Tag Archives: social media

The Early Bird DOES in fact, get the worm

For years and years I thought I was a night owl.  I loved to stay up and out late, either having fun or working on projects.  More recently I discovered that I am not a night owl, but in fact a morning person.  Even though I was up late, I wasn’t being productive on my projects.  I was working on them well into the evening due to my procrastination.  I began to get up early to complete my projects and felt significantly more ambitions, focused and productive.

Last week I saw this article and tweeted it to share with my fellow #tfwf14 classmates:

My first reponse:  Does Hazma Kahn know me?  Is he watching me?  This is my life!

Kahn’s article “Don’t Waste Your Two Golden Hours of Productivity” him home for me.   I fall into the category that Kahn gives data on, that “80 percent of 18- to 44-year-olds who check their smartphones” as soon as they get up.  My smartphone has replaced my alarm clock, so it is the first thing I touch in the morning.apple-iphone-5-white-all-sides

First I check Facebook, followed by Instagram, then Twitter and finally email.  All before my feet have hit the floor and I have to agree with Kahn that we need to avoid this habit.  He states that “the problem with jumping right into our inboxes and notifications is that it steers your morning off-course”.  I get very distracted and behind in my morning routine when I pick up my phone.  So I decided to give it a try, to leave my phone on the night stand when I got out of bed.

I spent the 90 minutes of my morning feeling as though I was missing something, but I was more focused on the tasks that needed to be completed and able to successfully complete them all.  I found my morning flowing along smoothly without having to rush because I was behind on the time.  I could get used to this!

Now, I wish I could say that I was able to keep this routine and I’ve been tremendously successful in being on time and maintaining my easy-flowing mornings.  If I did, I’d be lying.  What I have done, is limited my time on my phone in the morning.  I check social media and then put the phone down.  Emails are put off until I arrive at work.  I couldn’t quit cold turkey, I’m not a quitter.

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So from now on, if I don’t like what I see, I’ll just go back to bed!

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Momento: The 21st Century Version of the Diary

When I was a child, and we won’t discuss how long ago that way, we used a pencil and paper to record our thoughts.  As a little girl I had a diary, complete with lock and key that I kept hidden in my bedroom.  Many of my friends had them as well and that was supposed to be a safe haven or protected area for your deepest thoughts and secrets.   At least until our parents suspected something and found them.  That usually did not end well.

fb_momento_iconFast forward to today and the diary has evolved to include neither paper nor pencil.  Following suit with other means of writing, the diary has gone digital and be accessed right on your smartphone.  The app Momento allows you to record your thoughts anywhere, requiring nothing but the cell phone you most likely already had with you.  This allows us to record our experiences in the moment, instead of after they have already occurred when important details can be overlooked and difficult to recall.  This app remediates the need to keep our thoughts, adventures and secrets on paper, where they can be found and used against us (if necessary).  There is far more protection on a smartphone, and this app, with a pass code than my old diary ever had (my mom used to open mine with a pair of scissors).

image2 In Momento, you can input information on the current day or go back and input on days that have already passed.  The key feature in this app is that you can connect it to your social media accounts, and input your locations whenever you check-in to a place.  When you tag friends, those friends are included in the event as well.  Photos can be attached as well as tags relating categories to the event.  Most importantly, Momento simplifies the time previously required to record events.  It also provides a searchable log of either your day-to-day activities or annual family vacations.  The choice is yours, simply based on how you choose to use the app.

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 With such a vast array of social media sites to link to, you are sure to never miss an adventure, vacation, or Saturday in the city because you forgot to write it in your journal.  Momento even has a programmable reminder so that you don’t forget to take a picture or enter a daily log of events.

This app been quite popular in the past, earning the “iPhone App of the Year” Runner-up award in 2011 and continues to update its interface to make the user’s experience easier and more enjoyable.

Momento is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and is $2.99 on the Apple App Store.

 

Spin Me A Story

Our power point is here: final project (3)

ADAM G:

Our application Spin Me a Story was developed as an inspirational asset to all levels of writing. Porter explains that, “New economies of writing are emerging that promise to carry writing practices in directions that are not yet clear but which will have significant impact on basic literacy.” (Porter, DeVoss, page 195).

Children today are evidently using technology earlier than any other generation. This produces an optimal advantage for educators. “The internet links millions of people in new spaces that are changing the way we think and the way we form our communities.” (Turkle, page 3). Spin Me a Story was created to use a technology that children are familiar with, as well as, produce a new and exciting way to introduce writing.

Remediation involves both homage and rivalry, for the new medium, but also makes an implicit or explicit claim to improve the older one.” (Bolter, page 23). Therefore, when used efficiently, new technologies are beneficial resources. Our application was designed to improve the writing process. Offering the users inspiration, creativity, composition, and fluency.

When an account is created in Spin Me a Story, the user is welcomed into a new writing community. Our application portrays Porter’s ideology of delivery, by making all finished stories available and accessible to each user. “Students’ writing will be published writing, and it will be produced in genres and by processes that depart radically from the traditional ways writing has been practiced and taught.” (Porter, DeVoss, page 195).

Account customization is essential to the individuality of the user. The “Favorite” questionnaire is implemented to influence the categories, genres, formats, and other users, the applicant is connected with. Spin Me a Story is a new literary technology, constructed as an educational resources, to increase the users’ interest and enthusiasm in writing.

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KYLIE T:

Bolter said that some educators imagine a classroom in which books are replaced by virtual environments. Spin Me a Story has the capability to create student and teacher accounts. Having the option to create two different types of accounts will allow the user to personalize their creative writing experience. After creating a username and password, as Adam previously showed, a page will pop up asking what type of account you want to create.

On this page, there will be two options to choose from; “I am a student” or “I am a teacher.” If the user  clicks the button “I am a student,” they will then be taken to a page where they can select their age, grade, and if this is for a school project, a class meeting, or for a fun creative writing experience. The app will provide developmentally appropriate words to the student depending on the age and grade they select.

If the user clicks “I am a teacher,” they will be directed to a page that asks them if they want to create a class code. The teacher will have the ability to leave comments on the student’s drafts, give suggestions, or only allow the students with a class code spin a certain genre.

After the type of account is selected, the user will be directed to a page where they have the option to sync their work to social media. As Porter and DeVoss state, the act of writing is fundamentally collaborative and social. The user will be able to ‘share’ their spins and final work via these social media sites to show their peers and parents/guardians what they are writing and drawing about.

From here, a page will pop up asking the user to select the type of story they plan to write about. There is always the option to pick a new style. The available styles include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, a memoir, letter, blog post, newsletter, and songwriting. Like Bolter said, digital technology changes the look and feel of writing, and Spin Me a Story does just this (pg. 24).

 

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ASHLEY M:

 

Bolter discusses the use of technology in education, and the role of computers in the writing process. Using this app, students are using the computer directly to produce a creative writing piece that can be accessed from anyplace at anytime. From here, students will be asked to choose a theme for their story. Fantasy, Mystery, Adventure, and Sci-Fi are just some of the options available.

Once a genre catches the student’s attention, they are free to click their favorite, and begin spinning and choosing words that will be incorporated into their creative story. A picture representing the chosen genre will pop up, making sure students chose the correct theme. Once chosen, students will click “begin” to spin for story words.

Now the fun part begins! Students will press the slot machine “SPIN” button to spin all four word and phrase categories. Each category focuses on a different subject, action, description, and so on. A full sentence is created when the categories are read from left to right. Here we have, “Write an email to a tricky princess who can fly.”

If the student doesn’t like a word or phrase they have been given, they can choose to spin again in one or more categories. Instead of writing about a tricky princess, they might spin to write about a tricky frog. They have unlimited spins until they finally land on something they like. This student spun to write a report about a silly frog who can skate.

A screen will appear encouraging the student. Porter and DeVoss say, “Writing is hypertext and the delivery of multimedia content via the Internet and the Web.” By choosing themes that might interest other friends, the student’s stories can be easily shared over the Web. Gee asks if video games are a waste of time. While this isn’t a video game, it is a game, and it’s valuable in writing creatively.

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SAMANTHA C

Prior to beginning the writing of the story, the student is given the option to have a bonus word or a picture prompt to help them further their story.  At this point they are able to rate the creativity level of the words obtained from the spin.  If they aren’t sure about the choices they have been given, they can check to see if they represent an appropriate creativity level based on their age and grade they entered earlier in the app. They can skip this page if they choose not to use these options.

The student then has the option to continue with their prompt, or spin again to start over with a whole new set of prompts. This is beneficial when the student receives a set of prompts that are familiar to a story that they already know.  This choice reduces the possibility of plagiarism should the student copy that story and attempt to use it as their own.  DeVoss and Porter express this idea in their statement that “we must renegotiate our personal and institutional approaches to plagiarism”.

Several different writing formats are available as Kylie previously mentioned.  When the student chooses to continue with their prompts, they will advance to this screen.  They simply click on the format they want and are taken to a template to begin writing their chosen piece.  This is an example of what Bolter referred to when he said “digital technology changes the ‘look and feel’ of writing and reading”.  Pre-populated templates eliminate the need for design and construction of blogs, newsletters, etc.

Here is one example of the formats available, the newsletter template.  To enter text or upload a photo, the student simply clicks on the appropriate box.  Each of these, as well as the other templates provide the criteria that Tim O’Reilly outlines in regard to Web 2.0.  He stated that “only a small percentage of users will go to the trouble of adding value to your application”.  Therefore, by creating templates with pre-populated fields, users can input information without having to re-create the wheel.

This is another example of available formats, the blog template.  Here, students are able to input not only text, but photos as well, similar to the newsletter template.  This example also follows O’Reilly’s criteria in regard to the values of user input.  In order to be competitive in the app market, users should be able to “add their own data to that which you provide”.  With these templates, students can input any and all data they chose in various formats.

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SAM R

The idea of remediation, introduced by Bolter in an article called “Writing in the late age of print”, is when a new technology replaces an old one. Our app transformed the classic format of notebook writing into an organized, user-friendly template. When a user selects this template, their ideas can be saved to wherever they want. Papers easily become messy and lost, an app will stay in your pocket wherever you go.

The “Draw me a Story” snapshot demonstrates an extremely unique function of our app. A user can draw a picture on the screen Microsoft Paint style or they can upload their own picture from their camera roll. Our picture feature promotes creativity and allows users to act on inspiration as it occurs. Images users form while writing will never disappear again. 

When organizing the gallery, users are able to categorize their works into different folders. It is an easy way for users to separate different ideas or genres from the other. There is even an option of allowing works to remain uncategorized, which lets the user have more creative control. The user can alter the names and the amount of the categories as well. 

Combining texts with images have been extremely popular amongst our culture. In an article called “Becoming Screen Literate” by Kevin Kelly, the author writes about how images are becoming extremely well liked by users. Our app allows users to keep texts separate from pictures, combine pictures with texts, or to just paint a picture. It is a functional way to express creativity.

In an article by DeVoss and Porter’s article titled, “Why Napster matters to writing” the authors explain the importance of balance between recognition and ethics. When a user shares a piece of work from the Gallery to social media, our app gives credit where credit is due. Also, during this sharing process, other members of social media are able to experience new works and technology. Our app has found the balance by rewarding both the author and the audience.

Wattpad: The Story of How Stories Became Stored

A recent App called, Wattpad has taken the world of writing and reading by storm. In order to fully understand what this app is capable of, I will review the app in the perspective of new user.

The homepage of Wattpad looks a little something like this:

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It is both clean and simple. A user can either log in using Facebook, or use an e-mail address to sign up; all in all, it takes about 30 seconds to create and account with WattPad.

Next, the app will ask you pick a variety of your favorite reading genres, which will look like this:

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The format, once again, is extremely quick and clean. Users have the ability to pick as many or as few genres as they wish. This is a quality feature when the user wants either variety or focus.

Based off the genre users picked, the app will generate multiple stories for the user to enjoy.

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The instructions are straightforward and allows users to enjoy a variety of different works of any type of genre. On the app, users can scroll through their “library” and pick a title to read. It’s kind of ironic how a library, once associated with the imagery of an abundance of books, has become a collection of virtual goods.

Once a user settles on a book title, a couple of screens will pop up:

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These two screens demonstrate the main point of the app. On the left, is a piece of work found in a collection of poetry. On the right, the app offers the author, comments, suggestions, and sharing. Adding the comment/liking feature allows users to offer their perspective on the work, which is a nice spin for a literary app. Instead of just reading a poem, users can share opinions and ask/offer help. Another progressive feature of this app is the suggestion category. In order to broaden horizons, suggestions to other writers is extremely helpful. Lastly, the social media aspect of this app is helpful to both writers and readers. If a user posts a poem to Facebook, the user’s friends will have the ability to discover new works.

The social media of this aspect has two sides. While the influence of social media is positive in some respects, ethics should definitely be considered while reviewing this app. While Apps usually don’t resonate with words like  “ethics”, an article called “Why Napster matters to writing: Filesharing as a new ethic of digital delivery” by Danielle DeVoss and James Porter, explains why public sharing is an ethical issue. It is mentioned in the article that “digital filesharing forms the basis for a new ethic of digital delivery, an ethic that should lead us to reconsider our policies regarding plagiarism and that, in general, we should consider when developing digital composition pedagogies.” Copyright becomes an extremely prominent issue in the world of apps; it is becoming easier and easier to steal ideas from authors due to the open forum of apps. With the Wattpad, there are a couple of issues when it comes to the delivery of ethics. While the app itself gives credit where credit is due, the sharing features make it extremely easy for users to steal work. The blame in this situation is a bit ambiguous since Wattpad does an excellent job of giving credit to authors. The problem is that users are sharing works via social media; while the authors are getting credit for their works, it is freely passed along for anyone to see.

This App combines Facebook, Twitter, Kindle, Messanger, and E-mail all into one. Not only does it provide stories based off the users’ interests, but it also provides a social media service. Combining multiple different mediums into one is an example of remediation, which is an idea mentioned in an article called “Writing as Technology” by Jay Bolter. The creators of this app made it possible to blend social media with literature and writing, which is a significant advancement in the worlds of technology and literacy.

All in all, for a free app, I think that this app is definitely worth a download. It allows users to discover, share, and explore the world of literacy in a fun and easy way.

Multiple Personalities:  Good or Bad?

When posting on social media, how many of us are actually being true to ourselves?  Do we display the ‘real’ us or are we putting on a show?  The answers to those questions should be yes and yes.  I know they are for me anyway.  As someone who uses social media, I try very hard to be true to who I feel I am and express my thoughts and beliefs.  However, after reviewing the blog article Social Media and My Multiple Personalities, I realize that I am portraying more than who I really am as a person.  The owner of the blog Finding Dutchland is Rina Mae Acosta and she shares ideas in her post similar to those in Sherry Turkle’s article Who Am We?

            Sherry talks about the many versions of Sherry that she displays including “the ‘French Sherry’, Turkle the social scientist, Dr. Turkle the clinical psychologist, Sherry Turkle the writer of books. Sherry the professor…and ST”  All of these people are Sherry Turkle, but different versions of her are displayed on social media in regard to the topic or audience she is addressing.  Rina talks about the world of blogging and how she is on various social medial sites in order to reach her audience.  She goes on to say that “all of these social media platforms have different focuses and target groups, facilitating different types of interactions and promoting certain behaviors” (Acosta 2014).  Different situations call for different discourse, as to be expected.

In Turkle’s article, she explores MUDs or Multi-User Dungeons, where players often play the roles of the opposite sex, where they behave and display characteristics that are a contrast to who they are in real life.  Turkle interviewed a 23-year-old male by the name of Stewart who used MUDs to live in a way that he doesn’t and cannot in reality.  While Stewart insisted “that he does not role play, but that MUDs simply allow him to be a better version of himself” (Turkle 1996).  I don’t know that I would agree with Stewart in this case because based on the article, he has no will or desire to ever be the character he plays in the MUD in real life.  It is not a ‘better’ version of himself, but instead a version he is afraid to be or unable to be in his life.  While Acosta’s social media use allows her to be a better blogger and attract a larger audience, Stewart is using MUDs to live a fantasy life.  Turkle states that “MUDding did not alter Stewart’s sense of himself” (Turkle 1996).

The variances between the ways we communicate on different levels of social media do several things.  As a blogger, in Acosta’s case, it allows her to reach out to many different audiences and build up her followers.  It also allows people like Stewart to explore the possibilities of who they really are and what potential they have for interactions in reality.  For writers in general, reaching out to different audiences and communicating differently over several social media platforms allows the writer to grow, and interact with writers of all genres.