Final Blog Portfolio

Final Blog Portfolio 

Section 1

My best post, Makers: An Admirable and Unparalleled Group, helps me to display me genuine awe for the special group of people who creatively innovate on a daily basis.

My best comment was in response to Anky’s post, “It’s the end of our first semester at Pitt already?”

My next best post is “The Hillman: Breeding Ground for Us Makers”.

Section 2

After completing the midterm blog portfolio, I thought that blogging and online
communication were two activities in which my skill level had in many ways
plateaued. Sure, I had taken giant leaps and perhaps helped my peers better understand my arguments and ideas, but my feelings towards blogging after the midterm revolved around the notion that I could simply not overcome some of the inherent “holes” in my writing. However, upon analyzing my 3 best posts/comments, I have discovered the true extent of my development as a both an online communicator as well as a maker.

The three blogs that were categorized as my “best 3” all exhibit my triumph over the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that I had recognized upon completing my midterm blog portfolio. In general I seem to sound very politically astute in my writings, and am able to provide a personal touch various academic topics. Specifically, I discovered that my writings have been engineered in an anecdotal fashion, as I draw upon numerous personal events that help to substantiate my arguments and ideas. Since the midterm, I feel as though my online blogging skills improved in both style and clarity. As I analyzed my best 3 blogs I discovered that the major “hole” in my writing had been filled since the midterm. Weeks ago I was using unnecessarily large words in order to relay my thoughts, which in turn obscured my arguments and confused my readers. However, I now am able to still use rather eloquent verbiage in my writings while still being able to connect with my peers on a personal basis. Thus, understanding my writings as whole has certainly become simpler and less stressful.

 Of course, there challenging issues with my writing that must still be surmounted. Although my message to readers has become clearer and more powerful, there still exist some fallacies in my organization and structure. I agree that blogging and writing in general consist of personal styles and tones, but I feel as though I consistently adhere to a strict plan when writing. As the year drives on, I must find a way to break out of this “high
school era” style of writing. The years to follow may brusquely erode my vocabulary skills and succinct ideas only to reveal a layer of rudimentary abilities that were elements of my past. Thus, I must fortify the skills that I have learned in these last 4 months in order to ensure that the strength of my writing does not wither away during the next 4 years.

My sense of making has in many ways been substantially affected by my blog posts as whole. Prior to our fieldtrips, I was simply ignorant of this very special  and innovatively creative culture that simply “makes” for the betterment of society. Websites such as boingboing.net and instructables.com display the advents of making and how such a group of bright and inventive individuals have made everyday life easier. My blog as whole has helped me to discover the maker in me, as I too am able to apply a creative polish to my writings that was acquired through the teachings of our maker themed class. Writing in a public space truly helps to bring out the best in writers, as it reveals their true identities makers and bloggers. For me the ability to write with an underlying sense of freedom has truly helped me to exhibit my truly innovative personality to my peers and professors. Thus, I applaud the maker culture for providing me with an avenue to display such skills, and kudos to the advent of blogging for allotting me an online space where I can show the world all the knowledge Making/Hacking/Composing has lent me.

 

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Final Blog Portfolio

Section 1:

Best post:

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/11/22/its-a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood/

Best comment:

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/10/19/occupy-wall-street/

Second best post:

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/11/03/hack-pittsburgh-2/

Section 2:

I was definitely unenthusiastic about having to post blogs as a part of the course.  I did not know the first thing about blogging. I knew tons of people did it, but I guess I had never gotten bit by the blog bug.  At this point, I still do not feel like I’m ready to jump full-throttle into the blogging community, but I certainly have a greater understanding for what they do.  They have created a world that seems limitless.  No topic is too strange, no idea is taboo.  

In my own online writing experience, I think I might be just cracking the surface of what I see as “making” via online communication. I see the best form of online communication as sharing your opinions and information for just the sake of getting your views and ideas out there. A blogger and maker HAS to get their ideas shared. Otherwise, what’s the point?  I don’t feel that I have truly reached this stage yet simply because I only write the blogs for a grade. I’m not sharing information I’m just dying to have heard.  Though I do care about what I write, the content of my blogs and comments is not inspired by my true passions.  As time has gone by and I’ve gotten more practice, I believe I have taken great strides in this area, writing more and more about what I think is interesting, as opposed to writing about what I thought was expected from me.

I think the closest I’ve gotten to real “making” online is in my Final Project with my online craft tutorial. I have a real passion for making crafts and I’ve put myself and my ideas out there in such a way that I can share it with others and that has given me a real sense of satisfaction.

Thorough the course of the semester, I feel that my blogging has definitely improved. I’ve tried to veer away from the uninspired, cookie-cutter writing that I feel more characterized my earlier posts.  As I’ve developed, my posts and comments have become easier and easier to write because I’ve figured out that there is no true right and wrong way to blog. Everyone has their own style.  I think that as I’ve progressed, my writing has become less rant-like, and more structured in thought flow, like in my Mister Rogers post, which I feel had good, coherent thoughts and substance.   I’ve also remembered to reread my posts before I submit them, which was something that I had a real problem with the Midterm posts.  I’ve also improved on writing about thought-stimulating topics, like my HackPittsburgh post.  The idea of relating topics that I am interested in to topics I’m being forced to write about had never occurred to me before, and it can be a really helpful tip for anyone!

I think my comments have also really improved. I used to read the person’s post and go on a personal rant about something related to the content, but not really reacting specifically to what the blogger said.  Now, like in my Occupy Wall Street comment, I focus more on what the person wrote and try to keep my comment relevant and valuable.  I do still find myself going on tangents in some of them, but in general, I think I’ve stuck to the topic at hand much better.

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Final Blog Portfolio

1.)

Best Post: http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/11/01/sixth-sense-technology/

Best Reply: http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/10/23/just-google-it/#comment-169

2nd Best Post / Reply: http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/10/24/html/#comment-165

2.)

When Professor Vee first told us about the idea of a blog in September, I was not a big fan of it. I wasn’t ready to expose myself to the world. But during the first half of the semester, I noticed that opening up wasn’t as bad as I thought. Early on, I had to force myself to write a new blog entry, but over time it became a subconscious effort. The blog posts started to feel like conversations in class instead of just posts on the Internet. During the second half of the semester, I notice that this openness and conversational writing had allowed me to put a personal touch to my blogs. For example, I’ve probably used more “I”s in one of the second half of my blog posts than from all the “I”s combined in all my first half of blog posts. As a result, I opened up a side of my writing that I previously had never used.

In this process of making the blog personal, I realized that they also became more creative over time. Early on, I kept the blog posts strictly focused within the class. I didn’t have references to things outside of what was discussed in class. This caused my posts to be vague, and I struggled to meet the word count requirement. Then when I was trying to pick my top three posts and comments, I noticed that my best posts were the ones for which I thought outside the box. I referenced ideas which had no direct relationship with the class, but through the blog, I was able to connect the two in a meaningful way. Take for example my post about the Six Sense Technology. In this post, I talked about Pranav Mistry and his innovation. Then I linked it back to Lester and Perry from Makers to create a connection. Through external examples like this, I solidified my argument by adding different perspectives on the subject of my conversation to help strengthen my views. As a result, this allowed it to feel more like a conversation than a writing assignment for class, and I no longer needed to worry about the word count because I often went over it.

I think I have developed myself to be more of a college-level writer, but there is still a key aspect which I need to improve on, and that is syntax. When I started working on this final blog post, I first read every single blog post and comment from oldest to newest. In this process, I noticed a trend which stuck out to me. I was able to pick out more of the errors I missed in my earlier posts than the later ones. This leads me to believe that I have developed as a writer. While I was reading through some of my previous posts to select the right ones for this assignment, I realized that I’ve make many mistakes which I didn’t recognize at first. Maybe my noticing these errors from the past is a good sign that I hadn’t noticed before but can easily detect now. Although personally I believe I need more training, I feel that this shows I’ve undergone much improvement.

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To Blog or Not to Blog

 

Final Blog Portfolio

Karley Snyder

Section 1: Showcase of Writing

Best Post—

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/11/04/i-cant-stop-thinking-about-3d-printers/

Best Comment—

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/11/14/crafting-or-making/#comment-232

Second Best Post—

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/11/10/thanks-to-pittarts-i-am-a-maker-2/

 

 

 

Section 2: Reflection of Work

Online communication is quickly taking over the world. For us Makers, this occurs in the form of our blog posts, a running conversation since the first week of class. Each member of our Makers/Hackers/Composers class has improved our writing—especially in the virtual world. For me personally, I found blogging to be informal and condescending. Every blog I read prior to my experience in this class went along the lines of “Oh look at me, I have awesome opinions that are really important because I’m better than you.” This class, however, showed the almost endless possibilities of blogging.

I feel as if the most crucial part of blogs is the level of engagement with the audience. No one wants to read a boring blog, nor will someone pay attention to something that is not visually appealing on the page. Because of this, I have paid close attention to keeping a level of humor and intellect in my posts. I want my audience to enjoy what they are reading, rather than just skimming through my words. Including graphics and breaking up long paragraphs helps to gain the readers’ attention, and this is one of my main improvements over the course of my blogging experience in this class.

Another important factor in making the ideal blog is to add as much, or as little, information to get your point across. Some bloggers ramble on and on about a task, while others get right to the point of what they are saying. I know I’m guilty of the occasional blog-ramble, but I have mastered the balance of ramble and context over the semester, as well. Sometimes, however, I feel like I need to concentrate my ideas more.  This may still be a challenge, but I do not feel like it necessarily hinders my message (all of the time, at least). Divergence is not always bad—embrace it, productively.

In my opinion, I still have problems with commenting on other people’s posts. I have not completely grasped an appropriate length of reflection. I do, however, try to engage our fellow bloggers to question their ideas even further. I find my frequent questioning to be rather successful, but if I have to improve anything overall, it would certainly be my comments.

My favorite part of blogging is the creative freedom that goes along with the online publication; each and every one of us in this class has the ability to be makers through our words. Some people like to post videos as reference points, while others stick to just text. Either way, one’s message is getting across to an audience in a personal way, which is what making is all about, right? My strength as a blog “maker” comes from the topics I choose to blog about. I have chosen different, often thought-provoking ideas, such as my glass-blowing post. Here I present the class the perks of PittArts through a program I particularly enjoyed. I try to post about topics people will benefit from and enjoy reading. I also try to reflect on various interesting and engaging ideas, such as my post on the three-dimensional printers. After all, blogging is about sharing interests, opinions, and ideas.

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Blogging: A Revisit to the Past and a Plan for the Future

Final Blog Portfolio

Section I: It’s a Masterpiece

After our midterm blog portfolio, I felt confident about my blogging. At least, I knew my way around the course blog. I had a feel for a suitable way to write – mixing my forms of formal and colloquial writing into a thought provoking piece.

After my first test writing on the course blog, I have come across several insightful topics that I have delved into. First, my most prized possession, the best of my blog posts, the top gun, will have to go to my Hackers of Pittsburgh post. From the transition from paragraph to paragraph to the overall message the post conveys, I fully support this is my best post.

Second, I contemplated through the topics my peers have covered over the last two or so months and I found that my comment on BIGmac’s post, “My Flag on the Moon” allowed me to truly evaluate FP 0003. I was able to formulate a response that encompassed what I have learned in my first college writing class here at Pitt and how it will develop me into a successful writer.

Third, and it was surely the toughest of the three, is my decision of that runner-up spot. The piece that wasn’t good enough to be the best, but nonetheless is on the discussion table. Whether it is my post describing Adam Grosser’s Step to Efficiency or my comment on iRush’s post SixthSense Technology, both pieces exemplify quality writing. Subsequently, I have chosen to go with the comment on iRush’s post due to my ability to convey an argument through the examples of our course readings. More importantly, I just thought it was a cooler topic as opposed to a refrigeration flask.

Section II: Composition Statement Alert

After about twenty of these, you would think I’d be an expert at analyzing my own writing, right?

With that, I must say that I found myself with a collection of my blog posts and comments, wondering where I improved and where I could improve. While reading over the lot of them, I came to some conclusions about my writing: I often go from posing a problem and by the end of the piece, the problem is solved and everyone can live happily ever after. It didn’t happen all the time, however, when the post or comment explained about a problem or argument, I found myself talking about similar things every week. Additionally, I sometimes felt that my blogging sometimes dealt with the issue at hand, but did not achieve in answering the overall question because I would pose a different question.

So, I began to read through them again, jotting down the things that I have been doing well. For one, I was able to better incorporate links and pictures with my writing to diversify my blogging skills, mixing different types of styles to spruce up my piece. Moreover, I was able to create a piece that could be easily read. I found that while using an advanced vocabulary is beneficial, the audience you are writing to is more prone to losing the argument you are trying to convey if you misuse a term. Considering that, I began to mesh together a style that incorporated a vocabulary that my audience could understand while still maintaining an eloquent and insightful piece. Furthermore, I found that by using the assigned course readings to foster your argument in a post or comment can really improve the way you write. Whether it is using the smaller readings in class to the larger readings outside of class, an excerpt that supports or refutes an argument only makes your writing more diverse.

I then turned to the message I wanted to transfer along to my audience. What am I trying to say? How can I say it in a way that I’d like to say it?

Over the entirety of my blogging career, I feel that communicating through blogs has made me into a more successful writer. It has given me the opportunity to say what I need in a manner that pleases me. In a makers generation, there are an abundance of resources that can help makers receive recognition for their work. From Instructables, Doctorow’s Boing Boing, and Makezine, to events like Maker Faire’s and conventions, makers have access to many different utilities to be acknowledged. Yet, people similarly to Perry and Lester, sometimes they need someone to discover them, someone to notice their talents and display it to the world. The makers that have access to the Internet and to a space to write online truly fuel the rest of the making world.

But how? How can a bunch of crazy individualists, DIYer’s, and innovators fuel the making world through a few blogs?

These makers have the ability to write about their progress, their thoughts, their road blocks, everything that has to do with the making generation. They are those who can openly post about their successes, their failures, and their ideas into a world that can create what they create. The maker movement very much depends on spaces like blogs to survive because it is how they communicate.

If I wanted to find an easier way to mount my phone in my car without keeping it in a cup holder, I can go to Instructables and find a way to do so (What is a maker?). If I wanted to just make life easier, I can go to these websites, read these blogs, and become a maker of my own. The makers who are able to provide the maker movement with their knowledge keeps it going. Blogs are the most efficient way for makers to be consistently in touch with each other, exchanging ideas, possible projects, and known failures.

Through the material that I have introduced in my posts and comments on the Making/Hacking/Composing blog, I have been able to become a maker. Someone who can introduce new ideas to the table, create a discussion to exchange ideas, and develop a system of constantly improving.

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Final Blog Portfolio

Best post:

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/?p=605

Best comment:

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/10/19/book-vs-ebook/#comment-164

Next best comment:

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/11/07/hackpittsburgh-2/#comment-216

Posting on the blog was definitely a new experience.  I was challenged to come up with interesting (and concise!) things to post.  But ultimately I feel like it helped me improve my writing.  Ninety-nine percent of the time I caught myself babbling about hackers/makers without paying attention to the word count.  Then by the time I got to the editing phase I had to cut out more than half the text I wrote.  It required that my writing be direct and focused. 

                This is the main reason I chose these specific posts/comments.  I felt those posts had the most interesting arguments and substance.  Also, they were ones I really struggled to condense, therefore I spent the most time on them.  I feel that with practice I could only improve and now rereading them I know they could be even better. 

                The Midterm Blog Portfolio feels like it was centuries ago.  I learned so much about writing in college and writing on the internet since the beginning of the year and even in these couple months my style has improved infinitely.

                I still have issues thinking of topics and for me that was and is the most challenging aspect of writing online.  For my blog and especially for the website assignments, forming cohesive and creative arguments was tough.  I really had to put a lot of thought into every page, post, comment.  But as the year progressed I definitely noticed that the ideas came to me quicker and I was able to expound on them more efficiently.

                Making is such a broad term that I feel almost any type of creative process could be related to it.  However, this being said I definitely feel that blogging and joining in a movement that is so important to “Makers” and “Hackers” is so cool.  Cory Doctorow’s novel, Makers, stresses the significance of writing on the internet and the power of blogging.  And although sometimes I felt he exaggerated some details at the core of the matter this is true.  For every maker to be successful someone has to share their work and present it to the world.  Instructables.com is a clear (real-life) example of this very concept.  And I am proud to say I’m a blogger too.

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Final Blog Portfolio

Section 1:

Post

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/10/23/basque-group-calls-for-peace/

Comment

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/10/19/occupy-wall-street/#comment-154Comment

Comment

http://www.annettevee.com/fall2011_fp0003/2011/10/31/back-in-the-good-ol-days/#comment-192

 

Section 2:

 

I evolved from a strictly five-paragraph writer to a writer that expresses actual purpose and interest.  Looking at my posts from the first half of the year to now, I realized how the passion within my writing changed.  The posts that say something, I found, have real purpose to the writing rather than a required style of writing.  In a required style, the writing was boring and repetitive because I had nothing interesting that I wanted to say because I was solely writing for a grade.  They weren’t engaging as my posts and comments are now.  For example in my post about the Basque Group, I addressed specific questions relating to a debatable and current topic.  I also included an article about specific information.  Because of the questions, I received more of a response than posts from earlier in the year, where I simply wrote about a random topic, not asking questions.

When I post about something relevant to my peers, that contradicts their beliefs or supports them, it spurs debate and fire to get our brains stimulated.  When our brains become stimulated, profound information surfaces.  My improvement in asking questions shows when more comments are left; the comments indicate that I found a topic in which people want to discuss and I prompted good questions.  Because I have such an interest in political mattes, I find it hard to pick other topics that my classmates will enjoy reading about.  When this occurs, I can definitely see a decrease in discussion; therefore, I believe it most important to find topics they will enjoy, which I sometimes struggle with.

The blog allowed me to discuss and ponder more than I ever have.  Before communicating online, I was restricted to my own thoughts about a topic.  On the blog, I can bring up a topic in which I want other inputs.  My blog posts help me develop a sense of making because of the discussion I make with each post or comment.  I noticed on Cory Doctorow’s blog Boing Boing, he and others talk about completely different topics; therefore there is something interesting for everyone.  One post showed an article about the process of making Spam, and another where Cory Doctorow posted about Minecraft.  When people write in a public space, it inspires others to make something of their own.  Doctorow posted and within a couple hours, he had 18 comments.  People considered his topic and possibly created something similar or completely different.  Either way, he inspired them to make something.

I think the maker movement relies heavily on these Internet spaces.  Hack Pittsburgh and Assemble makers showed the same ideology of whether it is beautiful, ugly, stupid or genius, it doesn’t matter as along as you are making something.  With the online communication, people are able to show what they made, which helps others and gives the maker pride in what they created.  Blogging is just one medium for makers to get their ideas noticed and acknowledge.  Online communication plays a vital role in every potential or professional maker’s career.

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It’s the end of our first semester at Pitt already?

Yep. It’s here. Well not here, but it’s right around the corner.

Soon, we’ll all be enjoying our friends and family’s company at the Thanksgiving dinner table reminiscing on old times, updating everyone on current times, and leaving the door open to the what will happen in the future.

Amidst our overstuffed belly’s and incapableness to walk a few steps without taking a breather, I don’t think anyone can help but think about finals and the next semester. We are all trying to leave a good mark here at Pitt and getting off to a good start can only help us start doing that.

Finals are right after our Thanksgiving break and we’ve been discussing many different ideas and some great ones were proposed by Barold’s Finals are coming piece. When all is said and done, here’s a few goals we cannot afford to overlook:

  • Study early
  • Study effectively
  • Stay focused

As fun and exciting as finals may sound, I really am focusing on the next semester already! I was happy to enroll in all of my desired courses and at great times too (no Friday classes #swag). Besides that, I was thinking about how I can do even better second semester. I mean, I have the experience of one semester under my belt, I have a more developed writing palette, and I have the knowledge I obtained with every course I’ve taken so far.

When it comes down to it, I think we all should do a bit of self-evaluating. How did we do in our first semester in college? What were some of our downfalls? How did we overcome them? And how can we improve for the next semester?

Who would’ve thought college is a learning process? Humph.

I leave you with some words by my friend Aristotle – “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

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It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

The topic that I have chosen to write about for our Local Website project is Fred Rogers, the creator and star of the children’s show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. As a kid, I would watch episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood every once and a while. I always enjoyed watching it, but I never really got into it and I did not really appreciated the show for all that it was. Now that I am older and have seen more of the world, specifically, what television has to offer, I have discovered what a goldmine of a show it really was!

We all know what kind of crap is all over television nowadays. In my opinion, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is the exactly opposite of TV’s trash. It’s sweet, it’s gentle, it’s totally safe in every way.  In the past several days, I have been spending long periods of time on Youtube watching segments of the show, and I don’t think I’ve felt so at peace this entire semester… I can’t say I’ve felt the same way after Jersey Shore or The Office.

And television today is so full of fake people doing whatever they can to get ratings and money (of course, not everybody in the TV biz is like this, but you get my point). The beautiful thing about Fred Rogers was that he was so genuine- the image portrayed on his show was what you got in person: a kind, soft-spoken, delightful man. I think that in this way we should all aspire to be more like Mister Rogers… and I’m sure throwing on a zip-up cardigan and boating shoes wouldn’t hurt, either.

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The Open Road vs. The Steel City

I came home for thanksgiving Friday morning, and this extended break is extremely necessary. I’m sure all of you are feeling the same way, even if you’re still cramming in your dorm room right now. It’s so weird driving around in my small town known for Utz potato chips and Snyder’s pretzels (no relation, unfortunately). This town is tiny, and it’s hard to even decide where I want to go out to eat dinner. It’s also really odd driving again. I haven’t touched my car keys since August 22, and now I’m driving every day once again. On my schedule. Without a creepy bus driver.

I love Pittsburgh, and I love city life, but it is so refreshing to be in a familiar, safe area. I showered without shoes on, and I slept in my same bed. Not to mention cooking food myself–man, it makes Market Central seem terrible! There is nothing like home cooked food, as everyone will experience in just a few days. 

One of the biggest things I’ve realized about being on my own in the city is how important college really is, as well as how we are each living in a special privilege every day. I went to Olive Garden with one of my good friends for lunch, and we recognized one girl that graduated with us. She is staying in Hanover, working a nearly minimum wage job, with no ambition for the future. Some people live like this and live completely self-satisfying jobs. But the amount I’ve learned already in college is amazing. I feel more educated, and it’s only been three months. It’s such an honor to me to be able to work for my future, as cliche as this sounds. I’m just not the kind of person that would be satisfied remaining in my home town for the rest of my life (not that there is anything wrong with this).

Anyway, everyone take these couple days to relax and eat lots of yummy food! I’ll be preparing a Tofurky–proving my varied making ability to my family. I’ve already cooked dinner and dessert, and I went to a GIANT craft store called Hobby Lobby–drooling over the making possibilities. I can’t wait to see what everyone makes for their project! Happy Thanksgiving!

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