Author Archives: Planet Vanessa

Getting Out of a Reading Slump

The Pain of Being in a Reading Slump

A reading slump is essentially when you don’t have the desire to read. I’ve been in the reading slump for the past 2 months. Every single time I had free time to read, I just lacked the motivation to actually open the book and read it. This period has been terrible for me. I set a 2023 reading goal on Goodreads for 36 books; this was the amount I reached in 2022. So far I have read only 1 book this year (yikes!).


I feel like I have finally gotten out of my reading slump as I am almost done my second book of the year. This post will give my advice on how to get out of a reading slump.

1. Remove the Pressure of Reading

One of the worst part about a reading slump is the guilt you feel for not reading. I recommend setting aside a few days where you will not read at all. This way, instead of thinking about opening up a book but then never actually reading, you will give yourself a break from the pressure of needing to read when you don’t want to. After these few days, your perspective of reading may change. You may feel refreshed and interested in reading again.

2. DNF a Book

DNF (or did not finish) is when you, as the term says, did not finish a book. Sometimes the reason why you lose interest in reading is because you’re not enjoying the book you’re reading. It can be a painful process trying to finish a book you don’t like, which could ultimately prevent you from wanting to read (thus putting you in a reading slump). Although DNFing a book can be a disappointing feeling, it is sometimes necessary. Therefore, do not be afraid to DNF a book, or simply push it aside to read at a different point in time.

3. Bring a Book With You

I recommend bringing a book with you wherever you go. This may motivate you to start reading if you have nothing else to do. For instance, if you are on public transit commuting to work and you have a sudden urge to read, you can! Since getting the motivation to open up a book is one of the hardest parts of being in a slump, having a book in these situations might make opening up a book feel easier.

4. Listen to an Audiobook

Playing an audiobook in your headphones allows you to “read” a book without having to dedicate time to sit down and open up a book. You can have an audiobook playing while doing chores or while commuting to work. You can also listen to an audiobook while reading along with it. Hearing the book being recited you to might help you get into the book. An audiobook that I recommend listening to is the audiobook to Daisy Jones & The Six. The narrators of this book enhance the reading experience and makes you feel more connected to the characters.

5. Read Book Reviews

Reading (spoiler free) book reviews may give you the motivation needed to continue reading a book. When I read a book review of someone who heavily enjoyed the book, it gives me the motivation to continue reading. It makes me want to be able to relate to their thoughts about the book and feel the excitement that they felt while reading the book.

6. Re-read a Book

Reading a book you have already read and enjoyed may help you get into the flow of reading again. Whenever I re-read a book I loved, it helps me remember how happy reading makes me. Re-reading is a safe thing to do since there is no risk in you not liking it.

Don't Feel Bad About Being in a Slump!

Lastly, it is important to remember that being in a reading slump is normal and happens to everyone! Don’t put yourself down for not wanting to read. Getting out of a reading slump takes time and patience, but it’s possible!

Process Post #8

Artificial Intelligence

This week’s readings focus on AI tools, specifically ChatGPT and DALL-E. The Business Insider article explains how to use DALL-E to create images based on prompts you write (Antonelli, 2022). I believe that these tools can be helpful; however, I also think that we must be cautious of how much we rely on these AI programs. 


This makes me think of a concept we discussed in lecture called automation bias. This is essentially where we rely too much on automation to make our decisions. When we use AI programs such as ChatGPT and DALL-E, we must view these programs as tools rather than sources.


I currently do not use these AI cites; however, I can understand how these programs could be helpful for website content. For instance, if I decide to make a creative content post, DALL-E could be a good tool to enhance the blog post. Often times it is hard to find specific images on Google that correspond with your vision. DALL-E allows the user to create a never before seen image that brings a vision to life.

DALL-E created image of a man typing on a laptop
"person using computer clip art style" via DALL-E


Antonelli, W. (2022, June 14). How to use dall·e mini, the viral AI tool that can turn any prompt into a series of pictures. Business Insider.

Mini Assignment #4: Remix Something

Replacing the Star Ingredient in a Recipe?

I found a delicious sounding earl grey tea cake recipe online. The recipe is by and features this simple yet tasty dessert.

The issue was, I did not have enough earl grey tea in my cupboards for this recipe. I did happen to have a huge 60 pack of English breakfast tea packets that I was struggling to get through (I determined after getting this huge pack of tea that I prefer earl grey tea over English breakfast tea). So I thought why not follow this early grey tea cake recipe, but with English breakfast tea instead! It not only saves me the trip of going to the store, but also helps me get rid of my huge box of English breakfast tea.

bowl full of flour and other baking ingredients. features a pile of English breakfast tea leaves in the bowl.
Mixing the English breakfast tea leaves into the bowl.

The Result

The cake turned out really good and the recipe was easy to follow. The outside was golden and crispy, while the inside was soft and moist. The English breakfast tea provided a subtle flavour; however I barely even noticed the tea flavour. Since earl grey tea has a stronger aroma to it, I believe the original recipe would have had a more distinct tea flavour. I hope to try this recipe again sometime, but with earl grey tea instead. Although I enjoyed this remixed version of the recipe, I think that I would enjoy the original recipe even more!

baked cake in a loaf pan
The cake fresh out of the oven.
slice of cake on a plate
Slice of the cake.

Recipe Link:

The Fight Against Fake News

Fake news is defined by one source as “articles or photos that are false and designed to mislead” (Gaultney et al., 2022). Fake news is everywhere and is threatening democracy. This essay will argue that the spread of misinformation requires not only digital media literacy education, but also the actions of social media companies.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 52% of Americans in the sample rely on digital platforms for their news (Shearer, 2021). Moreover, 53% of people who access news from digital devices use social media to get their news (Shearer, 2021). Because social media is a news source for many, it is easier than ever to be a victim of fake news.

What makes fake news so convincing? Fake news stories often have the same format of real news stories (Huber et al., 2022). This makes fake news stories seem legitimate. Additionally, fake news stories tend to take advantage of the audience’s emotional responses. For instance, if a story makes someone upset, the user may feel more inclined to share this post with others. It is important to be aware of this emotional tactic and approach these types of posts with caution (Fraser Hall Library, n.d.).

To understand the effects of using social media as a news source, we must analyze the structure of social media platforms. Social media companies capitalize on the audience’s attention; they are structured in ways to get users hooked to the app. The main way platforms hook their users is through algorithms that show users what they want to see. This results in users only seeing posts that support their opinions and perspectives, which works as confirmation bias (De Witt et al., 2019). Moreover, the structure of social media platforms practically “rewards” users for sharing misinformation (Madrid, 2023). When a user posts or shares something, attention is drawn to their account. The attention the users get may motivate them to continue sharing posts, without considering if the information they are sharing is accurate (Madrid, 2023).

As for digital literacy education, a research study concluded that this type of education makes people more leery and critical of news (Huber et al., 2022). As awareness of current news events is important in news media literacy, digital literacy education can improve one’s fake news detection abilities. Moreover, it was found that those who are educated in media literacy may view themselves as “effective participants in the democratic process” (Huber et al., 2022). These individuals may feel responsible for correcting disinformation. The study concludes that fake news literacy has a positive relationship to taking corrective action when disinformation is identified (Huber et al., 2022).

I believe that at a consumer level, digital literacy education is the best strategy for combating fake news. Although it is impossible to educate every individual to look at online posts critically, implementing digital literacy education into the education curriculum will create a new generation of critical thinkers. This will lessen the spread of misinformation, as the audience will begin looking at online information from a critical perspective. Moreover, since it was found that individuals who are educated in digital literacy may feel responsible for correcting misinformation, I believe that this is the most realistic way that consumers can mitigate the spread of fake news (Huber et al., 2022).

While digital literacy education is the best mitigation method on the consumer side, there is room for improvement on the side of social media platforms. These companies should be taking steps to combat the issue of misinformation, as they are the ones providing the platforms to share these inaccurate media pieces. To prevent the spread of misinformation, social media companies should put more emphasis on the report features of the applications as well as implementing fact-checkers. For instance, Meta has implemented third-party fact-checkers that flag a post as “false news” (Meta, 2022). This allows users to verify this information before believing or sharing it. As those who are educated in digital literacy may feel responsible for taking corrective actions, this feature would provide a new way for users to combat misinformation.

Although companies like Meta are implementing systems that work to combat misinformation, the sad truth is that these social media companies care more about profits than they do democracy (Muha, 2022). As advertisements are the primary source of revenue for social media companies, they are more concerned with getting as many users to see the advertisement as possible. To maximize the number of users who see the advertisements, they may put out posts with extreme political views into the algorithm to attract attention (Muha, 2022). Therefore, social media platforms operate from a profitability perspective and are done without considering the effect that this may have on democracy.

Social media provides a platform for misinformation to spread quicker than any other time period. Additionally, technology is allowing individuals to alter media, such as photos, videos, and audio (Gaultney et al., 2022). This impacts democracy as news posts may contradict each other, making it difficult for the audience to distinguish fake news from real news. Fake news and misinformation can be used to alter political perspectives of citizens. This can cause citizens to be influenced to vote for political candidates that they may not actually support, thus affecting democracy.

To conclude, digital media literacy has been shown to help individuals view news from a critical perspective. Implementing more critical thinking education into school curriculums will contribute to preventing the spread of misinformation and will encourage individuals to take corrective actions when misinformation is identified. Although I believe that digital literacy education is the best way to prevent fake news at the consumer level, social media companies must take active steps to stop the spread of fake news. I hope to see these companies shift from creating algorithms that only focus on increasing profit, to an algorithm that puts more emphasis on fighting the spread of misinformation.


De Abreu, B. (2021). Gatekeeping Misinformation with Media Literacy Education. Knowledge Quest, 50(2), 26–31. 


De-Wit, L., Van Der Linden, S., & Brick, C. (2019, January 16). Are social media driving political polarization? Greater Good.


Fraser Hall Library. (n.d.). Library website : Elections and politics information: Ways to avoid the spread of false info on social media. Ways to avoid the spread of false info on social media – Elections and Politics Information – Library Website at SUNY Geneseo. 


Gaultney, I. B., Sherron, T., & Boden, C. (2022). Political Polarization, Misinformation, and Media Literacy. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 14(1), 59–81.


Huber, B., Borah, P., & de Zúñiga, H. G. (2022). Taking Corrective Action When Exposed to Fake News: The Role of Fake News Literacy. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 14(2), 1–14. 


Madrid, P. (2023, January 17). Study reveals key reason why fake news spreads on social media. USC News.  


Meta. (2022, October 4). How fact-checking works. Transparency Center.


Muha, T. (2022, October 9). Social media prioritizes profit over people. The Michigan Daily. 


Shearer, E. (2021, January 12). More than eight-in-ten Americans get news from Digital Devices. Pew Research Center. 


I Deleted TikTok and You Should Too

Removing The Distraction

In January 2022, I got a new phone. This meant that my phone had nothing on it besides the default apps that come pre-downloaded onto it. While getting my phone set up, I began downloading apps. I downloaded Instagram, Pinterest, Spotify, etc. Then I began searching for TikTok in the App Store. I thought to myself “is downloading TikTok a good decision?”

Throughout the lockdown of 2020, I was bored and looked for any source of entertainment. I became addicted to TikTok. The algorithm did a (concerningly) good job at feeding me videos catered to my interests. I would spend hours scrolling through the feed; I kept telling myself “one more video” instead of simply closing the app.

Ever since then, TikTok consumed my life. It would affect my sleep schedule, productivity, and social life. I recognized that this was an issue, but did nothing to treat this addiction. Deleted the app require taking an active step to remove this distraction; it seemed easier to keep it on my phone. When I got my new phone, the active step that had to be made was downloading the app. I reflected on this choice I had and decided to see what happens if I simply don’t download the app.

TikTok Logo
TikTok Logo

How My Life Has Changed

Not having TikTok on my phone has drastically improved my life. Of course there are still distractions such as YouTube, Netflix, and Instagram Reels; however, I find that the algorithm on these platforms are not nearly as good as TikTok. Because the algorithm is not as good, I don’t find myself spending hours on these platforms.

I found myself having more time for things that mattered. Instead of using my energy learning about a new TikTok trend or influencer drama, I could use this energy on myself. I began finding new hobbies that are more productive. For instance, I began reading. In 2022, I read 36 books, which is a lot considering I only read one or two books the year before. I also began taking care of myself more. I began going to the gym and having more time to spend with friends and family.

I noticed a big change in my mental health. Spending the whole day on TikTok made me feel terrible about myself. I would feel like a disappointment to myself as I could have used that time in productive ways that would benefit me. Additionally, I started to feel more confident. I no longer spent hours comparing myself to people on TikTok. I used to compare my looks, my personality, and my success to those on the app. Now that I no longer have the app, I find myself less concerned with how I compare to others. Instead of comparing myself to others, I can use my time thinking about ways I can better myself and reach my goals.


If you are considering deleting TikTok, DO IT! The first week or two without the app is difficult, as you may crave the dopamine that TikTok gave you; however, your life will drastically improve if you delete the app. Your days will feel longer, you will become more productive, you will feel better about yourself, and you will discover new and better ways to fill your time.

Here is something to think about:

When you are old and reflect back to your youth, would you rather think about the time you wasting on your phone or the amazing experiences you had offline?