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Lemonade & Lost Time

Want to drink some refreshingly easy to make lemonade while reading this? Here’s the link! Something I’ve been missing recently is childhood. I remember being around five years old and setting up a lemonade stand in my living room, because I grew up in an apartment, and having the time of my life. I spent hours taking the time to draw a sign, scout the perfect table, and set up everything just right. Now I barely have the attention span to watch something for more than twenty minutes. Despite having less and less of an attention span, I still manage to waste a large portion of my little free time doing absolutely nothing. Whenever I get a break or am taking rest I immediately pick up my phone and scroll. It almost feels beyond my control. Completely mindless. Social media has engraved itself in my life in an almost self-hating manner. Every time I spend more than ten minutes on Instagram or TikTok, I leave the experience feeling almost numb. The accessibility and ease of social media is what makes it so alluring. There’s no time for setup or cleanup like most of my hobbies, like drawing or baking. And on top of that it is catered for my shortened attention span. When I look at my phone usage and see the hours dedicated to social media, I always wonder what could that have been used for instead? Is there a hobby I might have taken on and mastered by now instead of being updated on the newest trends? My plan going into my time off is setting aside some of my free time for specifically phone free usage. I want to see if this changes my productivity or boosts my creativity in someway. Basically, I want to get my time back.

Process Post: User Navigation

When figuring out the layout of my pages, in regards to content I kept in mind the f reading pattern. In keeping with the pattern, I made sure to have a strong horizontal menu and limited the amount of body text on the home page. This allows to user to clearly understand the navigation of the website, as well as the aesthetic, without being bombarded with content. Another navigation decision I made was to unify content through landing pages for the broader page categories, for example the PUB 101 page has links through titles and images to the child pages (Process Posts, Mini Assignments, and Peer Reviews). This interlinked nature of content creates easier navigation for the user, while also drawing their attention to other published content. The concept of Kafe Corrective is the idea of stress baking and ranting. Although these categories are within their own respective pages, I included links to the recipes on each corresponding rant to create a connection between the two pages and allow for easier user exploration. To further reinforce user flow between content, each post also has a section at the bottom that recommends other content that have been marked with the same category.

Process Post: Intellectual Property

Copyright enables intellectual property to remain and retain publication rights to its originator. In our current digital media age, content is continuously shared and repurposed in new ways. Through platforms like TikTok, short audio clips are paired with either still images or videos to create a new meaning or interpretation of the original content. Because of this remixing of mediums and content, it is often hard to locate the originator of the actual content used within these trends. The remixing and sharing of content results in the question, who should get the credit? Although an individual might have a copyright to a specific piece of content, remixing content arguably creates new content that goes beyond the original. Digital media also allows for instantaneous publication. As seen on social media platforms, posting content is pretty much immediate, and is typically not regulated unless flagged by a different user. Due to the scope of content being posted, reposted, and remixed, it is easy for copyrighted content to be published and remain published for a few days without immediate repercussions. The user on these platforms is also the publisher, meaning there is less of a screening process for how and where content is published to. Digital media continues to blur the line of what should count as intellectual property and for who? The anonymity of social media paired with the ability to self-publish results in more and more publication of remixed media.

Process Post: False News

The game telephone is notorious for showing the contortion of information as it gets passed from one person to the next. I believe that social media is our current telephone. As younger demographics tend to watch TV or read the news less, our main outlet to current events is through their publication on social media platforms. Although this is an efficient way in the spread on information, the verification of the spread information is severely lacking. Just as certain news corporations have affiliations and align themselves with a political standing, social media users and profiles do the same, but I believe due to the anonymity of social media, the publishers political affiliations are often forgotten. As experienced immensely during peak pandemic era, the sharing of infographics that contained tips and statistics with how to avoid catching COVID was everywhere. The issue with these infographics that get reposted, is that the credibility of their information is not verified and therefore leads to the spread of misinformation. As misinformation riddled content gains traction, this content becomes more of a societal truth than an actual fact. It is accepted as true because of it’s scope and mass publication, rather than the credibility of the information within the content. As users we must become more vigilant in becoming our own fact-checkers, rather than be reliant on the fact-checking done my social media corporations.

Process Post: Editing

As I now have an established intended audience, it has made it easier to try and find my tone of voice for writing my content. As my ideal intended audience are fellow university students who also stress bake, I am able to retain my natural way of speaking for the most part. Keeping an overlap in relatability and slight professionalism, is the type of tone that I am trying to keep my content to maintain. Luckily editing my writing to conform to this type of tone is easier as it is my natural way of speaking. The other element of Kafe Corrective, the recipes, is purely professionalism and coherent communication of the recipes. For this while writing out recipes, and editing the instructions I wrote for them, I used other recipe websites as a frame of reference to clearly convey the instructions as much as possible. Recipe writing is not completely devoid of tone, but it is reliant on using clear adjectives for the addition and incorporation of ingredients. Similarly, while editing and refining Kafe Corrective visually I found it useful to take an approach of asking other people for their critiques or perceptions of the website’s aesthetic. Since the first peer review I found it tremendously helpful to get a fresh pair of eyes examining website, as they have a more objective point of view and it also gives insight into how users feel upon first seeing the site. Overall, editing allowed for the fine tuning and modification of Kafe Corrective’s aesthetic and overall tone. Through the multiple iterations of editing, it was easier to account and try to appeal to my target audience through the refinement of published content.

Process Post: Analytics

Analytics do provide valuable insight into my target versus actual audience and lets me base my decisions based on previous performance of content and response from my audience. As a content creator analytics enables me to think about things such as when I should post, what form of content is more popular, and what audience it has popularity with. Comparatively, as a user it is worrisome to know that my data is being tracked by each website I go to, and that data is then able to be sold to other companies by my provider. Online user privacy is something that I miss being oblivious to. Prior to a few years ago, I never intensely noticed the correlation between my search history or text conversations to advertisements, but now it is almost to obvious to ignore. The issue is the power hierarchy surrounding data buying and user data usage. For smaller or individually created websites, like Kafe Corrective, the specificities of the data do not go much beyond time, location and entered information of the user. Larger technology companies, like Google, Facebook, or Twitter, are able to retain a much more detailed and personal account of user information due to the terms and conditions that typically go unread by users. The fact that anything published on the internet can never really be erased has always been slightly terrifying to me. This tracked data and immense accountability has ultimately resulted in a “cancel culture” type era, where there is the debate of if individuals should be held accountable for their past actions that have been chronicled online. Growing up in a time where elementary students use social media, it is terrifying to think that anything and everything posted exists in the online space permanently.

Process Post: Community Guidelines

Kafe Corrective would have Community Guidelines that restrict the type of content being posted on behalf of the user’s comments. These Community Guidelines would include an intolerance to any form of racist, sexist or any other form discriminatory behavior. They also include an intolerance towards any excessive vulgar language, which will be reviewed and screened by the admin. Kafe Corrective does also not condone the use or spreading of spam or scam content, spreading of misinformation, or the commenting of external links due to the increased possibility of incurring viruses. Kafe Corrective strives to be an open and accepting community that encourages open communication, and encourages its members to treat themselves and others with kindness. Currently, these Community Guidelines are being enforced by each comment having to be publicly approved to be released onto the website. This means as admin I have full authority over the comments that are published on my pages or in response to the posts of Kafe Corrective. If I have more time for implementing the Community Guidelines, I would also add any derogatory or deemed unfit words to a flag list, that automatically flags the comment. For now the process of me having to manually release each comment allows me to have full screening control over what gets published on Kafe Corrective in order to make sure it fits within the Community Guidelines.

Matcha & Mental Health

Want to try a new refreshing and simple drink? Here’s the recipe! Metal health is part of everyone’s lives. We all have mental health that we should regulate and take care of, but honestly who has the time? Up until recently, this was my kind of stance on the topic. Mental health always had clear stigmatism in my household growing up. It was often slightly poked fun at, or dismissed of altogether. Coming from a mixed ethnic background, growing up in Canada, and being half-white and half-Japanese, my outlook on debated topics, like mental health, usually vastly varied from my parents. This is something that is generally pretty common from generational gaps, especially when you have parents who grew up in a different country than you. Mental health is a tricky topic, because although it is part of everyone’s lives, the effects are sometimes indescribable or imperceivable to the general public. My slightly dismissive tone towards mental health was formed due to the lack of accessibility to resources and the stigma surrounding mental health. As any university students knows the lack of sleep, food, and constant work is not the most stellar combination. Something that I have noticed recently is my ability to everything else before myself. All assignments and work dominate the hierarchy within my life to the point of where I am unable to maintain a solid structure of physical health, let alone mental. Another thing that I have also found out during this past few months is the importance of talking to others and researching the available resources. Typically there are tons of resources online that are available and easily accessible. And if you are a student, I highly encourage looking into programs offered by your school! Since you are paying tuition you might as well make the most out of it. Helpful links: National Institute of Mental Health BetterHelp (licensed online therapy)

Brownies & Burnout

Want to try out a new recipe for some gooey brownies? Here’s the recipe! Almost everyone I know has at one point, or is currently, struggling with burnout. As a student it feels almost inevitable with the amount of pressure we put on ourselves while handling an ever growing workload. I have always struggled with finding balance in my life. Adulthood responsibilities also seem to keep popping up and adding themselves to my never ending list of tasks. Little things that I never had to think about as a child, things like scheduling doctors appointments, or comparing schedules to see friends, all used to be taken for granted. The second I try to relax or take a break, suddenly all signs point to the fact that I’m falling behind. This ultimately results in me never being satisfied. I’m either over or under worked. Part of the issue is being too long-term, big-picture, goal oriented. Although all these qualities are good, and it is beneficial to look to the future, the issue is you are never able to appreciate the present. This semester was an especially difficult one, for a myriad of reasons, due to workload and personal life. In order to try and combat the difficulties faced this semester, I took on the practice of being more grateful for myself and my accomplishments. Although it sounds kind of silly, taking a moment to congratulate myself or appreciate my ability to just complete one simple task helped me feel a lot better about my progress. Often times its truly done with one assignment, immediately onto the next and the cycle just continues to repeat. Implementing a moment of acknowledgment towards yourself helps to break that ongoing work cycle, and give yourself the care you deserve. Finishing an assignment is its own accomplishment and it is important to acknowledge that! Try to reward yourself in some way. Personally, I do cope by stress baking and brownies are always a comfort food go-to for me. Take a moment, maybe an hour or two, and find some way to reward yourself. Not just to help prevent burnout, but you also deserve it.

Mini Assignment #4

The Mini Assignment called for us to remix something. In order to achieve this I used Dall-E, the AI art generator, and experimented with creating iterations of images through multiple prompts that I felt were related to the content of Kafe Corrective. For the first iteration I used the phrase: An oil painting of a person stress baking. Resulting Images: For the second iteration, I slightly changed the the used phrase to: An oil painting of a person stress baking while ranting. Resulting Images: For the third iteration I decided to add the phrase “digital art”, as Dall-E kept recommending the addition of the phrase for higher quality images: An oil painting of a person stress baking, digital art Resulting Images: My experience with using Dall-E overall was very entertaining. The program generates four images based on the prompt entered into the prompt bar. For all my prompts I decided to stick with oil painting as the style, just as I like the look of a painting rather than a more realistic image. Something that surprised me was the speed and quality of images generated. Typically each round of iterations only took about thirty seconds to generate, and all images resulted in cohesive art pieces that clearly convey their respective prompt. Another thing intriguing about the AI technology is it’s ability to incorporate certain societal nuances when generating pieces. For instance, a majority of the artworks came back with female subjects, when the gender was not actually specified within the prompt. Through using Dall-E to create these remixed images, it was interesting to see the capabilities and quality of artificial intelligence generated artwork.