Weblogs Final Report

Review

I started this course only knowing the basics of blogging. But throughout the course and through my own research in other classes I learned a ton about blogging, outside of Tumblr, such as its use in acedemics and as a platform for Self representation. In the beginning of this project, I set out to cover current events and politics. I covered a couple great topic areas such as gun control and President Trump’s proclivity towards lying (also here), while hopefully presenting a casual and unabashed tone. I even tried to be helpful and humour during the holiday season, something I really found enjoyful to write. This blog was also nice because it lets me practice writing for a non-academic audience.

One thing I needed to include was pictures. When I did my studio tours one of the things I noticed was everyones pictures. Like when I reveiwed Kendra’s Blog. Her walls of text were broken up by pictures for her weekly recipes. That would have been good for my walls of text, especially since they discuss politics and most people detest reading about politics.

This really helped me in my professional life, because it was the first time I created a website for public consumption. If there is one thing I learned this past year of studying political communication it is this:

Social media, including blogging sites, is an increasinly importan avenue for political communication. Not for just advertising candidates or sending a message, because its a great avenue for political discussion.

Blogging like this has taught me some things that would help me run political candidates online campaign. Something I believe is crucially important because it increases young peoples political efficacy through discussion and personal participation. It’s effects are non-partisan with unreliable success, but I believe it can be beneficial to our democracy.

However I only posted a few things, falling well short of my contract. The posts I did manage to get out I believe were presented professionally and entertained some people through comments, but I should have many more by this point. It was hard for me to write content I wanted to this semester because I had so much to write in my other 5 classes as well as my independent study. Weekly I was pumping out so many pages,  even writing for fun was exceptionally draining.

Meaning

The sporatic nature of my writings, instead of updating on a regular basis, probably lead to my low viewership. I blame my lack of structure but also can be because of my super packed schedule. I haven’t been the most organized person in my life, but I’m improving thanks to this class and writing 3 research papers with over 50 sources.  However my failure to fully fulfill the contract I set out on indicates I still have a little ways to go.

I hope that this blog, if I continue it after this class or not, would help other younger people’s political efficacy because it offers debate in comments and gives people a semianonymous way to engage in politics online. Even today when I finish this evaluation I continue to write another final paper on US history and 2 more on Guatemalan revolution and FDR respectivley. I love writting it’s one of the things I believe I do well, but this intense workload has me worried about my future. Hopefully once my life settles down a bit, I can handle a similar workload, otherwise I have no clue how I’m going to finish graduate school.

Future?

If I were to do this project again, I would give myself more structure to work in. Possibly giving myself strict posting deadlines. I do hope to continue posting on this blog (hopefully every sunday, if I had to give myself a hard deadline). In the end I don’t believe I deserve full credit for this project, insetad I fell somewhere below a B from my proposal. I really enjoyed this class and meeting the professor my girlfriend would not shut up about. As I stated previously, This class really helped me understand a possible aspect of my professional life and for that, I am super grateful. Even if I don’t get an A in this course I really enjoyed it and have already recommended it to my freshman and junior classmates.

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Violence, Videogames, and Trump

Trump is attacking gamers by linking them with mass shooters. This is tastefully ironic because gamergate, a huge gamer movement that was essentially a death/rape threat campaign, and other various internet subcultures and movements make up the Alt-right coalition that voted him into office. However, (and I seriously do not want to defend the Alt-right or the Gamergate movement) the whole comparasion is bullshit. Studies regularly show that there is no connection between video games and violent behavior. It would be more reasonable assumption that people who are likely to be mass killers are more drawn to video games. Such as the case with players of battle royal style games being more likly to be those with competitive, extraverted personalities, as found in this analysis of viewers of the Youtube Channel Game Theory found:

More research needs to be done into what makes a person decide to massacre their friends and teachers, but we know that easily available guns only makes it worse. (For more on my gun control stance view and comment on this post)

 

Weekly Review 5

I don’t know how people find the time to create blog posts or maintain any site regularly. Writting just one post takes up hours of my time. This has been a fun experience but Im unsure if I would continue to do this after class (possibly if I could do it at my own pace without having to push out content for a grade).

I had a lot of fun writing my most recent post on Trump’s bombing of Syria. It’s really enjoyable to point out Trump’s hypocracy, despite it possibly being the lowest hanging fruit of the political world. Guy has a habit of contradicting himself.

Honestly though, between keeping up with this blog and writing the 2 final papers for other classes, and my 3 research papers, I am absolutely beat. I was actually relieved when the Political Science conference I was supposed to attend was cancelled because it meant I could finish more work. I don’t ever want to look at a work cited page again forever, or at least for a few weeks of summer. 

Trump Fires Off Again!

In a not-at-all-surprising turn of events, on Friday night we launched an airstrike on three chemical weapon facilities in Syria. Such an act puts us one step closer to entering the already volatile war that plagues the Middle Eastern nation.

Why is this a turn of events? Because between June of 2013 and September of 2014, Trump was incredibly outspoken on Twitter about his opposition to Obama’s political involvement with Syria, saying that we should, “stay the hell out of Syria” and calling on Obama to ensure he had congressional approval for any military action taken there. He also claimed that, if he were to attack Syria, he would not announce that he was doing so beforehand. Now he’s gone back on his word and attacked Syria, and he announced on Twitter that the attack was incoming (while simultaneously taking yet another opportunity to flex his “tremendous” bragging skills).

He even tried to blame Obama for not taking stronger action Assad and the Syrian government earlier this month, claiming that the conflict would have ended already if he had. Let’s make sure everyone has that straight. When Obama was president and the idea of taking military action in Syria was floating around, Trump was vehemently against it. Now, since the conflict is still going and he has to deal with it himself, Trump is suddenly all for launching airstrikes. Even without bringing in the factor of racism, since we should all know by now that Trump is a blatant racist, it’s still disgraceful how he attempts to shift the blame to anyone other than himself.

And why is this turn of events not even the tiniest bit surprising? Because it’s just one more in a long list of stances that Trump has reversed the minute it became either convenient or beneficial to him. Trump is well known for pandering to his audience to an extreme extent, flip flopping on issues like taxes, healthcare, and abortion, as you can see in this video.

So then the question now is: Why is interfering in Syria and potentially dragging the US into a war that he previously opposed suddenly beneficial to Trump? What is he gaining from this? Many theorize that this was an attempt to distract the public from other scandals he’s involved with. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich outlined several likely scandal he could be trying to draw attention from.

Since the tweet warning about the strike was directed not at Syrian leadership, but rather warning Russia not to interfere, it could also be an attempt to make it look like he is hard on Russia and definitely not colluding with them whatsoever. Or it could just be a big old power trip. We’ll likely never know the true reason because Trump seems to be allergic to telling anyone the truth. Whatever the reason may be, such an act was hypocritical, and showed once again that Trump lacks a basic understanding of diplomacy.

Studio Tours

Today, I’m taking the chance to review some other blogs, produced by my colleagues, for my classes Studio Tours assignment.

Wunderkammer

Wunderkammer is a blog that attempts to be a so-called cabinet of curiosities, it says so as much in the about me section. The main page shows a collection of pictures with no titles. There isn’t much explanation on the main page, or much text at all really, possibly leaving readers a little confused. A little introduction here might be a welcoming way to greet new readers. Same can be said about each of the different pictures. When you hover over each of them a title is displayed, but that is all and sometimes the pictures are only semi-relevant. On posts that are more than just a picture there is plenty of beautifully written texts dotted by block quotes. The format of the writing, as well as the blogs theme, feels very reminiscent of the work the quote at the top of the blog is from. I do like the overall style of the blog and think it works well for its purpose, even if it is a little confusing.

Mr E’s Monsterous Monsters Wiki

What is a better project then a collection of interesting monsters created by a 12 year old? Even better the wiki allows for users to add their own works into Mr E’s universe. Honestly this project, or something similar, could be an interesting way to introduce kids to wikis and content management, if taught properly. Especially since its goal is to help kids neurotypical or those that are dyslexic. It was a little confusing to navigate upon first arriving, but the clear indicator towards the Index made things easier. I think the wiki format is perfect for this, because it allows you to make page for each different monster in a simple format. I really enjoyed some of the categories as well, such as palm sized monsters.

Kendra’s Blog

This blog feels very personal, a feeling created in part due to the picture of the creator being front and center. The posts were interesting but the wall of text that is the blog can make the task of reading or navigating it seem daunting. This is an issue I am currently facing with my own blog and reading through Kendra’s gave me a some insight into the issue and how to solve it. One way this blog overcomes the problem is through the weekly recipes. The weekly recipes are an excellent way to break up the text with delicious and tantalizing pictures of the dishes in the blog posts title. These posts defiantly caught my attention better than the others and made me want to read them more. The creator also has a decently thorough tagging system which made navigating the blog, and finding more posts you want to read, a little easier

The Darker Side

(note: I had already wrote this small section before I read the blogs I was supposed to visit. I decided to keep it cause this blog is interesting)

Upon first loading up The Darker Side blog you are immediately met by photos of dark, mysterious things with short descriptions of the things pictured underneath. This theme, with its dark colors, really works well to create the image that this is a collection or curiosities. This blog reminds me of others, such at The Holder Series or The SCP Foundation (although I think they are stylized more like wikis, while this makes use of the style a blog can offer.)  I really enjoyed this blog, the writing was interesting and the pictures captivating. My one criticism would be with the off-green background color. I just believe its a little unappealing and makes dark text harder to read.

Tips on Navigating Holiday Political Debates

As we come back from the holiday weekend, I’m sure we all had a similar experience. Our family in some way or another starts discussing politics. Sometimes these discussions turn into verbal brawls, meanwhile no one actually changes their beliefs. I just wanted to record some of my methods for those in a similar situation during their holiday breaks.

1. Do not engage with them.

Somethimes the easiest and most obvious solution is to just avoid the stress and commotion.  But this isn’t always the easiest option. Sometimes family members wil directly question you on some topic or something your really passionate about comes up. For example, last thanksgiving my family got into an expecially heated debate on gun control. In those situations I usually defer to the following strategem.

2. Ask questions instead of arguing your own talking points.

It’s usually better to allow people to come to their own conclusion insetad of adopting your own. I tend to asked pointed questions during most debates for this reason. Usually there are holes in someones arguement that can be exacerbated, especially if this person is fed a steady diet of MSNBC and Fox New. Sometimes someone will say something completly fallacious or push some incorrect statistic. Times like that its better to follow the final step.

3. Look things up.

A large majority of us today (77%) own a smartphone and the ability to access information. I see no shame in fact checking or finding sources, google scholar is free, college level information isn’t locked behind instatuduional paywalls anymore.

week 3 reflection

Again this week, with the holidays and the upcomming student achievment day, I had a little trouble with actually getting posts out. meanwhile my source list keeps expanding with every article I read and save to Reddit or Evernote. I’ve been trying to save times during the weekend to work on posting, but with the holidays this weekend and driving 4 hours each way, I missed a lot of time I could have spent writing.

At least this time I actually got the review posted before midnight..