and can be found here. I’ve enjoyed writing for this class and working with you all. Godspeed.
With Technology Literacy Narrative – The Present, I continued to discuss technology’s role in my life, shifting over to the present day, where tech has taken a far more prominent role in my life. As technology developed and became more sophisticated, it caught my attention and I was drawn in and inspired to create something of my own. Currently, I stand at a crossroads, wondering what I will do next. Reflecting back on the path that I treaded and analyzing it in the contexts of Jenkins’ set of literacy was surreal and interesting to do.
“It’s a shame that for whatever reason, we tend to voluntarily <metaphor> divide ourselves into two camps </metaphor>:communication people on one side and computation people on the other. Everyone has both capacities in some measure. We just tend to play to our strengths and are therefore weaker.” (xxxii) This paragraph is something that struck me personally because after coming to Emory, it occurred to me how unilaterally and single-mindedly focused I had become on writing and how a lack of experience in anything else beyond perfecting my craft has limited my abilities and my view of the world.
One of the greatest miracles that technology has worked on my life is that it has given me some of the best friends that I could ask for. I was reminded of this while going through this assignment, as I talked with Tyler about new media and the environment. You can read my conversation with Tyler here.
However, unlike my previous encounters, this association did not go any farther beyond our interviews and work to complete this project.
Not being forced into a video conference or a voice call was particularly helpful for me. All of my friendships naturally progressed from the written word, which I feel is definitely my native element, into the voice and face-to-face interactions. Because I’ve used writing to communicate for so long it also made it a lot easier to be open with Tyler, as I do work to make my writing more emotive and open than I might be in person. Hopefully this made up for any feelings that the interactions were impersonal for Tyler. After more time in this class, I feel I’ve settled really comfortably in this writing style which feels much more like a hybrid of the more academic formal writing I’ve done so far and the more casual blog writing that I’ve completed.
However, I feel the academic mindset had already considerably restricted us and the context of our association to a strictly professional mindset. We only talked about environment and the new media and to complete the assignment because while we had a few things in common, we were still very different people who were forced together. Comparing this to current friendships I had, I wonder if it’s being trapped to talk about the focus of the classes that made this project. While we could talk about our own unique perspectives on the topic, it didn’t allow for any deep connections between Tyler and myself, and I feel at times, we lacked context about our own experiences that would have added to our opinions.
While this project felt disjointed and felt frustrating to complete, it allowed me to look at how the Internet has forged friendships and shaped a huge part of my life, and for that reason, I find this project valuable.
I̶t̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶d̶a̶r̶k̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶s̶t̶o̶r̶m̶y̶ ̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ (I’ve found that strikethroughs don’t work very well on WordPress.)
But actually, one late night, my partner Shemmi summoned me to Woodruff Library in order to hammer out the next episode of The Web We Weave.
She pitched me the idea of covering 350.org for The Web We Weave and I jumped onto it. Going onto the website, we browsed through the different initiatives and statistics that 350.org had to offer. I then asked Shemmi what made this organization and its background an ideal candidate for this new media podcast. She explained that the fact that this information had never been as openly available as it had with the advent of the Internet. To illustrate, the environmental statistics that the site sought to share had only really been available in texts that not all had access to or had trouble finding and using (such as encyclopedias and almanacs) and that it allowed opportunities for service and for environmental campaigns to promote and get their message out across the world.
This was the setup we chose to maintain throughout the planning and recording process. I would question her and allow her to answer, and this back-and-forth made the planning and scripting process for this podcast far quicker and enjoyable the second time around. Because I was not the star of this show, I felt much more comfortable helping and planning and also letting Shemmi take the spotlight to discuss her passions. This time, it felt much more like I was writing essay prompts for Shemmi to fill out and structure as she saw fit, and I definitely felt more comfortable than I had in my previous episode. With Shemmi’s encouragement, I tried to quell the quavering in my voice, and I succeeded. I’m really proud of taking another step out of that shadow.
As compared to “Pancakes for the Soul” and “Every Frame a Painting”, which both specifically focused on the medium itself, I feel that this episode pushed against a solitary focus on new media and talked just as much about the cause of environmentalism and brought these issues alongside the discussion of the accessibility of information and the participation of audiences in protests and locating data. I think this episode was one of the few that could have benefited from a longer running time to allow further depth and to allow both issues to stand side-by-side, for as it is, the episode itself, to me personally, felt a little crammed. Moreover, I think it addressed and focused on digital citizenship a lot more than previous episodes may have as 350.org focuses on calling us denizens of the Internet to IRL action, and this episode in turn focuses on how the site makes that possible.
This allowed for a more natural dynamic that extended into the recording process- the immediacy of taking our words and thoughts and immediately throwing them into action felt refreshing and allowed our commentary to not be stale. While I felt it wasn’t as thorough as the process Kevin and I underwent, it did allow for a more interesting performance. I would love to use this form of brainstorming and I actually later used this role as the questioner in an editorial for The Emory Wheel, which you can read here. This, as well as working to have a clearer voice in this podcast were what I felt my best achievements walking out of this podcast.
This episode of The Web We Weave solidified a style of thought for me, and I greatly enjoyed working with Shemmi to bring it together. If you’d like to listen, you can find it here.
I think my role in this venture based around the Equality of Opportunity Project involves writing and storytelling. While I’m not the best at data analysis, I can tell a story. So, it’s my hopes that within this group, I can hopefully be the person who takes the figures and the notes and the analyses and writes them up. While my role is definitely uncertain, the one that I feel I can complete best is to communicate these facts to an audience. I think that right now, a lot of things are still up in the air, but that while I may have some thoughts on the data, my value to this group rests in communication.
This is, of course, assuming that we get data back. There’s a good chance that we might not. In that case, I would probably still work to compile the hypotheses and things to look for in the future with my group mates and work on making the information easy to understand and access to the layman, because not everyone studies this stuff and they might not understand it from the getgo.
I know that this isn’t something that we intend to do, that we intend to target academics in particular, but I feel like this is a skill we need to work on. Because as much as I don’t like admitting it, academics are still rather rare. And if we want serious debates, we need to go outside the academic sphere.
Preparing for this podcast was definitely one of the more nerve-wracking parts of my life. I felt as if I needed to prove to myself that I was capable of being in charge of such an episode, of being able to take the stage with my voice after hiding behind the written word for so long.
When looking for material to address Every Frame a Painting, I went through first some of the series entries before poking around Vimeo to find every episode of the series uploaded there, before turning to Tony Zhou’s Patreon for EFAP, which offers alternate versions of the episodes for educational use (at a price), and then to Twitter and Reddit, both forums that I used quite often. Showing these different resources to my partner, we both made our own observations. As I watched Zhou interact with his followers and advise them on how to critique the works that had impacted them, I saw how viewer-audience participation worked its way into Zhou’s new media and how it allowed him to continue participating himself despite how long it had been since the series had updated.
I was not initially exceedingly familiar with Every Frame a Painting, nor was my partner Kevin. However, I was familiar with the YouTube scene and personalities like the Nerdwriter, so when we sat down to plan out the episode, we each brought our own impressions on the series and our own contexts (Kevin had previous experience with the Soul Pancake episode of The Web We Weave). Kevin pitched questions to me while I did my best to answer them, and I would then in turn bring up different topics of conversation (such as the Reddit AMA mentioned in the episode and the idea of Tony Zhou perpetuating the participatory culture with his work). Collaboration was more than integral in making this episode what it was. It was also more than reassuring to have someone who was so confident on board and had faith in my work. We worked on applying Every Frame a Painting to the terminology we had covered in class and we put it all into one Google Doc entry.
The document was interesting because it was far more fragmentary and incomplete- when writing for another mode, because it relied much more on my voice and the natural chemistry I had with the co-producer, I found that it was both challenging to not fall back and write out whole monologues or answers to questions without stifling the conversation, and recording became difficult because I found myself worrying that my co-host would feel cramped or cut off. It was difficult to not be overwhelmingly self-aware of everything. This did help my rhetorical composition in the end and I think it’s made me more adaptable than I was before.
The process also felt much faster and immediate than writing, say, this reflection or another blog post or article, which takes me a lot more time. It also felt natural to go faster than with my previous work. While structuring the argument and conversation was both very much the same, it also felt different because I had someone else to bounce off and interact with. In a way, it was like having another person alternating the argument paragraphs- similar arguments that still differed in subtle ways.
Thinking about it, it felt a lot like the terror I felt when first trying improv comedy- I always felt unsure about whether I would stick the landing and provide something fresh and new each time Kevin brought something new into the discussion, but jumping in headfirst, I somehow managed to stick the landings.
I’ve learned that I need to work on my timing- we went over by a lot and editing involved cutting out a lot of material and it was a struggle to finish the episode in time while balancing other obligations. I need to work on my self-confidence as I was exceedingly nervous during the episode, and I think that it is evident that while I eased up as time went along, I still have a long way to go.
But given the chance to work on a similar project? I’d jump at the opportunity.
Something that I feel perhaps overtook the Technology Literacy Narrative as I wrote it was a bit of regret. Nowadays, I look on at the great technological strides being made with wonder, but looking back, I realize it wasn’t always that way. As much as I like to think I embraced the changes and worked with the technology eagerly, I didn’t always. I was always more impatient and unwilling to learn and work around the limitations of the computers and programs I had access to at the time. That is something I wish I could change, because it’s regrettable to not have truly paid notice to the great evolution that has taken place over the course of the past few years.
I started with the prewriting, taking notes on what I remembered of my uses with technology as a kid and then went back and thought harder, and even asked my parents a few questions for details that I couldn’t remember. I seek to be honest with my narratives, and I did not want to glaze over or idealize anything. I then plotted out the timeline as if it were a short story and then wrote it out. Although I did not use any new media techniques, I would like to begin infusing them into my work more and playing around more and experimenting to transcend my current limits within the old media.