Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Blog on Blogging

I just finished up a post on another blog, so hopefully that will get the wheels turning for a blog on blogging. My experience with blogging is still limited at this point. I started my first blog with my two best friends less than a month ago and this blog only a few weeks ago. My expectation prior to starting any blog was that I would struggle to find anything to write about worth publishing to the internet at large, and that expectation has been mostly confirmed. What has surprised me is that it isn't necessarily a problem. I see now that a blog does not necessarily have to be writing for a mass audience. Both of the blogs I am writing for now have very specific audiences for a very specific purpose.
This blog exists as a way to share ideas on English for New Media with my classmates and professor. I don't expect that blog readers all over the internet care about how I use Facebook or whether I own a digital camera or not. I'm not writing to gain a mass following. I'm writing to share ideas and perspectives with my classmates.
Similarly, in my blog with my two friends, I'm only writing for them. Anybody else who stumbles onto our page will probably not think our inside jokes or stories about our days are very entertaining. The blog is just a medium for us to write overly long messages to each other or post videos and pictures of ourselves that we wouldn't want to publish on Facebook.
Right now, I have no interest in a personal blog. I don't really need to share my daily thoughts with the whole world, but when I start teaching, I do think I would like to start one. I'd like to share ideas for teaching English with other teachers, but again, that type of blog would have a specific purpose and audience. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Facebook Rules

I love Facebook. I really do. I'm one of those people who has it open whenever I'm working on the computer (a good portion of the day for college students) and brings it up on my phone whenever I'm waiting or bored. I love catching up on news from friends and family, both from the wall posts and pictures or from private messages. That said, the way some people use Facebook doesn't make sense to me and has actually really started to annoy me. The following is a list of my personal pet peeves on Facebook:

1. If you send someone a "friend request" on Facebook, by definition, shouldn't that person at least be someone you know? If you never have and never will talk to a person in the real world, why do you want to see what they post online? For me, Facebook is a place to keep in touch with the people I know, not try to know more about people I don't.

2. Facebook games... I actually just hate games in general, so this one is only partially a Facebook complaint. Just stop sending game and app requests. If people want to play, they'll join.

3. Why are Pinterest and Instagram activities filling up my news feed? Let's keep those accounts separate so I have something to look at when I go on Instagram and Pinterest. Facebook doesn't need to combine every single social media avenue into one site, but it seems that's where it's headed.

4. For me, Facebook is a place for entertainment. It doesn't sit well with me when people post about the death of a loved one, a complicated religious question, or a provocative political post and it shows up between a joke someone shared and pictures from a weekend party. I think we need to keep the more serious topics off Facebook and give them the respect of personal conversations rather than mass posts.

5. In life, we don't have as much control over how people see us as we do online. If we blurt something out in a face to face conversation, we can't take it back. When we say something in a Facebook post comment, we first have a buffer by having to type it out and hit send, and then we have the option to delete it after it's been posted. If someone sees us making a bad decision, we can't go back and change what they saw, but we can refrain from putting a picture of it up Facebook for the whole world to see. On Facebook, you controle what goes up and stays up on your wall, so put your best face forward! Keep it clean for the parents, teachers, and employers who might access it, but also keep it un-annoying for your friends. If you have a terrible life, telling everyone just how terrible it is probably will not help it become less terrible.

[Disclaimer: These are just personal opinions on Facebook, and if you're my friend and do these things, I still love you, and it doesn't actually bother me that much anyway, and now that you mention it, people on Facebook who complain about Facebook are actually another thing that annoys me, so I'm going to try to not be one of those people, starting right now.]

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Go-Go Gadget

A brief history lesson: there was once a dark age of electronic media before Netflix, iTunes, and Xbox Live. I grew up in those days and used hardware like CD players, VHS players, and film cameras. These days, I've digitalized my music, video, and picture devices and added a few gaming systems as well. Here's a comprehensive list of all the hardware I've used to play or create electronic media. The gadgets in italics are the onces I either threw out, broke, or have placed in a drawer for indefinite storage.

  • VHS
  • DVD
  • Bluray
  • Tape/CD combo player
  • Portable tape player
  • Portable CD player
  • iPod Nano
    • 1st Generation
    • 2nd Generation
    • 4th Generation
    • 7th Generation
  • iPod/CD combo player
  • Gameboy Advance
  • Gameboy Advance SP
  • Playstation 2
  • Xbox 360
  • Polaroid
  • Film camera
  • Digital camera
All of the above:
  • iPhone 3G
  • Blackberry Storm
  • iPad
  • Macbook Pro
As a college student, I can't imagine life without the devices I currently use. My laptop is the most essential. Documents, music, movies, calendar, internet access - I use them every day. For the times it isn't convenient to have my laptop with me, I use my iPad or Blackberry and can usually get by. I also need my iPad to read textbooks for most of my classes. The digital camera is a new addition as of this Christmas, but I already take it everywhere with me. The Xbox I could easily live without, but the Bluray player I would miss. I use it more to stream Netflix than to play Blurays or DVDs. When I look at the things I need to do every week, I realize how dependent I am on these gadgets. I couldn't go through the school week without my laptop, iPad, and cell phone, and I would sorely miss my Blueray player and iPod/docking station. You could argue that kind of dependence isn't ideal, but all of these electronic media devices have allowed me and other students the ability to do more things, more quickly, more easily, and more sustainably. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Get a [Social Media] Life!

My first lesson in social media was this: create the account first, then ask for parent permission. My great trauma in middle school was not having an MSN messenger account like the other kids. I created a persuasive powerpoint presentation on the advantages of joining (a happier daughter, faster typing skills), but my parents didn't want their kids spending much time on the computer in the first place. Over a year later, my dad finally caved, though I had learned my lesson. When my friends started talking about Facebook, I knew I had to get one as soon as possible, before my parents had time to forbid it. In March of 2007, I set up my account and used it periodically. As more of my friends began creating accounts, I started spending more time on the site. These days, I'm grateful for the site as a way to stay in touch with family and friends from home. I don't often post statuses, but I do post quite a few pictures. I also post to friends' timelines and keep connected with FB chat. Check it out here.

Facebook was enough for me for the next five years, but I finally "jumped on the Twitter bandwagon" (my first tweet, incidentally) last January. My brother has informed me that I don't use it very well, and it's true. I don't have much to tweet about, but I do check it every day. Anyone who follows me would be greatly appreciated. It might help stop my little bro from comparing his 237 followers to my 55.

Blogging has been my newest foray into new new media, and this is actually the second of two blogs I contribute to. Over Christmas break, my two best friends from high school and I started our own blog to keep in touch while we are away at school. Unfortunately,  we posted some pictures of us from middle school, and I can't let you all see those without humiliating myself. No link to that - sorry!

To a lesser extent, I've started using Pinterest and Goodreads over the last year. I love them both, but I try not to spend too much time there. Pinterest can eat up an afternoon pretty quickly, but I've found some cool stuff there. If you want some fantastic book recommendations  check me out on Goodreads.That's about all for me. No MySpace. No YouTube. Just the basics.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Hey there! Welcome to my blog. I'll be updating this often with assignments from my Fundamentals of English for New Media class, and maybe a few orignal ideas too. Hope you find something interesting,  funny, life-changing (probs not), ect.