conference on College Composition and Communication with Karissa and Mike and Dr. Jerz (I don't think I'll ever call him Dennis).

This moment, I am preparing for our panel on next Friday.

My leg of the panel is "Blog Desertion: Questions of Prestige, Privacy and Personal Growth." I'm currently finishing up my interviews and piecing it all together. (Thank you, Karissa, for all of your helpful links!)

I think my favorite part of this project has been interviewing my blogging peers/friends about their blogs. Their reasons for blog abandonment are diverse and surprising. I'm surprised I haven't left my blog behind for many of their viable reasons... :-) In fact, the entire interviewing process has made me think about why I have kept a blog so long and why I do not intend to leave it any time soon. So here are my reasons why I have not left my blog behind:

1. Wherever I go, I will always have a tie to family and friends through the umbilical nature of a blog.
2. If I can't stand Ann Coulter in an interview, I can always rant.
3. My links are here. There's only so many websites Firefox's tabs can hold and I need more of them.
4. Though I've graduated and sometimes feel like an oldie around here, my Seton Hill blog is where I started blogging. I'm really starting to dig the wave of my archive listings on the left side of my blog. I don't want to give up blogging. I like writing for an audience, even when I'm not paid for it.
5. When people don't want to hear anymore about my squirrel fixation or I can't tell a story in person, I can always write about them, and I imagine people chuckle, but that's just in my imagination.
6. Blogging has been called a fad. Call it stubbornness, but I want to be there when the fad comes back around. I can say that I kept mine for 20 years while all the newbies are grasping for ideas. I'll be like, "Yeah, squirrel blog. Pshaw. I have 102 of them. Beat that! Yeah. Didn't think so."
7. I have weathered three newspaper jobs, college and a lot of teen angst on my blog. I didn't offend anyone so much that they want to kill me--at least as far as I know. My blog has been my edited story, and though boring at times, I have had some really exciting moments documented here. My first Seton Hill friend. A bat experience. Going crazy. My first time in jail (in Dublin--it was a tour--I'm not a convicted felon--see how things get misinterpreted on blogs?).

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 3:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 3, 2006


More evidence of the cult. :-)

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 5:16 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 6, 2005

I'm blogging that....maybe not.

I can't write about my work.
Because it is coming out in tomorrow's edition.

I can't write about my personal life.
Because I've already given away -way- too much.

I can't give my opinion about current events.
Because I'm supposed to be this objective journalist.

I've reached a point in my blogger career where I'm not sure what to write about anymore. I'm either treading on my personal or professional life, either now or in the future.

Sheesh, it becomes something you have to justify.
That was just me at that time in my life. Gosh, I was just stupid back then. How I've grown. haha.

So shall we take stock?

a)I'm a journalist.
b)I'm a person.
c)I'm a journalist/person with biases and beliefs of my own.
d)Anyone can read this thing.
e)My grandmama reads this thing.
f)I love my blog.
g)I love writing.
h)I love my audience.
i)I'm addicted.

Hmm. I have some issues.

I could write about some online trends or keep giving insights into my SHU life. But I'm bored with both of those at the moment.

Maybe I'll risk my entry-level reporter career and start tackling harder stuff. But I've been warned.

Suggestions? Aid? Topics? I'm tapped out of ideas.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:21 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

June 25, 2005

Where'd that comment go? :-(

I've never seen so many comments vanish into oblivion before. This is happening predominantly on one certain blog.

I have two theories about why comments are vanishing:

1) Comments are full of obscenities and/or spam.

2) The author(s) can't take the heat from the commenting crowd and delete the comments because they don't want to address the other person's valid point.

I can understand the first reason, but the second, well, I don't get. Why would bloggers display a comments option when they have no intention of keeping them on? Is it just a tease?

Why have a blog in the first place? I mean, I've visited blogs where you can't leave messages, but there's a powerlessness about it. I get tired of visiting because there's no dialogue, which is what has marked blogs so famously as a remarkable form of online communication.

While some of the comments on the blog I mentioned do contain some profane language, the author throws it right back at the audience. In this circumstance, that makes the right to delete comments based on profanity nil.

This blogger wants to become a serious writer, right? If I were a publishing exec, I wouldn't hire someone that doesn't let other voices (editors) in on the creative process, which is exactly what blogs demonstrate--an environment of constructive criticism that is not entirely based on flaming.

It's all becoming a joke, a spectacle.

I know I write a lot of "girl" things, but again, I do switch between professional (Pro Girl) and personal (Girl) blogs. I try to give my audience an early indication of what is to be expected in these entries.

I just hope we'll all learn when to quit flinging insults, and ultimately realize, even with the negative feedback, that it's just better to talk to more people than than three personas: me, myself and I.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 5:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 31, 2005

Flattered: I am reading material

Imagine my pride when I saw myself cited as reading material on a syllabus. Drawback: I have to reread myself.

While rereading, I realized that my entry and Julie's aren't just for academic weblogs, but rather for weblogs in general. What is described in these blogs is a matter of class and subjective taste, rather than strict guidelines. I am reminded of a Pirates of the Caribbean line...but I digress.

I also noticed that some elements of blogging effectively in a classroom setting may be added to this mini-handbook of weblog instruction, such as a small tutorial on appropriate citation of sources in a weblog. I still struggle with that, especially in the photo realm after being reamed out recently.

After finishing my lil' ol' project this past semester, I think that revamping that blog and perhaps adding it to my pages would be a good idea.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:22 AM | Comments (4)

January 19, 2005

Another Pretty Blog, and Why I like Firefox

Amanda's blog has officially been "re-beautified."
What do you think about the changes?

I was going with the template that she chose here, and this is what I was able to incorporate. With the directions given on that particular site (which I have used before in "skinning" sites), it's advisable to -not- directly copy and paste the stylesheet and index templates straight into your files in MT. (Reasons: the version of MT that we're using here in the SHU blogosphere isn't that recent, the stylesheets use elements that aren't in your original index, and (for me) it was much easier to just slap things into a previously existing, working template.)

And now I'll move on to my reasons for loathing Internet Explorer.

Exhibit A:
New Picture (16).bmp
Amanda's snappy new blog design in Mozilla Firefox.

New Picture (17).bmp
The same snappy design, minus a few utterly great elements, in IE.

This should be enough evidence for me to rest my case, but I'll provide more (and you knew I would!).
Working on IE to test the blog, since I know that's the browser most everyone uses, the thing closed on me--without saving or rebuilding--several times. It happened enough times that I was driven to stop for today; hence my thwarted anger in not presenting the final design...

I recommend Firefox. I downloaded it before the holidays, and I haven't looked back. I've had fewer problems with the internet, in general. I've not had a virus since. There's a handy "tabs" system to cut down on the number of windows on your screen (see above illustration of Firefox), and the "bookmark" feature makes more sense than making something a "favorite." You don't have to hold the CTRL key when you want a pop-up to open (such as the window for uploading a file, or the comments box) if you have a pop-up blocker installed. This isn't even getting into all the customizable features nested beautifully in Firefox...

What with all the nonsense contained in IE (including that wonderful, malicious Service Pack 2 for XP), I have no reason to need that silly, fallable browser again.

The only thing I can tell SHU bloggers to look out for if they would like to switch to Firefox is that the nice little toolbar
New Picture (18).bmp
will disappear (or at least I haven't figured out how to get it back...). But adding bold, italics, underline, and links isn't that hard--use the HTML when you're typing.

Despite all that, I hope you enjoy Amanda's new look. I hope to finalize it after you comment on it with suggestions and/or praise :-)

Sincerely in style,

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:20 PM | Comments (13)

January 17, 2005

D.O.A.: My blog style

My blog will be altered by Karissa. I have also been caught in her web of style once more. Though I have toyed with the idea of changing my blog to Woman Meets World for the millionth time, I have decided to retain the title and make the changes speak for themselves.

Though I would like the unabashedly pretty styles of my blogging pals, I am also using my blog for professional reasons too, and I really don't know how receptive the Trib would be to a background of dancing ponies, however graceful and/or beautiful they may be.

As for my concern over the Tribune Review, I am hoping to be enlisted in their ranks as an news intern for the summer, and I am listing on my resume this site and my work for the Setonian. I am really stressing over the cover letter...

Anyway, back to the style...Karissa will be tinkering with it soon so be prepared!

EDIT 1/17/05 8:54pm: Hello all; Karissa here... Amanda, here are your ponies. A picture to suffice that pony craving you may have living inside ;)

amandaponies haha.bmp

Just a little joke :)
And now I'm off to work on the -real- layout for Amanda... Seriously.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 4:29 PM | Comments (9)

January 13, 2005

Inauguration Costs: Hullabaloo on Blogs

How did it all start? Not sure, but I can trace the original fly-in-ointment to Rubino's reference to Alternet. But was this reference in reference to Michael Sichok's reference to Alternet first? Hmm. Not sure, but then I got into the mix.

I found some evidence saying the exact opposite of Mike's claims on Paige's Paige.

It looks as if Mike Rubino has made the rounds on all the blogs mentioning this issue. How about you? Do you have anything to add?

I just like watching--

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:39 PM | Comments (0)

December 2, 2004

Try these Christmas specials:

Via Whatever:

Ayn Rand's A Selfish Christmas (1951)

In this hour-long radio drama, Santa struggles with the increasing demands of providing gifts for millions of spoiled, ungrateful brats across the world, until a single elf, in the engineering department of his workshop, convinces Santa to go on strike. The special ends with the entropic collapse of the civilization of takers and the spectacle of children trudging across the bitterly cold, dark tundra to offer Santa cash for his services, acknowledging at last that his genius makes the gifts -- and therefore Christmas -- possible. Prior to broadcast, Mutual Broadcast System executives raised objections to the radio play, noting that 56 minutes of the hour-long broadcast went to a philosophical manifesto by the elf and of the four remaining minutes, three went to a love scene between Santa and the cold, practical Mrs. Claus that was rendered into radio through the use of grunts and the shattering of several dozen whiskey tumblers. In later letters, Rand sneeringly described these executives as "anti-life."

Oh my. I had issues reading Rand. She looks pretty sad.

For more funnies.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 4:51 PM | Comments (3)

November 18, 2004

Girl Meets World Fall 2004

Though this semester has been a little sparse on the What's-going-on-in-Amanda's-life category, my academic blogs have been flourishing.

Maybe I can give a little insight on what I was doing in each of the entries. I know not everyone has read the works I write about, but I was working with my blogging style a lot this time, attempting to make things my readers probably have not read, a little clearer. My target audience is not just English majors at Seton Hill University. While some of my entries haven't been commented upon, I assume because people are either busy or intimidated by the texts discussed to leave a comment, I am happy to see that my readers are trying to understand.

And now for the wrap-up:

Highlights of the best academic reads on
Girl Meets World:
  • Robinson's obsession with alcohol was the inspiration for this blog. Focused around the one element of alcohol, this blog is a great example of how I start a research project. I begin with one element and draw as much as I can from it. If nothing is there, I don't start from zero, but rather, have a better idea of what the author is trying to convey. This entry, despite the limited topic, does have the potential to be much more; perhaps one day when I am slamming my head into a desk with writer's block, I will return to this entry and be inspired.
  • In this entry about The Girl of the Golden West, I discuss Belasco's parallel to Mercutio's death in Romeo and Juliet. Though I still think that I demean Shakespeare in making this comparison, I also think it is at least reasearchable that both are plays. Is this a method that many dramatists use? What are the origins of this method in drama? This blog, though a bit late for writing my research paper, does pose some decent questions that could be researched in the future.
  • I think I am most proud of this blog. While I had already read Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," I extrapolated on more than just the plot of the story like last time, and really analyzed a classmate's claims. Thanks to Puff for the compliment.
  • Drawing from my experiences with WCT, I tried to speculate about the absence of literary devices in Native American oral literature. This blog like many others this semester, has brought together histories of various groups, and was surprisingly applicable to these works.
  • In my entry about John Henry, I attempted to challenge Linda's claims. My comment on her blog got so long that I thought I really had something, making it into a blog of its own. With links to sources concerning this topic, I battled with technology versus humanity in American culture.
  • Isn't it funny? The two blogs that I work the hardest on: "The Yellow Wallpaper" and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn turn into my research paper. This blog I am sure, helped me in my search for a research topic. In this entry, I cited many incidents in the story, sort of asserting myself that I knew what the novel is all about, and that I could apply what I have learned. I also gathered opinions from my classmates and also highlighted some research, going into some depth about the novel's message. By the research topic is on the how Gilman and Clemens portray their era of American society. More on that for Monday, November 22, 2004 when I present from my blog.

Highlights of the best Fall 2004 discussions on
Girl Meets World:

  • The John Henry blog continued the conversation between Linda and I about technology. Nabila also brought up some great questions about the meaning of the text.
  • Having read "The Yellow Wallpaper" twice I was ready for some discussion. Nabila, Karissa, Stephan and I all discussed together. I still don't know why Stephan doesn't like to be labeled a new critic, though. I think he has a problem with established literary authority. :-D
  • When discussing Native-American oral literature, Neha offered some suggested reading, and Stephan and I talked about the dialects of certain areas that we had talked about in class at that time.

Shall we move beyond my blog?
These are some of the best comments I have made on other blogs, mostly about literary works that I have been studying in American Literature 1800-1915.
  • On Linda's blog, I stirred up a bit o' trouble, opposing her views on the technological advancements of our age, as depicted in John Henry. The interaction eventually spilled over onto my entry on John Henry. In the absence of Crossman on the blogs, I am always looking for a combatant. Sadly, Linda didn't take the bait. :-)
  • On Fortune Cookie, I questioned a view in the entry, and was challenged to a researching duel by blogger, Puff. I think I taught him something about making uninformed assertions, though. :-) The best part about this discussion was that I was pushing another student to write something more than "this is what I think."
  • On Nabila's blog, I took up another viewpoint concerning "The Yellow Wallpaper": John's. Instead of taking the traditional view of the text, Nabila and I pursued John as a character, rather than just an entity of anti-feminism.
Out of the Blue
    Voting was a new experience for me. This was my way, as a blogger and journalist, to at least get some of my feelings out there for the online community to read. I think I sidestepped a lot of political phrasing in this blog, especially in the comments section where I gave reasons for my political silence. Thanks Curious, whoever you are, for giving me that platform!

So that's that. Hope you all enjoyed another scrapbooking session. Please come back soon, and blog safely. ;-)

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:49 PM | Comments (1)

November 5, 2004

Overviewing Girl Meets World and SHU blogging

After reading Dr. Jerz's blog on An Emerging Academic Weblog Community, I kept questioning whether my blog is academic, or diary-like teenage musings that the Perseus blog survey implies.

I mean, I am Girl Meets World. What does that name imply? When I named my blog, I had many content concepts in mind: my professional life, personal life, and finally, my academic life (which is categorized with professional life for now, being a college student)--a plethora of Amanda-ness that I think I have remained true to in the past year.

Though over the summer I did focus on more personal matters because my blogging pals were far, far away, I was still catering to my audience, just as I cater to my professors when I blog, and I am letting the kitty out of the bag when I say this, the requirements for my portfolio. Though my blog is mine, I still cater to that audience--whoever you all are. :-)

However, I will agree with this statement:

Blogging is many things, yet the typical blog is written by a teenage girl who uses it twice a month to update her friends and classmates on happenings in her life. It will be written very informally (often in "unicase": long stretches of lowercase with ALL CAPS used for emphasis) with slang spellings, yet will not be as informal as instant messaging conversations (which are riddled with typos and abbreviations). Underneath the iceberg, blogging is a social phenomenon: persistent messaging for young adults.

I have been "out there" so to speak in the blogging world, and I have noticed that many of the blogs are for exclusive friend circles, and are focused around people that I do not know, nor, in most cases, care to. Because I know the people on the SHU blogs, I am interested in their content, but "outside" bloggers may not.

However, the Perseus blog survey is putting the teenage blogger in a negative light. She is doing the same thing that intellectuals do, communicating information. Though it is unfortunate that the academic blogging world must be subjected to this type of blog when searching for "good content," one shouldn't forget that this hypothetical teenage girl is having an influence on her readers, which should not be degraded just because of style choice. The academic bloggers, after all are the ones that have the say in this matter, at least in the classroom. But is this a type of blogging (excuse hyperbole here) discrimination? Possibly.

Our blogs have gotten attention in the past year. The administration, faculty and students at SHU have an impression of what blogging is from what we have written personal, academic, professional or "the other" that we cannot even describe. Though some brush it off as something the English majors do, others actually become interested in what we do and eventually pick up the habit, regardless of being in the English field.

What has attracted them? Perhaps the sense of community, the possibility of getting their ideas online for others to consider. I cannot read their minds, but I know mine, and those were some of the reasons I picked up blogging with the fervor that I did last fall. Regardless, the blogging community at SHU, as imagined as it may be, is there and still working, as stressed out as its bloggers may be.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:52 AM | Comments (1)