Author Archives: Cami

PP11

In developing community guidelines for my blog, I take reference from the other online communities I frequent. As an avid Reddit user, I take part in discussion within certain sub-reddit communities. Each of these sub-reddits have their own unique guidelines in which users must abide by. In my own experience, I have previously posted to r/curlyhair, and in doing so I must follow the pinned rules located in the sidebar (AKA community guidelines) or else my post will be deleted.

 

For my own blog, I am hesitant to even come up with community guidelines in the first place, simply because I do not have a community to engage with. Right now, I enjoy giving my blog users complete freedom, as any dialogue at this point would be better than nothing.

 

Another reason as to why I do not see the value in community guidelines in the context of a personal blog is that it is just that: personal. As the known moderator of my own blog, it should come as no surprise that I can delete and moderate content in whatever way I please. Communities like reddit are moderated by and for the community, and thus must consider the opinions and values of the entire group. In my case, the only person’s opinion I have to consider is my own!

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Mislabeling Food

This week, I’d like to talk about a giant problem I have with the dining hall: mislabeling food.

Since the dining hall experience is centered around meat eating, there is a disregard for the treatment of those who do not ascribe to that way of life. The results of this? See below.


 

Quite often, I will see labels for food such as vegan soup (marked with a v), yet in the fine print contain milk. Another occurrence of this is when food that is not vegan is put in the designated vegan food area, such as in the photo above (In this case, the soup contained milk ingredients).

 

Is it really that difficult to label things properly and put them in the correct location?

 

While I am not vegan, I have friends on the meal plan that are. I can understand their frustration in their diet not being taken seriously, and having to simply put up with standard of living for the duration of their time on the meal plan.

 

This is not only a problem for vegans, in fact, but those of us with allergies. Mislabeling something as vegan could have serious implications on a person who may be severely lactose intolerant.

 

In sum, food labels are no joke, and the dining hall should be diligent in their consideration of the well being of others.

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PP9

In creating a coordinated entertainment experience, transmedia storytelling seems to be the most appropriate way to achieve that process. In the words of Miller (2013),

 

“Transmedia storytelling is the ideal aesthetic form for an era of collective intelligence.”

 

When I think of a successful transmedia storytelling experience, I think of Harry Potter.

 

 

 

 

Growing up, the Harry Potter franchise was a huge part of my life, and I actively read every book and movie in the series. I recall when they announced they would make the last movie into two separate films, thus extending the storytelling experience. Following the publication of the final book and movie, the franchise released a website, Pottermore, in which you could sort yourself into one of the four houses (I’m a Hufflepuff). All of these features contribute to the shaping of the Harry Potter world, and create an immersive experience in which a fan can engage with the story across multiple platforms.

 

For my own website, I’m not sure if transmedia storytelling is something that I’ve been focused on developing. Perhaps, if I should continue camitheveggie in the future, I will create an Instagram account to accompany the blog which would provide more emphasis on the photos of the food itself, but until I improve upon my photography skills, that aspect of transmedia storytelling will have to wait.

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PP8

This week, we learned about data trails and digital breadcrumbs. What does this mean? Well, for starters, the access you give to corporations every time you agree to the “terms and conditions” of an application entails them to every bit of information you post, from facebook statuses, to google searches, to online shopping preferences. In the digital age, every action we do online leaves a breadcrumb of data that can be collected by the likes of retailers, banks and various other organisations (Pod Academy, 2016, pp. 10).

I can’t help but consider the way we so willingly agree to give access to our most personal and private information online. Most apps have options of turning on location services, which can track where a user is in real time due to the censors on their personal smartphone. These sensors extend further to sound, as we give application access to our audio as well. The Pod Academy (2016) elaborates upon this process, stating the following:

Basically, when you have a phone, you have a series of censors and you have this constant background communication between the phone and the cell towers, but also if its connected online between the phone and the internet so there are all these apps that are getting information about your phone, about your environment.” (pp.13)

In my own personal experience of being made aware of the sensory tracking that was occurring within my smartphone, I remember how I was talking with a friend once who was telling me about getting a new job at a local Cafe. We discussed this event in person, and not once did I physically engage with my phone during the conversation. Following the encounter with my friend, I recall using Instagram when an ad for the same cafe came up on my feed.

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Essay Two

The first day of of the semester, each individual student in our Publishing 101 class was tasked to come up with a definition of the word publishing. As a communication student who has heard only good things about the department, I was excited to finally gain some insight into the world of publishing. In coming up with a definition, however, I soon came to the realization that I had no real understanding of the field at all, and struggled to come up with a definitive answer without the help of Google. In taking this course, I’ve learned that publishing can mean a variety of things, from engaging collaboratively within networked public spaces online, to developing our own digital lives. One way of looking at it, as Nash (2013) notes, is to consider the word publishing like you would a book, in that it is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature” (pp.4).

The course has enabled students, from various faculties, to develop their digital media presence through the creation and development of their own personal websites. In their article, “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure”, Campbell (2009) theorizes that by developing a personal cyberinfrastructure, students will have the capability to become system administrators for their own digital lives (pp.6). To add onto this theory, Campbell notes:

 

“Students not only would acquire crucial technical skills for their digital lives but also would engage in work that provides richly teachable moments ranging from multimodal writing to information science, knowledge management, bibliographic instruction, and social networking. Fascinating and important innovations would emerge as students are able to shape their own cognition, learning, expression, and reflection in a digital age, in a digital medium” (pp. 7).

 

Campbell takes a very technophilic approach in his consideration of the web, however provides useful insight into how I’ve created my online self this past semester. I’ve been able to express myself through a digital platform, and learn important aspects of what it means to be an online publisher. Prior to this course, I had little to no experience in curating a personal cyberinfrastructure for the purposes of creating meaningful, engaging content. While my digital media literacies are well developed regarding social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and my willingness to share personal information is reminiscent of the benign disinhibition effect that Suler (2004) refers to (pp. 1), my knowledge of WordPress or blogging in general was limited.

A reading that had significant impact on my decision making when designing my blog was Gertz’ (2015), “Design Machines: How to survive in the digital Apocalypse.” In their article, Gertz describes the current state of design in an online context, and sheds light on the homogeneity of web-based digital design due to external pressures to keep up with the competitiveness of the online world (pp. 6). When browsing the various themes to choose from, the homogeneity of website templates was obvious. While they were all very aesthetically pleasing, they lacked character and authenticity. So many companies, in their attempt to emulate the success of others, end up producing content that falls flat or lacks meaningful content.

While I do not consider myself a professional website designer by any means, the article was helping in making me aware of the decisions I was making regarding all design elements of my website, including text, images, and overall layout. The purpose of my website, more than about sharing vegetarian food, was to develop my skills as an online publisher. By keeping that in mind, I would make decision about design, as well as content, to reflect my learning process as I became more adept at managing my own personal blog.

The best part of creating my blog was developing my voice within my writing and conveying it in a way that would resonate with others. Warner (2002) discusses the idea of a “public” address (in this case, the collective of random internet users) being predicated, to some extent, on their attention (pg. 419). While some aspect of what I am doing is simply contributing content to a void of infinite possibilities in hopes that someone will find it, another part of me is interested in being, well, interesting. Being a publisher is more than simply creating content for content’s sake, but producing something of value. While I am very sure that no “public” has been created in response to my website, perhaps someone, someday, will pay my blog enough attention that a small internet community of vegetarians could form. One can only hope.

Now that the course has come to and end, and I am no longer prescribed to a meal plan, my goals for my website have shifted. If I should continue blogging, I would like to develop my photo editing skills by learning Photoshop in order to enhance the quality of the graphics I post. My website is very niche, however one thing I am sure of will stay consistent: my vegetarianism! I’ve learned so much in regard to best strategies to developing an online presence, and hope to continue applying those skills in the future.

 

References

Campbell, G. (2009). “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure.” EDUCAUSE Review 44 (5). Retrieved from: http://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure

Gertz, T. (2015). “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse.” Retrieved from: https://louderthanten.com/articles/story/design-machines

Nash, R. et al. (n.d.). What Is the Business of Literature? Retrieved from: https://www.vqronline.org/articles/what-business-literature

Suler, J. (2004). “The Online Disinhibition Effect”. Cyberpsychology & behavior 7(3), 321-326. Retrieved from: http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html

Warner, M. (2002). “Publics and Counterpublics”. Quarterly Journal of Speech. 88(4). Retrieved from: http://knowledgepublic.pbworks.com/f/warnerPubCounterP.pdf

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PP7 – Remix

This week, I wanted to talk about my latest recipe: meat salad.

That’s right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When most people think of meat, they imagine it in it’s cooked form, preferably in one piece and bearing no resemblance to the live animal in which it came from. A word to describe this practice, would be to make it palatable. I, a connoisseur of meat-related food items, am thrilled to finally be able combine my two favourite foods: vegetables AND meat!

What better way to consume animal flesh than to make it into a salad. That way, there no denying how weird it is that we even it in the first place; the evidence is right there! Every kind of animal part you can think of can be combined to make a beautiful mound of meat… yummy. As a dressing, I would recommend choosing my favourite condiment: ketchup! I’ve listed the recipe below, and if you’d like to make any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment!

Meat Salad Recipe:

  1. Pig meat
  2. Cow meat
  3. Chicken meat
  4. Fish meat
  5. *Free space*

 

That’s it! Super simple. There is no requirement as to what part of the animal you decide to include in your salad, because it’s totally customizable and open to interpretation. If you make your own version of this meat salad, please email me at camitheveggie@gmail.com and you might be featured in next week’s post!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in the making of this post. Please do not try this at home.

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PP6

In reviewing the peer review Tyrell has written about my website, I appreciate his constructive criticism. He discusses the written content I’ve posted, and enjoys the tone I’ve adopted throughout my blog, remarking on my honesty. One critique Tyrell has noted regarding my website is my lack of colour, and overuse of white space. Upon reviewing my website theme and composition, I would have to agree with Tyrell. My website is significantly lacking in design elements, as I was originally intending to keep the theme minimal. I can see now that perhaps my original idea, however, was too minimal.

In implementing what Tyrell has recommended, I’ve decided to add a background image to my homepage. I chose an image I found from the web of some colourful looking vegetables, and changed my theme to include green titles and headers instead of just black. With these subtle changes, I already see a small improvement to the overall look of my website. 

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PP5

Two websites I visit frequently are Reddit and Craigslist. Looking closely at the design elements, it is clear that both websites value content over design, as is expressed by their simple text only graphics.

 

What works for both Reddit and Craigslist is their no-bullshit approach to design. In their article, “Design Machines: How to survive in the digital Apocalypse”, Gertz (2015) discusses the issue of many online writings lacking anything of substance, and existing purely for purposes of attracting potential viewers, stating:

“traditional blogs churn out dozens of tiny superficial nuggets per day to feed invasive advertising. News sites and digital magazines continue to slice journalism budgets and increasingly find ways to sneak advertorial into their patchwork templates.”

Although Gertz does not praise a content-first approach either, highlighting the way design should augment the message of content when applied properly, I personally admire the approach Reddit and Craigslist use in intentionally leaving out attractive or aesthetic design elements on their websites. I realize that my opinion might not be a popular one, but that is beside the point. What Reddit and Craigslist both do well is include as much information as is expected. Images are used selectively, however are not the focus. Links are read in an orderly format, and can be sorted by categories of most recent, top voted, or trending.

One downfall of Reddit and Craigslist in terms of applying the same practices they use to my own website, is that I do not intent on generating content as quickly nor do I have a system of regulating content based on user review of material. My website is specific to myself, and my experiences. Therefore, designing my website to look like that of craigslist would not benefit, and perhaps only detract from my intention of imitating a “food blog” aesthetic.

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Peer Review Three

For my third peer review, I am reviewing the website, Beauty By Teresa. Upon first glance, Teresa has set up her intended market very noticeably, highlighting the phrase “confessions of a makeup addict” on the homepage. As a makeup user myself, I am attracted to the concept of her website being catered to people of similar interests. Teresa uses colours that are easy to look at, such as muted purples and pinks, and does not overcrowd her pages with content. In her about page, Teresa includes a section that discusses her experience of makeup, adding to her credibility as a skilled professional.

Teresa’s theme is pretty, and uses elements of minimalist design throughout her website homepage in her simple yet elegant lettering and balance of white space and images. In their article, “Design Machines: How to survive in the digital Apocalypse”, Gertz (2015) discusses the practice of many blog users and web designers to copy best practices and emulate industry standards when creating websites, stating: “When another company achieves success, there’s a lot of pressure to investigate what they did right and apply that to our own organizations” (pp. 16). While wordpress offers many standard website themes, a technique Teresa could use to personalize her website would be to download page builder plugins such as Page Builder by SiteOrigin or Elementor to play around with her theme a bit in order to make it stand out. Teresa is a highly skilled makeup artist, and her creativity extends to her website as well.

Teresa goes into great detail regarding the process of her makeup looks, which is much appreciated. Her personality really shines in her description of certain products she uses, placing emphasis on certain words such as BRONZZEERRRRRR!!! The tone Teresa throughout her website is fun and exciting, which translates to a very engaging browsing experience. One way Teresa could further engage her audience is if she incorporated video elements, such as making youtube videos, to document her makeup tutorials. The platform would allow Teresa to engage with her audience more personally, as well as show rather than tell the steps required to achieve a certain look.

Overall, Teresa has a great website with a lot of content, and should she continue to create material following the completion of the course, she is well on her way to becoming a more established beauty influencer.

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