Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reflective Intro Outline

Scratch what I said in my previous post, I'm going with "The Ocean State Spirit" as my theme.

-The entries are in order of how applicable they are to the theme and two entries that will be most improved upon will be listed last

SNS-Showed how I can adapt to the differences and preferences of other writers to create a piece that appears cohesive and has one distinct purpose.

Blog-Showed consistency as a writer, focused on my audience and what it would take to maintain a following from other bloggers.

Wikitravel-Showed my ability to write with user usefulness and utility in mind, focused on detail and formality to fit the guidelines of a particular ecology.

Website redesign- Showed creativity and familiarity with website aesthetics, focused on efficiency and accessibility for users and importance of symmetry within a site

Options for Portfolio Theme

I thought it was pretty difficult coming up with a theme that tied all my work together that I've done this semester, but I finally landed on something. The Ocean State Culture was a title and theme I found to be catchy and applicable. I haven't really been able to think of anything else that I can consider for my theme so I'm going to go with it. I think that the two projects I'm focusing on, my blog and my wikitravel site, do a good job giving insight into why certain things are the way they are in this state.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Project Choices

I'm going to choose my enthusiast blog and my social networking site for projects to expand. I feel like I worked the hardest on these two projects and enjoyed them the most. My plans for both are as follows:

Enthusiast Blog
-work on catchier titles
- link blog posts together better
- tighten up grammatically

Social Networking Site
- improve the content of my blog post
- make the discussion board more interactive
-improve aesthetically

Kimball-Web Portfolios

Here are the major points that I took away from Kimball's piece, all of which are mentioned early on in the text and continue throughout.

1) Portfolios should be reflective in the sense that they should depict challenges you face, how you overcame them, and what you ultimately learned from each submission.

2) The standards of your work should somehow be explained and how you fulfilled those standards should be evident in your work.

3) You must present the portfolio in a way that will make sense and enables the audience to draw conclusions from it. You must create the portfolio with audience in mind.

Looking Back in my Cause Site Experience

I thought this was a great experience to be able to look back on. It was probably one of my favorite assignments in any writing class I've been apart of, but granted this is a very different kind of writing course. I was very pleased with our final product and am glad that it went as smoothly as it did. Group projects can sometimes be more daunting than beneficial, but I thought this was a project well suited for teamwork and input from other people. I thought that this project incorporated many different ways to be creative and to ultimately get the major points of the cause across through the tools Ning offers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Using Feedback

I thought that our feedback was helpful at times and inaccurate at others. I think it's difficult to give feedback on something that you haven't really worked and are unfamiliar with, so the feedback group responding to us isn't at fault. I moved around a couple things on the page, cut down on the welcome note, and made a few adjustments to my personal page. As for the aesthetics, we pretty much got carved by the feedback group, but I see our layout as something that suits our page well, and my group mates agree. We will work on our blog to make it work better as a whole and I will try to find a way to make our mission statement a little more direct and specific, although I think where it is now is good because it is general enough to capture differences in focus of each member.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Process of Creating a Cause Website

This is definitely my favorite project of the semester. I like how I can directly interact with my group mates through the site, as opposed to just working toward on it together like with the Website redesign. It seemed like a pretty overwhelming project, but when you put four heads together that contribute with an ample effort, it actually turns into a rewarding experience. It feel it combines your overall creativity and the ability to achieve a desired goal better than any project we've completed thus far. I initially wasn't too fond of the way Ning looked and operated, but as usual, I have grown accustomed to it and enjoyed many of the tools that they have to offer. I really like the layout once you have chosen which features you want to include. It makes editing and creating on the site easy and efficient.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

3 Potential Forum Topics

1) The most notorious scams
2) The legal implications of scams
3) What you can do to spread awareness

Monday, November 16, 2009

3 Topics for Cause

After doing some research, I think topics of interest for scams are:

1) Academic scams-Online Degrees, scholarships
2) Job scams, quick cash scams
3) Foreclosure, financial bailout scams

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ning Reaction

The site is very different from anything I've ever used before. I like how it has the snapshot of the page which also serves as the link. Just to get a feel for it, I searched for current issues in general. I came across "Green Passports" which were supporters of environmental responsibility on an international level. I also saw a site on obesity which looked to require some involvement and a very persuasive page about a California politician. I can see how this pages can influence opinions and beliefs towards a certain issue. I think the site could have a better search system because I had a hard time finding specific issues.

Boyd vs. Bennett

I thought that both articles were interesting to read. They both were similar in regards to how they explained this new era of "self-actualization" and how it differs from typical involvement and citizenship. Bennett's article, however, makes it seem like the new school thought process is something that has to be accepted and can actually be an opportunity for society. Though Boyd comes off as a little extreme, I can see what he means when he says that SNS's are an egoists dream and ultimately hinder willingness to seek other social realms. I can see it when I use Facebook. So much of the same information is circulating amongst the same people that the group thinks it must be true. It's human nature. It's natural to gravitate toward something when you know group consensus will support it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

SNS Article

I thought it was kind of cool taking a look at the evolution of these social networking sites. A different way of looking at it is that you are developing relationships with people in your extended network rather than total strangers. I thought that the problems that Friendster encountered were great to learn from moving forward for SNS's. The issue and main concern that has been resolved is the privacy, security, and the trust the public has in these sites. Sites like MySpace and Facebook have done the job right by learning from past failures. What MySpace did correctly was respond to customer demand and create a free way for people to network. Why in the world would anyone pay for something when there is an almost identical product for free?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Five Issues That Really Concern Me

1) Scams-Insurance, Home foreclosure bailouts, etc.
2) Global Warming/Environment
3) Corruption in Government
4) Police Brutality
5) What's going into our food

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Web Design in Retrospect

I really had a good time with this one and I think my group members did as well. I think it was very much they fact that the project was much more incremental and team oriented than the others, and if something like this wasn't, it wouldn't be nearly as effective. I liked the fact that we didn't have to be web masters to create this project and we got to use what we knew to be creative. It helped that Google sites was basic enough to the point where we weren't overwhelmed once we became accustomed to it. Sure, it wasn't the best template to use, but it helped us achieve the main goals of this assignment. I'd be interested to see what our new page would look like if we expanded the entire old site.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Applying the Finishing Touches

So last night I made some finishing touches to the aesthetic appeal of our website. I made certain text bold to make it stand out better and changed many of the fonts to give them a little more flare. I also corrected small symmetry issues on the main page while still maintaining the same alignment. Barring any changes that my group members deem necessary, I think the site is pretty much ready to go. I would just like to attribute some of the clashing of colors between our page background and link colors to the fact that Google Sites did not allow us to change the color of the link. Either that or the process is something we overlooked/not easily accessible.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Web Design Experience

When I was first introduced to the idea of this assignment, I'll admit I was a little skeptical about how it would turn out. As the cohesiveness and communication with my group became stronger, the ease with which we completed the redesign became stronger as well. I also thought that the approach to this assignment was a little bit different when we first covered it. I thought we would be completely re-making a page and need a good deal of web design knowledge to complete it. I also thought that my group members and I would be doing almost identical things. The different roles that we all took in making this project a success proved my prediction wrong. Each part that we did was crucial to the project as a whole.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First Impression of Google Sites

It almost seems unimaginable to have a platform as easy to use and is still efficient and dynamic like Google Sites. Usually when different applications and accessories are added to the technological mix, people become intimidated and are unwilling to give these new concepts consideration. What I like about Google Sites in contrast Wikipedia or other sources of information is that you can maintain control of your domain while still allowing others to contribute. A concern of mine with Google Sites is that the sites will be too informal. I feel that Google Sites will have some of the characteristics of what we consider to be bad sites because of the clutter and the inability to get points across. The increasing number of distractions and the lacking drive to put together a professional site are other related problems I feel could occur with Google Sites, but we will certainly see as time goes on.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2 Examples of Web Pages

The following is a link to a website that has characteristics of a well-put together website.

This website belongs to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League, which regulates the sports teams of high schools in the state which have subjected themselves to the RIIL's governing. What makes this site especially useful are the internal links to other areas on the site. All of these areas are labeled appropriately so you'll find exactly what your looking for on that particular page. It gives directions to all of the high school sports venues and allows for any volunteers to participate in any number of organizational activities. Another important characteristic is that this site is consistent with how it presents the various pages within the site and doesn't allow any of the aesthetic appeal become a distraction from the actual information.

The following is a link to a site that I found to be lacking for a few different reasons. (Don't ask how I found it)

I thought this site lacked in how interactive it was. All we really get from it is a few pictures and a general idea of the creativity necessary to win. It doesn't really tell you how to get involved and really doesn't give much incentive or inspiration to become involved. I think some video clips would be helpful to capture the event. Also, we don't actually know much about the procedural aspect of this competition. Do you just stand there? Do you submit pictures? Are there any qualifications? These are just some of the questions that go unaddressed.

Response to Pamquist's Chapter 17

This article really helped me understand the concept of a hierarchical organizational pattern as it pertains to making a website. It is something that we don't usually think of as viewers of websites, but now as creators of websites, it can become an essential part of the structural decision making process. I also enjoyed reading the Web Page Guidelines section and agreed with most of what was is there. I feel I won't have too many issues with the consistency aspect of my page since I always consider consistency to be one of my strong points and something I implement often. I also like how he talks about keeping important information on the screen, which hadn't really dawned on me until reading this article. There have been many instances where I became impatient because I couldn't find what I wanted and left for another site. This is detrimental to us as web designers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wikitravel in Retrospect

I have just put the finishing touches on my entries for my wikitravel page. I really like the feedback I got from my peers and one group mate in particular. I wasn't sure if including external links was going to work for my page, but the feedback reassured me that all the great wikitravel pages have them. Whatever information I didn't provide could be better provided by the websites I linked to the page, and I think its great how they are supplements to each other. I looked over my entries and made sure the grammar and sentence structure was well pulled together. I felt that I kept a consistent tone and talked about things that showed I was knowledgeable about places, which should help the readers feel more confident in going there. I guess I could have talked about a few more places of interest, but I put a lot of thought into it, and these are the ones that deserved the most consideration and ended up making it on the page. I learned that the places that should be included don't need to be forced onto the page, and writing about them comes naturally if they are is great as people say they are.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thoughts on Wikitravel

So far I've had an enjoyable time working with Wikipedia, more so than I anticipated I would have. I think I can use the passion I have for my interests to write about places in my town that will give them a good idea about the kind of place it is. I am getting used to the Wiki markup and after a few listings it becomes second nature to you. I do find it a little troublesome adding to an already existing wikitravel article because it isn't always consistent with what I think, but I don't want to contradict it in any way. I am still in the process of adding more but I feel I've gotten the bulk of my entries included. I'm interested to hear the feedback I get from the group review.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

3 Drafts for Wikitravel


Wildfire Brick Oven Pizza and Bar-(1-401-353-7110)Formerly Stuffies Bar and Grille, Wildfire has great selections of personal specialty pizzas reasonably priced and loaded with flavor. Seafood and pasta dishes are also reasonably priced and serving sizes are more than enough to leave you stuffed. The establishment's structure allows for privacy and the atmosphere is very welcoming. Entrees range from flame-grilled rib eye to lobster ravioli, and the selection of cocktails and alcohol beverages is one of the best in the area. The price range of most dishes is between 14.99 and 18.99. Get in at a good time (between 5 and 6) before it gets busy, and you'll have a satisfying dining experience.


Brands:The Hobby Place (1-401-231-5380)If you are looking to have some fun with remote control planes, cars, and other vehicles, then this may be the place for you. Brands has all the parts you need to successfully maintain any remote control vehicle and takes pride in customer satisfaction . Whether it's a hobby or something you just want to try, Brands will find that items that will suit your preferences and have you walking out of the door a happy camper.


Gold's Gym (1-401-714-0786) Gold's has state-of-the-art exercise equipment, energy and fitness supplements, and various exercises classes taught by experienced instructors. With the ability to create a relaxed, yet energetic atmosphere, Gold's gym is a place where you can feel comfortable and still maintain the ambition to reach your fitness goals. Personal trainers are available, and the members that belong to Gold's are almost always helpful in offering their best advice and support while you're there.

3 Tips from Manual of Style

I think these are the three most important points in the manual of style:

1)Avoid HTML
2)Internal and External Links

I think using multiple output format is a great idea. HTML can be rather complex, and editing the Wiki markup is much easier. I also like the philosophy Wikitravel has in regards to not wasting time trying to use a system that is difficult to understand when valuable information can be created during that time.

Understanding how to use internal links to other Wikitravel content and external links to other websites are assets that a creator and manager can utilize. Including links to the most relevant and pertinent information allows Wikitravel users to have an opportunity to navigate and maximize how knowledgeable they are about a particular area.

Listing currency correctly is important also. It should be the creator or contributors job to use the appropriate nominal symbol in front of numbers and include cost for information that deserves it. Misusing currency can mislead users and that would be serving an injustice to Wikitravel.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Possibilities for Wikitravel

Three places I have strongly considered focusing on for the Wikitravel assignment are

North Providence, RI (my hometown)
Verona, NY
Kittery, Maine

There are currently no articles written specifically written about North Providence or Verona, although there was one written on Providence County. I think that my close relationship with the town will allow me to give some important information to travelers. As for Verona, I've been there a couple times for short stays and believe that I could give information about the entertainment aspect of it. Kittery already has articles written on it, but it's another place I've been to a handful of times and feel that I could explore the opportunities to shop and spend money, since that's what Kittery is all about. There are so many shopping outlets and restaurants to choose from, and I think I can help with that.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Initial Thoughts About WikiTravel

WikiTravel seems to be very serious about their protocol and policies according to the pages that I read. I agree with how they want you to be brutally honest about people and places, but the sole intent of the writing should not be to bash anyone or anything. I like the layout of the main page. It reminds me a lot of major news networks websites and how they section off different areas. At first glance it looks good. It looks to be easily accessible by people from all over the world and it appeals to the entire world by focusing on a wide range of culture.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Not Exactly within the Mainstream

Looking at what I have so far, I think that I will have to constantly write about topics and happenings that you just wouldn't find anywhere else. I guess you could call it being unique. It dawned on me how many blogs are out there that closely resemble my own. This will take more going out to find some valuable and entertaining material rather than letting it come to me. I'm gonna try to keep my eyes open a little bit wider and try to view things from as many perspectives as possible. I realize it will be difficult for students outside URI to fully understand what I'm talking about, but maybe others can relate their experiences to mine somehow.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Learning from the Process

If there is one concept that I feel I've grasped so far, it is that I should appeal to my audience by diversifying. The topic of my blog allows me a little wiggle room to discuss things that can somehow touch everyone. I have always been so accustomed to writing in a formal style and I've tried to stay away from that as much as possible because I know it takes away from overall quality. I need to condense my sentences so that they don't drag on forever, which has always been one of my weaknesses as a writer. As I initially stated, I was weary because I was trying not to insult anyone in my posts and I feel I've done a good job with that thus far. The reactions I have received from classmates have been uplifting for me. They feel that the content of my blog is very entertaining and valuable. What is most encouraging is that they feel they can relate to what I say, which is the main purpose of my blog.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A new blogging experience

Keeping up with my enthusiast blog is certainly a lot of work, but coming up with ideas for how to make it run smoothly have come to me a lot easier than expected. I want to be able to write about things that matter to people. I want them to be able to say things like "That's funny but true" and "Where has this kid been my whole life." I want my blog to be a place where they can interact and express themselves in a way they didn't see possible before. Even if people don't respond, the questions I pose at the end of my posts make people think, and If I'm a reader, that's all I could ever ask for. Much of what I have written so far is completely raw and unfiltered, which is the way I (and I'm sure others)feel it should be. I would never want to cheat loyal readers out of anything they deserve and expect out of me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Credibility of my blog

I feel that the content of my blog doesn't require any credentials besides being a truthful and honest person, but I guess people will just have to learn to trust and take my word for it in the meantime. I feel that people can respect my posts because I tend to include many different angles and perspectives when I write about a particular subject or situation, which will hopefully widen my reader base a little bit. I have always felt that for someone to understand any concept that they need to understand how people with different thought processes may perceive the same thing. Lastly, I feel that my blog will separate itself from others in that it focuses on a topic that many young adults have yearned to talk and write about, but haven't really had a place in which they felt comfortable enough to express themselves.

My Clubhouse Blog

I'm going to create a blog titled "Balancing College Life at a Big University." I feel that this could turn out to be a really popular blog since its a very relatable subject. I can write about a range of things, from my experiences with classes, professors, and dining halls to stories of friends, night life, and working in South County. I will try to keep most names anonymous and use an alias for many, but I can assure that the significance and creativity of my blog posts will remain unphased. I feel I can not only reach out to college students, but to those heading to college soon or have already experienced college life who feel they can relate their past to what I'm writing.
The main problem I envision happening with this blog is that I will become too hypocritical and some posts might be interpreted as gossip, which I absolutely do not want. I am also a bit weary of making generalizations that some might find offensive. I will attempt not to insult anyone with my posts and post positives along with negatives to keep a healthy balance. I intend on including daily tips or lessons that I learn throughout each day, and plan on proposing questions on my blog for readers to answer to help me with some of my own questions.
I want to keep my blog very active and hope that my readers can take what I say with a grain of salt. I barely take myself seriously and I want my readers to take me just as seriously. I want to have a laid back, yet informative blog with as wide a range of personalities as possible contributing to it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ideas for Blogs

1. Most Embarassing Sports Moments
2. Controversial Music Lyrics
3. Balancing College Life
4. Outrageous Prices
5. Funny TV Commercials/Infomercials

Stefanac Response

I enjoyed reading the writing of such an experienced blogger. You can really take some points away from this and I plan to during the course of this semester. The most interesting part of this reading for me was the section entitled "Adjusting the focus of your blog to aid discovery." I never really thought of it before, but it makes perfect sense. You don't want to make your writing too general because readers can find material more specific to their interests. You don't want to make it too narrow or else you'll lose readers whose interests otherwise might loosely be tied to yours and could eventually become part of your blog. I hadn't really thought of the money aspect of creating blogs, but this piece reiterated to me that you should never do anything solely for money and only if your heart is truly in it. I also feel very similarly to Stefanac in terms of print vs. blogs because I like the informality of online communication and less strict guidelines. The personality of the writer can best be understood that way.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rebecca Blood Response/Blogging Experience

I think the the points that Rebecca brings up are realistic and gives bloggers a sense of optimism in terms of combatting corporate restraint. Even this day in age, I think it would be difficult for blogs to take off like Rebecca wants them to, but I agree that opening people's eyes to the world of blogging could help them develop more critical and well-thought out perspectives of themselves and others. I like the fact that she gave support to free blogs and web logs and emphasized the purposes and important roles both have in blog communication. I also agree with the fact that we need a more "public" type of media as opposed to an "audience," but I feel its difficult for there to be a massive transformation towards aggresive media.

I've mostly done reading of blogs and the occasional reponse to a thread. A common theme of these blogs is that everyone who writes on them feels that they are part of a community and consider other bloggers their real friends. I've dealt with mostly laid back blogs on gaming and sports sites, but I've interacted on political blogs where some arguments become intense and serious. If researched many health blogs in an attempt to pick up on warning signs of certain illnesses, where the blog content was very direct and informative in nature. Other blogs I've encountered include news and other current events websites where many critical insights covering an array of issues can be found.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What is Writing?

Writing is the act of expressing your own ideas and thought process in a particular form. It can range from the most basic form, a doodle on a paper, to very complex forms such as novels and textbooks. Writing can be whatever its creator wants it to be, but the main purpose of writing is to communicate with others in order to enhance and change perceptions.

My frequent writing environments are almost always quiet and simple. If a room has any distractions such as loud music, I won't be able to concentrate on the work at hand. My environments include:

My room at home
My dorm room
The library