Thursday, August 29, 2013

Comparing blogs

About a week ago, while I was still at home, I decided to take my car out for a spin. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but because I recently purchased a vehicle with a five speed manual transmission, and I'm still in the learning process, at least in terms of clutch control. In any case, the drive was going smoothly until I managed to stall a few times at a stop sign on the corner of my street. Disheartened, I took it home and parked it in my driveway and angrily stormed into my house. For some reason I was in an advice-seeking mood, and I googled something about finding the 'friction point,' which is the point where the clutch begins to engage the engine as you slowly release it and step on the gas. What I ended up finding was a blog called 'Home of the Owl.' The post I read was about the author teaching her son to drive a five-speed, and the way he struggled through it, starting and stopping in a parking lot for hours until he had it down. And although the article didn't really give me any technical advice, I found that it calmed me down a lot, and it served to reinforce what I had heard from a lot of people, which was that you can really only learn it by doing it. As I continued to peruse this blog, I read entries that told of the adversity faced by the author and her lesbian partner in raising their son, who is called only 'the giant' on this blog. By the time I got off the computer, I was in a great mood, and the blog has remained in my memory since.
When I read the criteria for this assignment, I knew I had to mention this blog. So I looked up some other blogs with posts about driving a stick, and I found that none of them really did for me what the owl had done. Many of them, such as 'Nathan's driving school' had good tips on how to become technically proficient at driving a stick, but nothing they had to offer was anything I didn't already know. I found that the owl had a very sincere and engaging writing style (perhaps not surprisingly-she's a teacher). Not only did her article help me and amuse me, it made me interested in reading anything and everything else that this person might possibly have to say. I didn't really find much else on the subject that came from such a personal angle. As far as the set-up and appearance of the blog, I liked it for the warm colors and occasional inclusion of pictures, but it could have looked terrible and I would have liked it just as much. The owl tackles a wide variety of subject matter and always tries to tie in some kind of personal insight, which I think is cool. For me, this blog was head and shoulders above the rest, and I think you guys should check it out.

and here are some others I looked at:

Food Blog Field Day

Topics that have thoroughly interested me since I began high school would fall in the category of genetically modified organism and the factory farming industry. One of the more recent laws that has been passed regarding that matter is a bill nicknamed the "Monsanto Protection Act," and the blogging world is having a field day with the topic.

I looked into three different blogs about this bill in order to better understand what exactly is going on. The first blog was relatively neutral partied blog that explains what exactly is so controversial about the bill. As this blog explained, the Monsanto Protection Act has not increased the divide between liberals and democrats, but actually brought the Tea Party and Environmentalist Parties together against the so-called "Frankenfood." There were several points brought up by the article that create concern. This bill was lumped under one big bill that, if left unresolved, would have "shut down the government." This section of the bill is actually really small, and it is believed that most of the politicians didn't know the section was included in such a broad piece of legislation. But how did it get thrown into such a large bill that the section was overlooked? The blog quotes one Tea Party Member, "[T]his all can be boiled down into a single, common phrase: a special interest loophole, and a doozy at that," writes Dustin Siggins, who blogs for Tea Party Patriots. "This is a situation in which a company is given the ability to ignore court orders, in what boils down to a deregulation scheme for a particular set of industries." The way the bill was passed was unethical in a political sense, and as such, many seek to have it repealed. 

Not only does the blog explain the controversy about the way in which the bill was passed, but also the power of the bill's content on the farming world. It explains how the people protesting the bill claim that it protects Monsanto from possible lawsuits for their products potential to become harmful. The article presents the other side of the argument, in that the bill is helpful to farmers who plant GMOs, as it protects their farms from being destroyed in case GMOs are found to be harmful. The article then includes the text of the Monsanto Protection Act, followed by the names and statements of some congressmen who are at fault for the bill.

Overall, this first article was very informative, neutral, and unbiased, as it portrayed both sides of the argument, in addition to the actual text of the controversial bill. The writing style was very accessible, as it was not based in lofty language that required deciphering; rather, a way of wording that was friendly and open, even to people who may know nothing of this bill at all. The blogging site itself seems to be an environmental one, but the other side of the argument was presented in a neutral fashion. Overall, a very good source of information.

The second blog I looked at was one that protested the Monsanto Protection ActThis blog primarily rallied around the idea that President Obama has betrayed the people he stands to serve by passing the Monsanto Protection Act. They offer multiple points of contention, claiming that Obama ignored hundreds of thousands of letters begging him not to sign this section into law, and therefore has a responsibility to his people to not only repeal the bill, but also to label GMO products in various types of food. There are multiple sources to an online petition to begin the mandating of labels for GMO products in addition to a petition to get Obama to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act. Simply put, the blog is very one-sided, uninformative, and rather unorganized. There’s a small snippet of text with the general theme of “Obama has betrayed us” which then leads into a petition or resource to make a change. The blog is very good at supplying options for making a change, and even prompts the readers with another pop-up petition as they open the blog. If I wanted my voice to be heard, this blog would definitely make me feel like my opinion was heard, but if my opinion was different, I wouldn’t like this blog very much at all. It is extremely one sided, and uses a lot of language that is borderline elitist, as if the public unanimously agrees that GMOs are bad and should be labeled. I definitely prefer the first blog to this one, as the first one was more neutral, informative, and organized.

The third was a libertarian political blog that not only supported the Monsanto Protection Act, but claimed that the negative effects of GMOs were part of a conspiracy theoryThis blog is more informative than the second one, but it’s tone is extremely condescending if a reader believes that GMOs are in fact harmful. It consistently uses words such as “Imagined health risks” which makes the reader feel as though the opposite view of the author is not only invalid, but completely absurd. However, the blog brings up valid points as to why some of the hype about the controversial Monsanto Protection Act may simply be blown out of proportion. It definitely offers the other side of the argument regarding this act, but the impact of its message was lessened by the condescending tone of the work as a whole. The organization of the blog was excellent, as each point was listed in bold and then further elaborated upon in the section below it. If the article was more polite to the other side of the argument, I would have appreciated the points a little more and I definitely would have read this blog again. Tone in a blog really goes a long way, and the condescension of this one was something that immediately turned me off of the blogger’s work.

Articles for Class 8-29

I'd also like you all to be able to open these articles during class today:

Does the Internet Make You Dumber?

Does the Internet Make You Smarter?

In groups, please talk across these two articles. In particular:
  • What is the main argument of each piece?
  • How could you bring these two pieces into conversation with one another? 
    • They certainly offer different perspectives; are they contradictory?
    • What surprised you? What interested you?
    • Do you tend to align yourself with one or another? Do you find one more compelling? Why?
    • To what extent does each argument resonate with your own lived experience?
  • If you have time after the above discussion, spend a bit of time talking about the writing: what approaches did each author use to make and support their arguments? What approaches do you find more or less compelling as a reader?

Blogs, blogs, blogs

You found such a great variety of blogs! We might look at these in class, so I want you all to be able to open them.

Live Music Blogs

Since my passion is music, I decided to research blogs that review live music. When I googled "live music blogs" I expected the plethora of search results I received, but I had expected them to be better quality results. Most blogs I glanced over where either irrelevant to me or out of date. But there were three blogs that I decided to critique and it definitely opened my eyes about the possibilities of live music blogging. 
Live Music Blog was the first website that caught my eye. The landing page was filled with pictures, and since I am a very visual learner and interpreter, I was automatically intrigued. It was very easy to browse this site and it's articles quickly, which is very important to me, as well. Since this particular blog reviews music from around the world, there were many articles that I could easily looked passed if the title or small picture didn't interest me. I really liked the voice the blog inflected, too. I think music has a laid-back appeal to it, and this blog definitely understood that. It used appropriate language that kept me reading and broke up the articles in such a way that you could easily find a part that was particularly interesting to you. Compared to the other blogs I read, this blog is definitely most geared towards my favorite genres of music. It is exactly the type of blog I would enjoy reading because, in my opinion, it incorporates all the most important aspects- easy navigation, pictures, flow down the page and appropriate voice. Even though not all the articles may be particularly interesting to me, I appreciate the variety of music they cover because I enjoying learning about new music too. 
Yahoo!'s music blog was much less exciting than "Live Music Blog". From the first page I immediately knew this blog was much to "mainstream music" for my liking. On the right-side of the page was a column of "Most Popular Videos" which included every popular, overplayed radio single of the summer-- blehhhh. The articles on the landing page of this site were much larger than "Live Music Blog" and instead of seeing dozens of pictures and titles that were easy to glance through, this site had large previews of text from the articles that, in my opinion, took up too much space on the page. Scrolling down the page, I could only see one or two article titles/pictures/previews at a time, as apposed to 6-8 titles/pictures on the "Live Music Blog". One thing I did like about this blog was they also Incorporated video in there articles that would automatically start as your scrolled down the page. This would have been annoying if the sound started playing too, but they were muted, with the option to turn the sound on. After looking through this site more, I did find more appealing articles to glance through, but all-in-all I would say the music reviews in the blog were too mainstream for my interests.
ArtVoice is the local, Buffalo arts and entertainment guide. Their music blog, found on their site, is called "Exit Music." As expected, it covers local music events and news. Although I think this blog is a great local piece, it fails to catch my attention as easily as "Live Music Blog." It isn't fancy or even that creative with the layout, and could really be just a page about anything. I read this blog occasionally, as I find it is a good source for local music news, but I would love to see this page be improved with a better layout and navigation. It really is just a subset of the ArtVoice page but could be an independent site itself. I think our local music deserves the "fancy" web page with bright pictures, catchy titles and flawless navigation. Maybe I could do something about that...

A Concept Art Blog Analysis, Pretty Much

Being a visual arts major (illustration, specifically), I decided to look at concept art blogs, which comes as no surprise to anybody, at all, ever.

Concept art is a vital part of creating the worlds we see depicted on screen in film, games, and other visual media; it's the canvas upon which that created world is built upon, whether it involves a Tolkien-themed fantastical approach, or giant robots punching sea aliens repeatedly in the face. Much of its goal is to finalize character design and concept, which is usually most important in a production which relies on a sympathetic—or at least relatable—protagonist. Location concepts are also a big factor, especially if it's a big fantastical production, or a sci-fi epic, or whatever you like. Even in garden variety films or games that take place in a world very similar to ours, everything must be designed and finalized, and that begins with concepts from the art department.

Also, generally, concept art blogs? Not a whole lot of writing. Mostly just art. (Sorry.)

The first blog I stumbled across, The CAB (Concept Art Blog), was in Portuguese. My limited understanding of the language doesn't negate the cohesive design and presentation, though; even if you aren't a Portuguese-speaker, it's easy to navigate. I spent about ten minutes scrolling through the site with an unholy amount of delight. Excellent composition, and what looks like comprehensive notations on each piece, or pieces. I liked it. 

Next stop was Concept Art World, another excellent site with pleasing visuals. Usually when you're dealing with artists, you're dealing with a very well put-together website. We're big into the whole Pretty Thing; it distracts from our chronic inability to write anything in-depth about what we create. It helps that the blogs I've been visiting are Grade-A Professional, and not as personal or informal as I should probably be looking for, but there are few informal blogs that comment on concept art as a whole, rather than the art created by the individual themselves. This site is good. All-encompassing. Again, I liked it. 

Lastly, we've got Fuck Yeah Concept Art, which, again, easy on the writing, but altogether a great resource for people interested in the entire idea of concept art. There are links to articles, and you can search by tag (always a helpful feature) and there's a focus on the artists featured, rather than just their work. Unlike the previous blogs, the design leaves something to be desired, as the platform (Tumblr) follows set templates, much like Blogger.

Out of the three, I'd visit Concept Art World a bit more frequently than the other two. A) I can understand it, and 2) It's shiny. All three of them are great for the concept art connoisseur, but I think CAW is most appealing to me as a resource. 

Feeling Homey Online

I began my search for home design and/or interior decorating blogs. Though I do not have a necessary interest in the subject, I figured a blog focused on design would be a great place to view well-designed and visually pleasing webpages.

The first blog I explored was Young House Love, whose webpage was exactly how I expected it to look. Naturally, the design of the page drew me in right off the bat with bright colors and legible text- it had a very professional look. The homepage offered links to other miscellaneous pages categorized by subjects such as "projects," "galleries" and "forums." These links made it easy to navigate the site as a whole and served as a way to organize separate ideas.  I enjoyed the content of the blog because it offered ideas for DIY projects and shopping advice for home decor, but the site owner also used the blog as a personal outlet to post her own projects, ideas and other blogs.

The second site I visited was titled Addicted 2 Decorating. Visually, I actually ended up enjoying this blog the most out of the three based on its overall aesthetics and layout.  The homepage had a section called "Featured Posts" which I thought was a really great way to capture the viewers attention. On this site, a brief synopsis of each individual post was offered. Each one was separated by a border and a bold title to help reiterate the subject of each post, as seen below. 

Apartment Therapy was my overall favorite blog. It provided a very broad spectrum of topics and offered tons and tons of articles and information. The categories varied from renovating ideas to DIY articles to housekeeping advice and so on. Even further, each category was broken down into more specific categories; for example, once you've reached the "Style" page, links such as "projects," "green living," "budget living" and "good questions" were provided, (shown below). Apartment Therapy's site even gives viewers to create an account and login in order to request update notifications and join specific forums. 

Overall, I realized that one of the most important aspects of online blogs and websites are the visual designs. No matter how "good" or "substantial" the actual writing could be, the site needs to be visually pleasing in order to keep the viewer's attention. It's an interesting concept, really, because it shows that successful digital writing relies on a combination of aspects, not just a compilation of words.


The sacred ceremony of joining two people in Holy matrimony has been a tradition around the nation for centuries, and will forever be an important part of the human experience.  There are thousands of details that surround a wedding including color schemes, dresses, flowers and location, just to name a few.  The details can be a direct reflection of taste and preferences.  As I was searching the internet for blogs about weddings, the possibilities were endless.  Links to bakeries, bridal stores and vendors filled every inch of each blog, giving future brides many choices and options.  I have a slight obsession with everything that has to do with weddings so this was the obvious choice for my topic!  Here are the three blogs that I searched:

Style Me Pretty
Green Wedding Shoes
100 Layer Cake

Each blog has a very simple design, making each link and page not so overwhelming to look at.  A bride can have a lot of stress on her, and the design of the websites created a calming sensation and a relaxed feeling.  The layout of the website was also very simple, making navigation around the site very easy and stress-free.  I think that this is a very important aspect for a blogger to take into consideration when created their blog.  In order for a blogger to have an audience, they need to create a website that is simple to use and specific.  If there are confusing directions or no organization, a computer user is not going to want to return to the blog or website.

Each wedding blog provided links at the very top of the page with links that navigated around the website to specific topics such as "Real Weddings", honeymoon destinations and activities and "DIY Projects."  These links are one of the most important components to have, especially for a wedding blog.  Each link led to more sections of the blog that provided access to all types of themes that would be useful to all types of brides and ideas.  It is important to target a more diverse audience than a more specific and concentrated one in order to increase the amount of usage that a person could use your website.  My favorite link came from the "Style Me Pretty" blog under the tab of "Real Weddings".  This link provided access to real weddings of all different themes, size and budget.  This page provides a wide variety of options for every type of bride.

Surprisingly, each blog was set up in a very similar way and provided a lot of the same information and ideas.  These blogs only further contributed to my obsession and I think would provide a future bride with a lot of imperative information that will jump start their planning. 

Underage Drinking Blog Analysis

The trend of underage drinking is something that I've grown up having to deal with between the media, lectures from parents and involvement of my friends.  And who's to say I never enjoyed in the occasional outting before I was of legal age?  But now at 21 years old, almost 22, and incredibly boring (I blame the underage drinking and getting it "out of my system" before college started) I see these adolescents's pictures on Facebook or hear about it through the grapevine, and I have a whole new perspective on the issue.  Are some of these kids doomed to drink and have alcohol problems the rest of their lives?  Maybe just be the partiers in college?  Or similar to me, do all the fun stuff now and when college comes be able to focus on their school work, going to work and making a life for themselves?  

The three blogs that I looked at were all very similar in a way but also had their differences.  The first one, MADD, was a blog connected to an actual website against underage drinking and drunk driving and the dangers of it.  The second, written by a college student, discussed the danger and precautions of underage drinking while offering a website to offer support for any alcohol abuse out there.  And the third blog from the American Journal of Nursing  also talked about the dangers of underage drinking but also included a link for parents or teens to use for safer ways of drinking or talking about it.  

All three blogs' designs were well crafted. Each one used personal stories or experiences to begin their blog which grabbed my attention.  Since they weren't just rattling off statistics or researched facts the whole time, I wanted to read their blogs since the issue had personally effected them. The first blog was written a little more formal though, but maybe that's because she was mom and offered tons of information on the issue of teen drinking and when to look for it or how to talk about it. The second wasn't as formal, being written by a college student who lived through the issue in college but didn't partake in the drinking herself.  She gave her own tips on how she stayed away from the drinking but was still able to enjoy herself.  I think this one would resonate with younger drinkers since they would be able to relate to her more due a smaller age-gap. The third one was written by the editor of the journal and to my surprise she wasn't long winded at all.  Hers had the most personal feel with different stories adding to the statistics of underage drinking.  And she was realistic about how teens will drink, so it's up to parents to help them learn responsible drinking.  

As far as the overall look of the blogs go, the first two offered pictures between every paragraph or every-other, and the second one also included concise large print mini-sentences to grab the reader's attention and give her an idea of what the next paragraph would be about.  I really liked that because it was eye-appealing, grabbed my attention and also broke up the entirety of the blog smoothly and made it more reader friendly. The third had no pictures or major breaks, but like I mentioned before had more stories involved which helped me transition from paragraph to paragraph without needing anything to  add more space between them.

I would probably stick to reading the third blogger's blog because hers was the most fun to read.  It had a lot of information in it, but the way she presented it wasn't like she was "shoving it down my throat." She was easy-going in giving her statistics and how she looked at underage drinking, so I imagine the rest of her blogs would be written in the same manner about other health risks and issues.  The other two were still very well written, and I did enjoy how they broke theirs up with pictures and what not, but I felt like they had an attitude of (think the voice of the gym teacher in Mean Girls): Don't drink.  You will get drunk and die." 

I'm not saying it isn't a serious issue, because it is, but the editor of the nurse journal was more realistic in giving helpful tips for safe drinking rather than trying to take it out of the equation completely. Because lets me honest, if you tell teens they aren't allowed to do it guess what?  They are going to try their hardest to get their hands on it.

Video Game Blogs

As far back as I can remember I've enjoyed video games. So, for this analysis I already had one of the blogs in mind. Kotaku is a gaming/cultural blog that I already frequent quite often. It's updated every time I visit and filled with news about the latest games. Intertwined with the news are posts like this one which is more about eye candy then about video games. In comparison to the next two blogs I looked at, Kotaku's heading or site map is posted on the left side of the screen. The side heading allows for easier navigation of the site because it follows you as you scroll through the posts on the right side of the screen.

The next blog I checked out was That Video Game Blog. This was a new one for me. I found it after doing a search on google for "video game blogs", and it game up in a top ten list someone had made. It's not a bad blog actually. It's not updated as often as Kotaku, but the topics are focused more on just games. Navigation is fairly simple, if you want to check out earlier posts there is a calender on the main page leading to the archive.

This last blog called The Lone Gamer was also a new one for me. This blog was different from the other two blogs because there is only one author (hence the title). Navigation on the site was a bit confusing. For instance: on the right side of the blog there's a list of different categories to help you search for something to read about, cool. The problem is there are a ton of categories to choose from and are listed in alphabetical order, rather then grouped up by gaming platform like on the other two sites. However, I liked that the author's posts were more in depth then the sampling of the other two blogs. He seemed to really enjoy games and this came out in his posts. I could definitely see myself coming back to this blog in the future, despite the cluttered layout.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blog Analysis: The Travel Trinity

I have been interested in travel and foreign cultures since the very first time I watched the children's television show Madeleine when I was six years old, and after finally having had a taste for travelling last semester I am more passionate than ever.

Before leaving for England I began to research every avenue of living abroad- food, culture, fashion, differences in laws..  I turned to both professional and personal sources of information, but I found online blogs to be the most helpful (and enjoyable).   I loved that I could gain so much insight from a few well written paragraphs and select photographs.  Also, there was never a lack of travel blogs to choose from. There are so many travel blogs out there, but finding the ones that are tuned into your own personal preferences can take a while.  A few of my favorite I have run across are The Vintage Postcard, Atlas Obscura, and Eat Your World.  The first is written by a twenty-something year old woman named Alli who has an educational background and personality similar to mine.  She incorporates her passion for travel with her sense of humor and history in creative writing.  Alli's blog consists of six tabs: About Me, Destinations, Adventure & Adrenaline, Art & Culture, Food & Wine, and Travel Writing.  Each section includes blog entries related to the tab it is organized under, and each blog entry is informative and interesting.  Her blog is aesthetically pleasing and very easy to navigate.

The second blog, Atlas Obscura, is much more professional, but just as intriguing.  The layout is not as user-friendly and requires a log in for much of the content, and the background is not very attractive to the eye.  Despite this, I love the content on the blog.  It is packed full of "hidden" wonders such as animal shaped buildings, Watson Lake sign post forest, and Bannerman's Castle (which is actually in NY) that make my inner adventurer clap its hands in excitement.

The third blog focuses more on cuisine than on places or experiences, but it is really great for discovering what is considered a local dish.  The site incorporates both user-submitted posts as well as their own.  It is also super easy to use- you just click on the country you are interested in and browse the submissions.

These three blogs helped me plan my trip, keep my passion for discovering new places and experiencing new things growing, and influenced certain decisions (what to try, places to check out, etc).  I would love to be able to create a resource that could do something similar to my own readers, so hopefully this course will assist me in doing so :)

Until next time!

Vintage Fashion Blog Analysis

I decided to take a look at vintage fashion blogs. As many of you I'm sure have noticed or perhaps participated in, vintage fashion is making a comeback. In fact, vintage in general is. I am fascinated by the fact that the styles that many were ashamed to once wear, are now what people hunt thrift shops for.

As I looked through various blogs, I noticed that many of them were very simple. The colors that they used for borders and texts were bland, mostly soft pastels, very similar to that of the old styles they were portraying. Some of them, also had pictures displayed in black and white. Many of the headlines were bold, which stayed to true to vintage fashion. Often, fashion used to be soft or neutral colors paired with something bold, which we see frequently in the fashion featured on this blog. The headlines were also old-fashioned, which is only fitting for such a blog. The text and pictures that were featured at the top of the pages, and within them also, were not bold or modern. Only one blog, Sally Jane Vintage, used a bolder headline but complimented it with floral print, which was just the right touch of vintage to bring her blog together. Because these are fashion based blogs, for the most part they were mostly picture blogs. Diary of a Vintage Girl was mostly focused on text and not so much fashion, but the layout was also simple. I also noticed that many of them were well organized, not crowded, and not over whelming. When I'm looking at fashion, I want to see the pictures only. Because they did not use heavy background colors or borders, they focused the attention on the actual pictures.

The writing styles were hard to compare, since some had a lot more text than others. Many of the writing styles were very personal. Many of the bloggers used their own pictures, whether it was of fashion, places, or things. The writing style was as if the person was talking directly to you. It was not as informative as you would think a fashion blog would be. It wasn't necessarily fashion advice, it was just simple pictures and bloggers reflections.

I liked how the blogs were set up for the most part. It would have been nice to be more informed on some of the fashion that was displayed. They mentioned sometimes what designer they were made by, what year the style became popular, but didn't really explain how to get the desired fashion, where the clothes could be bought, and so forth. Many of them, as I said, were reflections which I feel like many people aren't looking for when they are trying to find out how to get the look.

If I chose a blog to read regularly, it would probably be Vixen Vintage. I liked that she had a bit of fashion and a bit of vintage photography as well. There was more pictures than text, but I almost prefer it that way. If you're going to have text, it should be informative. If you're not going to make it informative, I'd rather not have the text at all and let the images guide me into the style I'm looking for. I also found the fashion on that one not quite as outrageous as some of the other blogs. Many of the models were wearing clothes that I would actually wear, unlike some of the others.

Rugby Blog

Before I came to college I never played a sport. So naturally when I got here I decided it was a fantastic idea to start playing one of the roughest and toughest sports around, RUGBY.
My first day at Fredonia as a Freshman, I showed up to practice and I have been hooked ever since.
This is my fourth year on the team, and I still don't know everything there is to know about it, as most people don't. It is a very complex and physical sport so naturally it was easy to find a lot of blogs dedicated to it.

Some of the blogs I did not particularly like just because they were too focused on particular international teams or competitions. Albeit interesting, I would much rather spend my time reading about rugby in a more broad and inclusive sense. The Scottish Rugby Blog page was also way too cluttered and it made it overwhelming to divulge further into.

There were a few blogs I was automatically attracted to just by the titles. "Blood & Mud- The Rugby blog" was appealing, but it was too white so I stopped reading. I had some good information, but there was also a bunch of time-wasting posts on it. I'm sorry, but I really do not car who's jerseys look like spearmint candy.

 I scanned over some more blogs, but "Dumptackle Rugby Blog" jumped off of the page at me. This was the blog that really caught my eye, so I pursued it further.

The reason I chose this blog was because it had a catchy heading that made me curious. I love to hate dump tackles so I had to keep reading. When I opened it up, the colors and picture at the top of the page kept me intrigued, unlike some of the other blogs I had found.
The lettering was kind of small on the page but that is easy to magnify. What really stuck out to me was all of the interesting polls and informational videos that were on the page. It kept me entertained and informed and wasn't just a repeat of regurgitated opinions. For these reason, I chose this blog to be the winner in the
"What blog is worth Skylar's time" competition.


I chose to be in this class for several reasons:
- I needed another credit for my writing minor
- The class is relevant to several of my possible career options (writing, teaching, publishing...)
- I was interested in the topic
- I wanted to further the research I did in past classes on digital literacies
I am looking forward to seeing how this course progresses.  It seems like there will be a fair amount of freedom which will be refreshing for me this semester.

Inspiring the Image- Blog Analysis

The world of photography is an expansive universe. From nature to wedding photography, there are no limitations upon what can and cannot be photographed. Frequently photographers choose to specialize in an area- finessing the skills required to succeed in that specific area throughout their lifetime. A person in general, much less a photographer, never stops growing and learning; no matter what the subject may be about. Therefore, many photographers have blogs in order to share their work with the world and to inspire other aspiring or professional photographers within their field. 

As a free-lane wedding photographer during the summer, I searched for three blogs that truly capture the essence of what it is to be a wedding photographer and work that exemplified such. 

Each wedding blog surprisingly had a similar layout; a logo in left upper-hand corner and several tabs following on the right-hand side of the screen. A very basic design, but one that is clean and appealing to the eye of a viewer. There is nothing worse than being overwhelmed by a screen of words and pictures that have absolutely no direction. As primarily photo-based blogs, the main goal of the design should be to enhance the pictures as much as possible. Fearless Photographers have done a beautiful job with that. The blog prides itself on “wow” pictures and they execute that idea well. However, there is not much else happening writing wise throughout this blog. Within Melissa Jill Photography and Modern Wedding Photography, there is a pleasant balance between the amount of image and words within the blog. The viewer is not forced to stare at one thing or another, but to take each variable within the blog into account.

Melissa Jill Photography was a personal favorite to look through regarding writing style. The blog displays various photographs but then goes onto tell the viewer how these photos were taken and considerations to keep in mind. The style is casual and easy to comprehend, without including too many technicalities that might scare an amateur away. For a photographer, this blog is ideal! However, if the viewer is a bride or a groom looking for a wedding photographer, this may not be the case. They might be looking for something more like the Modern Wedding Photography blog. From this blog, a viewer can either attain inspiration for what they want their own wedding photographer to recreate or they can search for a photographer that fits their personal needs. What I really found enjoyable about the writing in this blog was being able to get a glimpse into the stories of the people within the pictures. A small blurb sharing details about the bride and groom and facts about the wedding itself is always included alongside the various pictures. This gives the viewer a sense of personalization and reassurance that their wedding photographer truly cares about their day. Whereas, Fearless Photographers is all about style and making an impact on their viewers. There is not much writing, but a whole lot of pictures! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can be confusing to a viewer in regards to what they’re looking at. 

All three wedding photography blogs are different, but also have strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I would choose to read Melissa Jill Photography only because of its relevance to what I do. However, if I were somebody with a budding interest in photography, I may find myself looking through Fearless Photography. If I were searching for photographers as a bride, I would probably end up at Modern Wedding Photography. The photography world is so large that there is a never-ending supply of blogs to search through. There is something for everyone within each of these blogs and I find that is the greatest strength within them all. 
I checked out three blogs after typing classic car blogs in a search engine.

    Amberlight was also called Frank's Blog as well. It was well written, though it was more about what Frank was doing at the time. It was jamed with interesting factoids, but it is not specific to any type of car. It had pictures of cars that Frank was working on and short narritives of the work performed to the cars. He also had a few videos that he found ammusing. It also was more humorous than the others, and if I read it again it would be just because I wished to be entertained.
    Classic Nation seams to be run by two people, Nick and Ivan. I believe they are the only ones that can post on this site because they are the only ones that do. Others that visit the site can comment on the posts. It is set up different than Amberlight. Visiters can look through the posts which have a picture of the featured car, a title and a few words from the post. Once again I think that Ivan and Nick just post about what ever they run into. It would not be a real source for information about a specific model. There classified section had a lot of nice cars for sale. Unfortunatly, they are mostly very far away and very expensive. I would only visit again if I wanted to drool over them.
    Fossil Cars has blog section, but I beileve the site is mostly about selling cars. I saw no posts by anyone other than Fossil Car's staff. Pinning or sharing the blog is about all a visitor can do. The site is broken down into manufacture groups and car names are in blue. The name is a link that takes you to the classified section. Staff writers must make feature articials on cars they have in the system to bait you into buying one. I will not be returning to this site. Clicking on the forum tab sends you to a place were car owners can share tips and tricks in repairing their cars. I would return to this site if stumped on a repair.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blog Analysis

I decided to focus on Autism/Asperger's. 

I found 3 different blogs that I found interesting and read through them. Here are the links and what I thought of them :

Aspie From Maine

Adventures In Aspergers

The design of all three blogs really caught my eye at first sight, which is why I chose them. I normally don't give bland pages a second look. Each of them are set up in their own personal ways and it really gives a glimpse of this particular blogger's life. I chose one from a Father, a Mother, and someone living with Autism. This gave me a variety of views to read from. 

From the father's point of view, it's very personal, close and touching all while realizing that Autism isn't horrible, unless you make it. He has some bad days mixed in with his mostly good days, just like everyone else in the world. He is sarcastic, humorous and child-like (which is probably why it's enjoyable for me to read and for him to be with his son, Jayden). While reading Aspie From Maine I see into her life of dealing with having Asperger's at such a late age. She uses it more like a diary to the world while the others are advice givers and seekers. The mother uses the blog more like a story/novel of her life with her son with Autism. These are all written with their own crafts which makes them all interesting depending on what you enjoy reading. 

If I had to choose one of these to read everyday it would be the Father's point of view, Adventures In Asperger's because it is the most inviting and most like how I like to believe I would act in these situations with that child. He uses as many visuals as he possibly can while also keeping his child calm and I love that! 

I don't like the smallness of the text in Aspie from Maine and I don't enjoy no use of pictures in either of their blogs. I love that in Adventures of Asperger's he uses as many pictures as he can, as he is a photographer. 

I figured it out!

Hooray! I figured out my login info and I'm making my first blog post. I took this class because many forms of contemporary social media are new to me. Also, I'm looking for new ways to get my writing out to the public. So far this class seems like it's going to be fun and informative.

Why I Took This Class

I took this class because my adviser recommended it, as I am already taking Literacy and Technology and  she felt that this class would be a nice complement to that course. I was originally scheduled for American Literary Landmarks, Adolescent Lit, and Lit and Tech as my main three credit courses, but she told me that Am. Lit was offered all the time and to take something else that would best assist my courses. She found this course for me and I registered. However, Adolescent Literature was cancelled, due to a class size of four people, and I did end up taking American Literary Landmarks as I had planned. 

This course was a wonderful addition to my busy schedule (I'm taking a total of 9 courses-- YIKES!!), and I am excited to begin this course with everyone :)

Why This Class?

I took this class because I am interested in communication through digital channels. As a Communications major, I have some background in PR and media relations writing, but I want to expand on my creative writing skills and strengthen my voice through digital media.

Why I Am Taking This Course

To be honest I needed a writing intensive course to fulfill my English Ed Major requirements.  Finding the group of courses that did this, I ended up choosing this one because it sounded the most interesting.  Going into education, a lot of things are evolving in the classroom including technology, and students are becoming more tech-savvy with all of their "smart" phones and what not.  I'm hoping this class helps me explore the different ways to write in today's digital world and gives me ideas to use in my future classroom.

Why I took this class

Hey guys, my name is Joe, and I took this class because I'm an English major with a writing minor, and I think there are a lot of valuable skills I can pick up during this course. I want to be capable of writing clearly and fluently on the internet, and I think this class will help me to adapt my writing skills to new digital formats.

A Digital Distinction!

As I was searching through the course descriptions while signing up for classes last semester, I was pleased to stumble upon Writing in a Digital World. The class stood out to me because it was different from traditional English courses. This class seemed relevant to our generation and I felt my learning experiences in this class would benefit me in my future endeavors. The digital age is unlike any other and I'm looking forward to learning how to use today's technology to benefit me not only socially, but profesionally.

Hannah Mulligan

Hi, class! I'm enrolled in this course because digital writing is an increasingly important component of everyday communication. With the use of social media and new technology, our generation is constantly becoming more and more reliant on digital writing- whether it be via social media sites, online newspapers or email.

Why I Took This Class

Modern technology is becoming a very prominent part in today's society.  As a future high school teacher, I thought that it was very important to learn the many different forms of technology and how to use them properly in order to utilize these tools in my classroom.  I have taken Literacy and Technology, but I thought that this particular class would give me more useful information and tools on technology and how to use them in every day life.  Technology and I do not really mix well, so the more practice, the better!

Tiffany's First Blog Post

Question: Why did you choose to take this class?

As with most things, simple questions come with complicated answers.

My "end goal" or career I want to put on forms at the doctor/dentist is novelist. But I realize that while novelist pays some people a lot of money, it more often pays a lot of people very little money. I've taken other precautions to ensure that I'll be able to pay my bills. But I think that I should be able to get as many writing skills as possible, just to get my foot in the door. I've taken creative writing classes, and journalism classes, and professional writing classes, and this just seemed like the logical next step.


I took this class because the English Department suggested it to me when I was adding classes when I transferred from a Music Education major to an English major.

Why I Took This Class

I took this class because I am a writing minor and this class is an elective for my minor. I also took this course because I am a PR major and the digital writing world is important to that field as well.

Hello Friends!

Hi! I took this class as an upper-level English course for my concentration in English! :) I also love technology and am excited to learn more about blogging since I have never been into it much.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Hi, everyone! Welcome to ENGL 399: Writing in a Digital World.

I am really excited about this semester. You will be blogging and creating websites and digital videos--all while writing and composing in a variety of genres. Some of your writing/composing will focus on the increased significance of digital communication in our lives today: how these new forms of communication are changing the ways we act, think, and interact with others.

Much will also focus on an issue that you choose. (So start thinking! We'll talk about the range of types of topics you could explore.)

You'll also all be reading one another's blogs: we'll create a class blog roll and maintain a conversation in this space, which I hope will inform and extend our class discussions. I won't comment on your posts here, because I've found that students interact with one another more freely when they have their own space.* But I will read every post, and in class I will often pick up on threads that you begin here.

I have three goals for these blogs. First, I want you to learn both the conventions and the technology associated with blogging. Second, I want you to reflect on our readings and class discussions. And third, I hope this blogging will extend our class community, offering a space beyond the classroom where you can get to know one another and discuss the issues we'll be exploring.

Have fun designing your blogs!

Dr. McEntarfer

*(Some of you may have or may someday take ENED 250 from me, where I do comment--but the goal and set-up of that class' blogs is different.)

Blogging Groups

As you'll see in the syllabus, we have three groups for responding to our readings on this blog.  The members of each group should complete their blog post by 6 pm the night before class, to give everyone else time to respond. The members of each group will be as follows:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Service Learning Opportunities

Below, you can read about an array of local community organizations with which you can work this semester, perhaps for a 4th-credit service learning option. This could offer you the chance to engage in some really authentic writing this semester; I strongly encourage you to consider one of these options!