Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Internet Isn't Always Bad

You hear it more often than not 'The internet is terrible. People are so mean' or something along those lines. That's not really true, but it's not always a sparkly land of rainbows and candy either. Of course the internet that people complain about is social media - where people are free to input their own commentary, usually about someone else (most cases it is the original poster).
But a lot of good things have sprung from the generosity of people on the interwebs. Families who were on the brink of losing their homes could live to see another day because they offered a bit of themselves to complete strangers in return for small donations - just till they could get back on their feet again. Some people have been able to make their daily lives their jobs, which is the case for CTFxC's Charles Trippy and Shaytard's ShayCarl. They started out as ordinary people and now Trippy is the bass player for We The Kings and ShayCarl recently sold Maker Studios (which he co-founded) to Disney.
The internet has enabled us to do anything that we want to do. All you need is a means of knowing how to do it and make that dream real and an audience. There are people who are out there who want to know. The career that is vlogging is still hard to understand - it's reality tv but 100x more real (even I, a devout fictional series watcher enjoys watching vlogs). Sites that crowdsource, Kickstarter and Indiegogo being two popular ones, are growing as well. The internet is about giving yourself to others, making yourself vulnerable, and seeing who will help lift you up and get you there - there are more people out there willing to help than you would probably expect.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ban One - Ban Them All

A week or so ago an interesting point was brought up by my fellow classmate, Katie, when we were talking about banned books - Harry Potter to be specific. She said that if you're going to ban book, why don't you just ban them all because all books have questioning content in them. It was a point that I agreed with, on my stance banning books conflicts with the first amendment (by US standards of course because that's what I know). It also teaches kids that they can only say so much, that there are things that they can't talk about because it might make one person question everything. I never grew up in a home where that was the case - my parents encouraged reading, I've been reading high school level books since third or fourth grade if my memory serves me right. They wanted me to have a voice and reading told me it was okay to think differently than the people around me - it made me feel like a main character in my own story rather than a supporting one.
But as far as banning books go there should be some rules put to it. If someone is going to ban a book for a particular reason then I would suggest putting a rating to it. That's not banning it, but it's telling kids that maybe they're not old enough to completely understand the meaning behind the book. It's like a movie rating - some movies are rated R just so that the audience is mature enough to understand the purpose of it, writers and directors willingly through in that second F-bomb just so that MPAA will force theaters to only allow viewers who are over 17 (or minors with permission from a parent). The message still gets out there but in a different way. It would make more sense to do that rather than to tell a child that they can't read a book because it contains contents like homosexuality/multisexuality, magic, guns, etc. The people who should ultimately ban a book from a child should be the parents and not the school administrative board.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Delicate Balance of "Fan Serving"

Many a show has been ruined due to an overloaded attempt to appease an entire fanbase - my opinion of course. Perhaps I'm bitter due to the overwhelming number of shows I have ceased watching because the story felt like it was falling off of the rails.
But we're going to start with the good news (always good news over bad news, right?)
I'm looking this from the viewpoint of a writer - fanservicing allows writers to get a general survey of not only the amount of people who watch and engage with the story, but to also hear potential plot ideas that viewers could potentially see occur at some point in the series. Theories about canon life and possibly forgotten plot holes that writers might find an intention for. Actively engaged viewers can often catch, and point out, things that writers tend to forget about. (A writer can only hold so many storylines in their head at one point after all.)
There are some bad things to it - unfortunately.
One - the intent in fanservicing is to please loyal fans. We all know that you can't please everyone though. Two - in the attempt to please fans, the point of the story can be lost or become cloudy. Storylines become difficult to understand piece together because a loud part of the fandom wanted two characters to be together, despite it not canonly making much sense at all (and sometimes it is something that might make the actors feel awkward about it as well). I like to consider myself a loyalist to tv shows, loyalist meaning that I want to know the story the producers and writers had intended to tell when they had first proposed their series to their respected network. I don't tend to complain much about what happens in a show - as long as it all connects together.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Be Your Own Webdesigner

Wix is currently a website that I am exploring on my off time. It is a free web design builder that is HTML free. There are quite a large number of features and apps to use for this site - making it become completely customizable. It takes some serious sit down time to make something easy for user to use and still be productive though. From it I noticed that there are a few drawbacks to being 100% customizable - it takes exhausting amount of time. However Wix is a very usable once you have learned all of the options that Wix makes available to you - for free or a fee - and have mapped out a design that you want for the site. I find this site difficult for myself to use, possibly due to lack of an immediate need and uncertainty of what exactly creates an effective website - but it does give me a certain appreciation to those who use coding to build a website from scratch because Wix's program allows you to start off with a template to build off of.

Why I know more current events than my parents

Friends from around the world, unlimited knowledge at your fingertips, and opinions dying to be shared spread around the internet like wildfire. I don't watch the news - but I know more about issues around the world than my parents. Odd coming from a nineteen year old, but apparently I am not the only one of my peers who want to have a voice on what is happening in the world we live in - issues that go beyond the assumed marijuana laws. Thanks to sites like Tumblr and Youtube I am hearing what old media news sites filter out, and hearing what people may age have to say about what's going on in Russia and Ukraine, about the research going in to bringing back extinct species, and the depletion of honey bees in the world (that could mean our end). New media has allowed us to have an opinion and to share it with hundreds of people, it's also enabled the ability to know more about the world we live in (possibly things that news stations don't want us to be aware of - an example might be corrupt cops).

Tackk your ideas

On a quest to find a handy tool to help me with a class project I came along a site that I think, and hope, to use more often. The website is called Tackk. I used this site to create an example press kit as a detail in a project of mine. However, this site has many more uses - be it very customizable, yet still easy to use and understand. During my initial interaction with the tool one idea I came to the idea that this would be an interesting tool to create a storyboard, and have the option to share it with others who use the site (it can be found by how you tag the Tackk board). I'm not a wonderful drawer myself, but I do find inspiration from photos that I spot on the web. Storyboarding, flyers, press kits are just a few uses I saw from a glimpse at this site - I'm sure there are other uses that can be found from this site, and you can see the other ideas that people have found for the website.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let's Be Superheroes!

No this isn't going to be a consecutive post about my love for Marvel, but it could quite easily. Actually, I'm going to be talking about the change in old medias. Copyright is still something many creators are scared to venture near, but in some cases it's a lot less strict than it has been in the past. Copyright prevents fans from creating content inspired by this copyrighted material - imagine how sad if the laws were a lot stricter in the current world we live in. We wouldn't have videos like Harry Potter Puppet Pals, which is very easy to tell was fan-inspired by the Harry Potter series or even the Kid Vader Volkswagon commercial from a few years ago. I know I personally could be in a lot of trouble, as someone who picked up her writing 'hobby' by taking on already canon characters from television.

Media has been the inspiration for young creators - it's our trampoline, how we get momentum. If it weren't for television I would be wandering around my college campus trying to figure out what it is that I want to do but TV brought me back to writing, something I did when I was younger but I lost my confidence to create stories.

I'm done with my tangent now, maybe. The point that I am attempting to address is that with stricter policies on copyrighted material, and pretty much everything is copyrighted these days, people are less reluctant to be apart of something ... like a fandom. Who would want to be apart of something where they are restricted in how involved they can be. What if I want to make a fan video, art, fiction, whatever I can come up with, to celebrate this thing that I love so much - I want to be apart of the journey or even create my own inspired by the mythology, world, or characters, that this one franchise has developed.

Now to my title - so abstractly titled "Let's Be Superheroes!" It's not about actually being a super hero, but if you want to be - more power to you, I will definitely not hold you back in that endeavor, but it's about being able to insert yourself in a franchise - to create something for it based solely on your passion and creative abilities to manipulate someone else's idea and merge it with your own to create a "whole new world".

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Biggest Bigger Picture

Transmedia storytelling seems to be a growing phenomenon - no complaints from me. It brings a story to life, if you let it. Marvel is a big one that I know is catching onto this budding new style, and by far it's one of my favorites but I'm pretty biased - I'll be watching Marvel in my grave. Transmedia is storytelling through multiple platforms, but this isn't the same story being told from theaters to web series - they are all little puzzle pieces. Again to the topic of Marvel, they have their film franchise (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, etc. whatever they come up with next ) All of their stories connect, hence why we have to sit through what feels like 20 minutes of credits to watch not one but two sneak peaks which will connect all of our favorite heroes together for the next Avengers film. But Marvel takes it one step more with the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which gives us an eye into the agency behind our heroes, thanks to our 'back from the dead' Agent Phil Coulson. Last night's episode was a major game changer, no spoilers here - I'll let you watch it, but it tied in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier which was released this last Friday. As I was watching it I was glad I rushed to the movie theater on Friday, I had a feeling I would've been spoiled in the next week or so - I felt bad for those who hadn't, but this way is definitely one way to get people rushing to the theaters opening weekend and make the newest Marvel film number one in the world and break records.
As a writer, this is a style of writing I want to learn more about - and learn how to do it well, but I know it'll take a lot of planning (Marvel already has their media planned out till 2028!) But as a viewer this is a storytelling I enjoy, it almost feels like I am apart of this world where superheroes save the day - and leave a huge mess for S.H.I.E.L.D. to clean up.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Media Journalist by Day, Singer/Songwriter by Night

On the 28th my New Media class at DSU had a wonderful guest speaker by the name of Adam Hammer. He started out as a photo journalist in college but found a career in media. He writes for the St. Cloud University Outlook magazine and his official title is Director of Media Relations. During his time here he talked about his life and how that took him to changing career paths. A lot of it was due to job demand and his previous experience in writing for newspapers as well as the loss of his job when his newspaper company at the time was cutting down on writers, and now having an uneven ratio of editors:writers. He had found a job with St. Cloud University, which had a very similar problem and he created a lot of changes to the program to widen up the audience and keep everything fresh and up to date.
In his spare time he performs in small towns as a singer/songwriter and that information can be found on his website.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Convergence, Collective intelligence, and participation

Today I decided to venture into the world of 'reality tv', not my favorite genre in the world - but it's big now, so why not try to figure out why. The sites I took a peak at were Survivor's and American Idol, reality tv that was huge before reality tv was.

From a first glance, I was really impressed with the appearance of American Idol's website. It's super easy to navigate, but my favorite detail was when you scroll down all of the features fall into the center of the page. It creates some major eye appeal.
Then as you get further into the website a whole American Idol world can be seen. It has pages for everything - from news to host and judge biographies and behind the scenes, even how to get tickets to attend one of the shows.
A lot of it has options for users to have a voice in the show, with a link to vote and even questions for live Q+A sessions with the contestants. Everything about the site is to enable viewers to basically be apart of the show - and more than just a viewer.

Now, a look at the Survivor's website - it doesn't have nearly all of the bells and whistles that American Idol has. It's fairly straight forward with links to help you catch up on episodes you might have missed, a merch shop, and biography and summary links. It isn't nearly as interactive in comparison to Idol.

And despite not having watched either show, I was more obligated to want to linger onto the American Idol webpage just because it was more interactive and I was allowed to input some of my own thoughts about the show that ventured off from more than just the usual social media websites.
It kind of shows the type of world we have now, new media has given us the ability to have a voice in these bigger media outlets and we will take those opportunities as often as we can, we have a voice and we want to use it! We want to see our favorite contestants strive, and we want to be part of the key to help them get there.

Friday, February 28, 2014

"The Medium is the Message"

Mobile devices are great for when you're on the go so you can have the freedom to go about your day but still feel connected to friends and family, knowing that they are just a few clicks away from a text message.
Smartphones are even better. The entire world is at the palm of your hand, but if smartphones were so great then why are laptops and desktops still as popular today as they were when they first came out, even more really.
It's the medium, what the medium says. People don't want to read a huge article on their phones, not if they don't want a hand cramp from scrolling through and enlarging the text. It's great for quick messages, messages that inform you but still allow you to be on the go rather than being that person clogging the aisle because you so kindly decided you needed to read an article, or a book, while grocery shopping in Walmart.
This is why Twitter was invented. Short and precise messages that inform you on what's going on, depending on who you're following of course, and it allows you to continue about your day and you only had to sacrifice maybe a minute of your shopping experience to catch up on local news or world news, or whatever it is the tweet was about.
Messages on a mobile device should be short and precise, like Twitter, which was what Twitter was made for, because you're mobile, on the go, you've got better things to do right now than read a five page article. Mobile devices keep you in contact with the people and the world around you, but only for a minute or two at a time. If you want to do heavier work then that's why people save it for their computers where they can go into further detail, or have the time to watch that 15 minute YouTube video.
The message continues to change with the introduction to Nooks, Kindles, and tablets. It's lightweight technology, might not always be on the go when you use them, but you certainly have more time to read something larger, like a book, without getting a hand cramp.

These are different platforms to read, and it really changes our time and what we want to read on them. One device says we have a little bit of time to look at something, while the other might say that we have hours to look at something. The differences force people to think more creatively, to make the message worth the device that the app was made for.

Those are positives to the technology, and the positives should be kept in mind. But cellphones have ruined face-to-face communication, even voice-to-voice communication. No one wants to verbally talk to anyone anymore, they just want to send people a text because it's quicker.
My phone hardly rings a day and when it does, it's probably a notification from one of my social media outlets. I'm not much for communicating via text because I love long, large conversations, as can be seen by this huge tangent bucket I am typing up for you here today. A person is more likely to get a hold of me through Skype or Facebook, where it's easier to type more, and Skype even gives the opportunity to call someone for the conversations that text just can't cover, and there is still so much that text can't do. Text cannot properly convey emotion, not without adding a million emoticons to show just how sad or happy/excited you are. Text will never be able to do that, that's why IM developers are creating face-to-face communication for our mobile devices, apps like FaceTime and Skype. We just need to pull ourselves out of our little socially awkward bubble to see our friends again instead of seeing a black on white screen that supposedly represents our friends.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Stop Motion Video

This is my first time creating a stop motion video and it proved itself challenging, but I don't think it was a total failure.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kandee Johnson

Kandee Johnson has been an inspiration to not only myself, but by many, as you can read in the comment section of her blog or in her numerous vlogs or makeup tutorials. She blogs about her life as a mother and a makeup artist. Kandee writes on two blogs, the one previously linked is where she keeps readers up to date on her make-up tutorial videos, while her other blog she talks more about her life as a mother. Now I'm not sure if her blogs are as successful as her videos, but I know that she has made a huge impact on her readers/viewers because she doesn't hesitate to put herself out there and help others. She has a huge heart and that might be why she holds a place in people's hearts, people who haven't even met her. To me that's a real success story, to inspire and love others you don't even know.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My source for new music

8tracks has recently come into a big part of my life. It has unleashed a new creative side to me, the part of me that loves music. All of middle and high school I had been a huge participant in band and in college I am no longer partaking in it. I have to find a new way to get my music fix in and I found that in creating playlists, which is 8tracks specialty.
For a while I had used Spotify for listening to music, but I grew tired of the app because I only used it to listen to music I was familiar with. 8tracks has provided me with a great balance between the two. All you have to do is go in the search bar and type in an artist that you love and playlists that have a song or two with that artist will appear.
Through the site I have been introduced into new genres and artists that I didn't think I would be interested in and have given me a new muse for my writing.
While creating a playlist, generally it is a genre or general theme that is used for inspiration and users go from their to provide their take on a theme, some even do characters from their favorite movies, shows, books, etc. I have yet to find a playlist that hasn't introduced me to a new artist and it's enlightening to hear more than what the Top 40 radio stations have to put on.

The Benefits to Facebook..and some of the drawbacks

When you mention, Facebook, to just about anyone on the street they think about their high school or college classmates, maybe even their fellow co-workers. They might even mention games like Farmville/Farmville 2 or Candy Crush.
Most of the time the business benefits to the social networking site. Those 'like' pages you click on that could possibly giving you deals are businesses using the Facebook platform as an easy way of advertising their company through you to your friends. It is a cheap way to do it, in comparison to creating a commercial and paying to have it airing over several channels to potentially only convince a small number of customers to buy their product. Word of mouth has always been the most effective way to advertise and Facebook does it indirectly through the 'like' feature.
Now, Facebook can be counterproductive when you think about it as someone using the site to keep connected with friends and family. Sometimes people are just better off not knowing what is going on in everyone's lives. "Oversharing" can be a bit of a problem in a world where everyone has the ability to tell the world exactly what they think or what is going on in their lives. It can be even worse for people looking for a job. Facebook is now one of the many places that an employer could/will check before they hire someone. I'd suggest you delete those college party pictures off your profile!
The worst part about Facebook is probably the amount of time someone could actually be wasting on there. You can find out exactly how much here.
Now my opinion of Facebook isn't that high but it can be a great tool, if used right, to promote business and stay connected with the people in your life.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fragility of New Media

While I was reading in New New Media by Paul Levinson I really started to wonder about how my life would be without some of the sites that are in existence today. Things would be incredibly different. Without the discovery of Tumblr my writing style and confidence in my writing would be very different, I also would not have fallen in love with Photoshop, a program that I am still slowly learning how to use. My love for television might not have been harvested as well, a path that helped lead me to a career I hope to partake in after graduating college and that career would be a television producer. Without Tumblr I would feel much more alone, after having made many friends who I have many things in common with.
I also realized, while reading, exactly how easy it is to lose everything that one site has enabled me to have. In the press of a button Tumblr could be erased and contact with many of my friends may be lost forever.
But there is more to new media than making friends and discovering hobbies. It is the power to be your own creator. It is now possible to put products out there in the world, through sites like YouTube, which allow for free content creation and with enough time you can even get paid for what you create. None of this was around 20 years ago, many of these sites that are considered 'new new media' are just barely 10 years old and it only proves how quickly media is advancing; how it went from one-way traffic media, such as television and newspaper which only allows for producers to create content, to two-way traffic, where users are also producers.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Youtube media and the almighty Photoshop, but mostly Youtube

  • Software that you use - familiar with
Photoshop CS6-Extended is the one application that you will always find active in my computer dock, that is unless I'm working on something else that requires more computer speed because unfortunately Photoshop likes to suck the speed out of a Mac. Having the ability to edit photos and make my own creations when the inspiration hits me is handy, and having a program that allows me to create some of the best quality, if used properly. 
  •  Media that you engage with - other than software
Youtube is by far my favorite type of media. I am all for supporting the 'little guys' and their creativity. It is a platform that I hope to work on, given I find others who want to partake and help me share stories, visually, to the world. Youtube is proving itself to be a large contender in the entertainment world, there is just something different about being able to interact with your audience and have that instant feedback that can change a business; not to mention the amount of heart that goes into making many of these one man business shows.
  • What you think of as ‘ultimately cool’ convergences of English and media
Here I go again about Youtube, one of my favorite additions that they have made has been the addition of in video links. With this update it allowed creators to think about making videos in a different way. They allowed their viewers to essentially pick their own adventure, but instead of in the traditional book format, it is all in video.
  • Websites that have gone through an evolution that you don’t like
When a site makes it difficult to find the content that you want to see, but makes it really easy for you to find content that you don't really care to see; it can cause a bit of a problem. Once again, Youtube, likes to make things difficult. As innovative as the platform is, some of its constant updates can be a bit of a hassle. I still use the platform, clearly, as I want to support the people who make content that I enjoy, but it is a bit of a hassle when I have to click through several pages just to find the content that I have subscribed to. I don't always want to see content that a database thinks that I might enjoy.