Author Archives: The Weekly Build

Essay 1

The digital space has allowed individuals from all walks of life to voice their opinions, thoughts, and concerns. The way that social media allows content from people of any background to be heard allows for individuals with little political power to have the chance to have a say in things. With things on social media being popularity based, this has made social media a bit of a democratic space. If what you do is popular and notable, this will allow you to be heard by more individuals through likes, shares, and comments. If your thoughts are more radical, you may still be heard however the effects may not be so beneficial. The creation of social media allows for dialogue, and that dialogue is what helps with the democracy of popularity.

Because social media increases accessibility, reduces the political red tape, and allows individuals to be heard, more than 53 percent of Americans use social media as a source for news. Amongst the people who use social media as their primary news source, the highest usage age group is the 18-29 age group. With the usage of digital media, traditional sources such as radio, print, or tv is on a downwards trend in terms of popularity due to availability, and lack of dialogue. Since news can be posted on a digital platform at anytime, this allows individuals to see information as soon as someone posts it. This digital platform also allows for individuals to comment, providing new points of view and an opportunity for conversation. This instant gratification and opinion of others can be an explanation of why individuals in the 18-29 age group like digital media to be their source of news. With this being the case, social media outlets must be careful with what they promote, their algorithms and how they chose to censor and ban individuals.

Since social media allows for free speech and anyone to post anything, it is extremely important to minority groups. With the help of social media, minority groups such as black Americans have been able to find an outlet and a voice in modern media. Fact tank has found that social media is a very important outlet for black Americans. Hashtags such as #blm have gained significant traction and is helping to stop prejudiced actions against black Americans. It has also brought to light the amount of injustice that is occurring and promoted activism amongst people in traditionally prejudiced groups. Since online social media allows individuals to give their two cents when it comes to any post, this further helps improve the traction of tending material. It improves the validity and shows the individual that they are not alone in these opinions. According to a study, 44% of black social media users used a hashtag within a month of the study when posting. This usage empowers other individuals to act when they see problems or actions which are considered injustice. The hashtags help to organize and strengthen arguments due to the sheer volume of people coming forward.

However, this does not mean that all Americans trust social media. Social media is a great tool for individuals to be heard. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that these posts are being fact checked or not being censored. According to a Pew Center Survey, three quarters of American adults believe that social media sites intentionally censor political viewpoints. American adults also believe that major tech companies are more likely to support liberal views. Lastly, Americans are still divided when it comes to sites labelling news on social media sites as inaccurate or misleading for fear of censorship and large corporations playing out their political agenda. Should these corporations label the news according to their rules and terms of use, these sites can quickly become like traditional forms of edited and reviewed media.

It is with this distrust and want of transparency, that 54 percent of Americans believe that social media companies shouldn’t allow any political ads. As social media serves as a source of empowerment and free speech, Americans believe that by allowing political advertisement across social media platforms will turn social media in to a political tool which will reduce the benefit and credibility of these sites. Social media companies have taken note and twitter has banned all sponsored content from political parties all together.

Social media companies need to be careful with their actions so that they do not lose the one thing that differentiates them from traditional media. They need to show their readers that they are not pushing a political agenda and that they are against censorship. If social media sites start to censor certain messages and parties, they will lose their competitive advantage and users may cease to use them. Digital content should be a democracy where popular posts, thoughts, and ideas are shared. The curation of digital content should be natural and should be up to the popular demand of the parties that use the social media sites. They should promote conversation between different individuals and encourage people to speak their mind. When corporations start to push political messages and content that users may not want to see, that is when usage starts to drop off and trust decreases.

Citations

Auxier, B. (2020, October 21). 54% of Americans say social media companies shouldn’t allow any political ads. Retrieved February 23, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/09/24/54-of-americans-say-social-media-companies-shouldnt-allow-any-political-ads/

Shearer, E. (2021, January 12). 86% of Americans get news online from SMARTPHONE, computer or tablet. Retrieved February 23, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/01/12/more-than-eight-in-ten-americans-get-news-from-digital-devices/

Auxier, B. (2020, December 14). Social media continue to be important political outlets for Black Americans. Retrieved February 23, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/12/11/social-media-continue-to-be-important-political-outlets-for-black-americans/

Vogels, E., Perrin, A., & Anderson, M. (2020, September 18). Most Americans think social media sites censor political viewpoints. Retrieved February 23, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/08/19/most-americans-think-social-media-sites-censor-political-viewpoints/

Peer Review #1

For my peer review, I will be talking about http://zeushomes.ca/

Zeus homes is a website by my peer Arshia Esmaeli. This is a site about home renovations that Arshia does with his friend who has a passion for design and construction.
The site is structured more like a website than a blog which is great as this can help the site serve as both a blog and a business site. There are photos, and videos and information about jobs that they have done and what they plan on undertaking. The site is clear in its mission to show its visitors what they want to see. However, since at the time of my review the site is incomplete, the links are not yet working, and I am unable to see it in all its glory.
Somethings that I saw at the time of my review are the missing elements where the stock elements currently are, a slightly difficult to navigate homepage, as well as a bit of a disconnect between the course suggestions and direction. I can see that Arshia is trying to have the site serve double duty as both an assignment and something that can be used for his future endeavours which is the whole point of the course, however I think it might help navigation if the site was setup with a bit of a separation between course material and site material. Overall, I think the site could benefit if Arshia let his self shine through in the site, giving it more character and less of a business feel. I believe this can be done by having the site serve as a main landing page and there could be a blog section where the readers can read the information about the blogs and a website section where readers can find business information such as contact information and what they can do.
The way the site is setup however really plays into what was explained in the digital garden reading. The way that everything is laid out allows the reader to see everything simultaneously without the need for a chronological layout. This side by side layout helps the reader to easily see what it is they want to see without the need to scroll endlessly for a topic. This I think is a great idea as it can help reduce frustration and ease navigation. The site is also aesthetically quite nice and serves its purpose as a construction and design blog. All in all, I believe that with a bit more time and content , the site can serve as a great online self for Arshia and a strong candidate for a site with a strong SEO with all the blog content that is being created.

My Floor isn’t Flat?

I have lived in this house for as long as I can remember. Never have I ever thought to myself “hmm this floor feels like it could be flatter”. This is because the last person that installed the flooring shoved cardboard and drywall compound in areas where there was a bit of a divot. That combined with the underlayment and a thick floor board helped us not notice the inconsistencies. However, since the house has settled and building requirements in the 80s were more relaxed, this has lead to a subfloor with a myriad of inconsistencies.

Because the subfloor was less than solid, we had to lay a metal grid that was screwed down then set with thinset to reinforce it. After that came the dry pack concrete that was use to fill out the low spots and to further reinforce the subfloor. Finally on top of that, we covered everything with a thin set and that was made smooth so that we were ready for floor installation.

Although I never noticed a floor that was uneven, the floor always creaked. I can proudly say that after all these efforts, the floor is solid, flat, and quieter than ever.

If anyone is planning on replacing their floors, I highly recommend fixing the conditions of your subfloor before starting any flooring projects as that will greatly reduce the changes of squeaks or flooring failures.

Hulk Smash

Credit Hdq Walls

As a professional in demolition and destroying things, I have to say, smashing is easy when everything can be smashed. When you try to demolish certain things and not others, that’s when things get tricky. I am used to beating up the bad guys, smashing cars, and crushing buildings. So when Adam asked me to help him with his demolition, I was less than trilled.

Since I couldn’t smash everything but there was heavy lifting to be done, I was super careful in doing what I was doing. I had to make sure that smashing the drywall didn’t take out the pipes and studs behind the wall. You see all these home shows on HGTV where the people look like they have a ton of fun smashing things and breaking things but let me just say, doing this instead of destroying bad guys is so much more work with bad guys, I just go full force and beat them until they’ve had what they deserve, but with this stupid house, I can’t just smash. I think I will just stick to beating up bad guys and not demolishing houses.

The Design Phase

Going from rough measurements to inspirations to bring a design concept to life requires a lot of trial and error, skill, and expertise. Of which I have none.

I started by taking measurements, determining which walls I could move and which elements of the room couldn’t be changed, and I got to work. Going off of inspiration from the hotels I have visited, I went with a simplistic nordic design theme. Since the house is not large and does not have high ceilings, I decided to go with a lot of vertical elements, warm light colours, and simple shapes that did not make the area look busy.

I got the measurements, drew up a basic plan, decided what I wanted to place where, and I sent the details to a graphic artist. The graphic artist took my dreams and helped me visualize them. All I can say is, this is the best money you will ever spend before undertaking a reno. My initial plans were, less than ideal. After hours and hours of tinkering, changing, and moving things around, I was finally able to achieve the photo shown above.

Having a rendering artist turn your ideas into something tangible that you can see can save a lot of money, time, and heartache. Often, things aren’t as you picture and seeing it in a rendered setting can really help before anything permanent is done. For the entire project, I only spent $600 on rendering and this was money well spent.

The Big Move

Its really shocking how much stuff can accumulate in a house over the course of 20 years. Having lived at home my whole life, I never really knew what the house looked like before I existed let alone how much stuff was brought into the house throughout the years.

As we started packing, the one major theme during the packing was thinking about when we bought something. We would constantly come across things that we didn’t even know we still had. Mountains of toiletries, air fresheners, clothes, and electronics that were forgotten and never to be used again. Now was a good time for a big purge.

As we continued, cleaning and packing, we consistently found duplicates of never been used items. At one point, I think a counter 60 bars of soap that had never been opened, just piled up at the back of the bathroom cabinet. I am honestly shocked how much stuff fits into a standard bathroom sink cabinet. You never realize how much crap there is until you dig it all out.

At the beginning, things were packed neatly, labeled, and well protected. We would organize the boxes by item and weight, stacking the largest and heaviest boxes at the bottom and the lighter and smaller boxes up top. As we got closer and closer to the demolition date, things started to become more disorganized, and more disastrous. The day before demolition was scheduled to start, me and my mom grabbed two large bowls and started shoveling the items that we had piled onto the floor. Although we had planned to sort through everything, we had ran out of time and the organizing was to become a later problem. After an hour of shoveling loose items into big Costco Sized tubs, we were finally finished the final packing.

This later problem would soon become a more immediate problem. As we are finally moving in now, we are realizing that everything that we had sorted and labelled were essentially useless. The tubs and tubs of loose items contain the things that we used and required the most. To this day, we are still slowly sorting through the mess of shoveled in bits and pieces. Mind you we have been moved in for 3 months now.

Moral of the story is, don’t buy too much crap, don’t pack stuff you’ll forget about away, and most importantly, plan for more time, always. Packing takes a lot of time.

Process Post #2

This week I have been focused on wrapping up the renovation and finishing the laundry room so that I can have access to a laundry machine for the first time in 5 weeks. It’s funny how sometimes we take the simplest things for granted such as having a laundry machine or running water. It isn’t until you live a few hours or even a few days without these modern-day necessities that you really feel how lucky you are to have these amenities. I’ve also had a slight uptrend in clients to see this week so overall it has been a very busy week. Coordinating contractors and getting things ready to go for completion is not fun. However, I did take on this entire project so I intend to see it through.

The whole push of getting the laundry room completed came from a phone call from the appliance showroom reminding me that I had a set of laundry machines that still needed to be delivered. Since the order has been in existence since May I thought that it should be time that I take delivery of my last pieces. I had gotten so used to using friends laundry machines that I had forgotten that I could actually finish the laundry room before I finish the entire ground floor. I never really realized how complicated and heavy a laundry machine can be until I learned how to set up a laundry set with a pedestal and a whole set of hoses. I used 8 hoses and 3 y connectors to do the whole job as this laundry set was amazingly complicated.

I also had to go a day without water so that the plumber can finish hooking up the laundry box and drainage pipe. Because the renovation involved replumbing the house, some parts of the plumbing still aren’t quite fully functional. This meant that when he had to shut off the water, He had to do it completely and not by zone. While without water, basic things such as cooking pasta or making a smoothie was impossible. Had I remembered to keep a bucket of water handy, this could have been solved alas I had forgot. Moral of the story is, don’t underestimate how much work something can be just because it looks easy, and don’t take modern amenities for granted.