Final Reflection: Digital Literacy

What is Digital Literacy to Me?wordle-digital-literacy1

This past semester of Digital Communications has taught me many skills that will apply to the world outside college. Some of the most important skills include using media platforms to our advantage, understanding your audience and environment, and interactivity as a whole. 

Glynda Hull, author of “At Last: Youth Culture and Digital Media: New Literacies for New Times” calls for an “urgent need: to expand out conceptions of what it means to be fully literate in new times.” One must exhibit all concepts considered as communicative tools. To be a digitally literate person, one must posse a variety of digital skills including an understanding of online communities and social networks and the willingness to engage. Educating citizens in the field of digital literacy is an essential component of making our culture digitally connected.

The most important digital literacies required in our digital age are interactivity, knowing how to write to a specific audience, understanding different media platforms, having a personal voice, and being a good critical thinker. Interactivity is the basis of communication. Human to human interactions does not just need to be in face to face interactions but on the web and in digital forms. It helps people feel that they are a part of something. Writing to a specific audience gives one a personal voice and can tailor it to the audience they want to direct their information. Different media platforms gives variety for the modes that information is passed along. These different platforms gives the users creative rein over what they post and how it is displayed. Lastly, being a critical thinker is a necessary skill in life in general. Being able to form your own opinions makes you individual and unique. All of these skills combined, in addition to many more creates a well educated and knowledgable person in the field of digital literacy. 1335527120

How I Used Digital Literacy in My Multimedia Project:

This semester I have focused on a blog about interior design for college students. Each of my entires were well planned and had their own subtopic to the larger, broader topic. This took critical thinking to plan out each post and sequence them for the best outcome. Interactivity was incorporated into my blog threw slideshows, hyperlinks, videos, and podcasts. I directed my posts to the specific audience of college girls between the ages of 18 to 22. This is the age group that would find my blog the most informative for this particular time in their lives. Using different media platforms gave my readers a variety of options of how they wanted to consume my information. A gave some information about myself in my blog but also a bit more in my website if they wanted to view it in a different format. My website was a wonderful platform to let my creativity take over and present myself in the most flattering light. It was also an outlet for me to use my personal voice to express my blog topic. As far as team work goes, that was exemplified in the group video and podcast. Bringing our ideas together and combining our strengths was what brought us success.     

How I Have Progressed:

Over the semester, I have gained proficiency in multiple media platforms such as WordPress, Wix, photoshop, and iMovie. I hope to build upon the skills I learned and the progress I have made with regard to my website. I think it is an accurate representation of myself and displaces my skills and positive attributes in a flattering light. I would like to keep working on my website and add to it as I add experiences to my life. The content on my website expresses where I want to go in life and the types of internships and jobs I would like to have. Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 5.49.39 PM

Taking Digital Communications this past semester has shaped my outlook of the digital world. This class has prepared me for what is yet to come in the career and field I want to be apart of. I am well versed in the language of digital media and concider myself digitally literate.

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Group Video and Podcast

Here is a video that I worked on with a group about the Student Organizations at Furman University. Check it out and let me know what you think! Video

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Student Involvement at Furman University

This is the link to the podcast we made as well, about a specific organization called FUSAB which stands for Furman University Student Actvities Board here at Furman. Podcast

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The Future Workforce

Is the online workforce the new norm? 

In the reading, Digital Economy: Jobs of the Future by Schumpeter discusses India and China specifically and the jobs their cultures are creating for the online world. More specifically jobs are being created for online gamers, making it possible for people who are interested, to quit their jobs and begin working in the world of online gaming while getting paid. In just 2009 alone, the game World of Warcraft generated 9 billion in gaming-for-hire services. Another company using cyberwork is Amazon, having participants crowdsource for their webpage. Amazon has called this Mechanical Turk, a way to bring those looking for work online and those seeking for work to be completed online together. These tasks for online workers range in skill, from quick and easy to moffline-online-340x220ore complex tasks. The term “Microwork” is used to define whether the software to complete the task is provided for the worker or not.

Technology takeover 

In other counties, such as Africa, cell phones and other handheld devices are spreading across regions. These gadgets are taking-off just as they did in developing countries years before. By Africa taking on this new wave of technology, it is creating new paid cyberjobs for the country. The more cyberjobs that are created, the more the need for technology will grow in Africa. The interest in these internet-connected gadgets will boot the demand for mobile access and create an infrastructure of of investment. All of these aspects combined, creates a more connected culture and digital economy.

What Technology Means to Us

OLPC: What Can We Learn?  Namank Shah writes about the One Laptop per Child in A Blurry Vision: Reconsidering the Failure of the One Laptop per Child Initiative. An organization that went from a brilliant idea to a complete failure. The idea was great; give children in developing countries laptops so they can have access to the knowledge they need for only $100 per computer. The closer the project got to shipment, the more problems became evident. Initial buyers began to back out, the price of the laptop rose to $188, and there was minimal IT support to fix technical problems. OLPC project came in under their projected estimates and is now viewed by critics as a failure. One of the defining factors in their decline was their goals and budget. There needed to me a careful analysis of the culture to assess the preexisting problems before changes and adjustments were made. Local traditions and customs need to be taken into account to that the laptops can be appropriate in their context. Trying to force technology on children that don’t see the need for it causes problems. The values of the Western world are not always adaptable everywhere else. Educating our countries youths is always in the top priorities of the United States but this goal does not always translate to other countries. If the OLPC organization had made their project more directly catered to developing countries, instead of trying to force their ways upon people, their results might have been better. Are Cell Phones Running or Ruining Our Lives? Abu Sadat Nurullah’s article The Cell Phone As An Agent of Social Change discusses how important adolescents in the United States consider technology. Specifically, cell phones are considered a tool for communication and entertainment, changing the way we view social interactions and relationships. Cell phones are considered “an agent of social change” and specifically to adolescents, having a cell phone is the norm in the 21st century. For adolescents now, it can be hard to stay in touch with their friends if they do not have a cell phone. The United States as a culture is completely reliant on the use of cell phones because we are always accessible through them.

Small Spaces, Big Ideas

In college, you are not always aware of how small your dorm room can actually be. For me, it was walking into a room no larger than the size of a regulation jail sell, occupied by a set of bunk beds. But thats what you are given and you need to make the best of it. For Madison and Elizabeth, two freshmen girls at Furman University, they have taken this semesters living arrangements as a challenge. The room that they moved into back in August started out as a blank slate, but now looks like a relaxing place they can call home. Their room came with two, single beds with the ability to loft them, two desks, bureaus, chairs and two semi-walkin closets on either side. So they went to work.

Its All About Arrangement 

The key to maximizing a small space is placement. Madison and Elizabeth needed a way to make their small room work for them, so heres what they did. By lofting one bed and raising the other, they crated space below their beds for desks and additional storage. On Madison’s side of the room, her bed has been lofted all the way up to the ceiling by the posts of the bed and placed her desk below for an organized study area. Across the room on Elizabeth’s side, she has raised her bed, just high enough to fit her dresser underneath and a few storage bins. Both bed options are great ways to utilize space in a small room.

Here are some pictures of the girl’s room to see what they have done!

Madison's Lofted Bed
Madison’s Lofted Bed | Photo: Ali Fisher
Elizabeth's Raised Bed
Elizabeth’s Raised Bed | Photo: Ali Fisher

Thanks for reading!

-Ali

Understanding Social Media

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Social media is a jungle. It is a web-based technology with user-based content. Major companies, including large newspapers have been hiring social media representatives to help expand. This is not a traditional mode of business for these larger and older corporations. But if they don’t keep up, they will fall behind. Social media makes these companies more accessible to the general audience and customers. Now the average person is able to contact, like, share, post and favorite anything they like about their favorite band of dog food.

Advertising has taken on a whole new meaning. Instead of advertising a specific product or company, they now have to market an attraction or a personal experience. They want their consumers to be constantly connected and engaged with the company so they always want more and are constantly looking out for new posts on social media.

The honeycomb of social media  

Kietmann developed a honeycomb theory of social media. It has 7 blocks of functional social media. The author uses that framework to outline identity, conversation, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups. Each blocks helps with understanding a specific facet of social media. These are not mutually exclusive and they do not need to all be present at the same time. Identity represents “the extent to which users reveal their identities in a social media setting”. Conversation are how users converse and relate with out another and sharing is the extent to which users spread or distribute their content/receive content. Presence is about how accessible you are via social media and relationships is about how social media users are connecting on different platforms. To identify the general standings of other users, reputation is used and groups is used for creating communities to help grow.                        

The Ethics of PR

In the first reading, Bivins, Ethics, the author discusses our moral actions in regards to the medias moral obligations. The media claims four different group that they are morally responsible for: clients/customers, the organization that they work for, their profession, and the society they are a part of. Educator James Grunig identifies the four linkages that most organizations have in common: those that provide authority, suppliers, people associated with the organization with similar interests, and issue-defined constituents. He provides a chart in the reading to outline and display these four linkages visually. Throughout the rest of the article, these four linkages are referred back to in connection to other ethical or moral issues.

The second article, Digital Ethics by Ess, covers the laws of copy righting and distributing digital media. This reading is meant to me an overview and a summary of the contents from the original article. The first example relates well to the first article, stating that if a friend tells you to listen to a new band that they like, but you do not have the money to afford it, what do you do? This ethical question strongly relates both articles!.

My Indie Craft Parade Experience:

About the Parade

Just a few weeks ago, on an early Saturday morning I found myself standing in line outside the the Peace Center in Downtown, Greenville South Carolina. Only a 15 minute drive from campus, there was a craft fair taking place in the Huguenot Loft portion of the Peace Center, an exposed brick building with a homey-feel. This was not just any craft fair, oh no, this was The Indie Craft Parade. This event takes place once every year, a 2-day event filled with creativity, community, knowledge, handcrafted goods, and plenty of food. Independent artists from the Southeast get together for a kind of trade show; to buy/sell, bargain, and learn from one another. It’s also a casual competition of who can out weird, out hipster, and out craft everyone else there. To put it simply, Indie Craft Parade is like real live Pinterest. 

What I looked for…

After about 20 minutes of standing in line with a friend, we were let into the loft where we roamed, explored, and admired crafts for a little over 2 hours. Upon entering the building, we were engulfed into a craft frenzy. But I had my intentions set from the beginning, seek out the artists with interests of interior design. Crafting and interior design go hand in hand so it did not take me long to find what/who I was looking for. Taking the ideas I had discovered at the parade, I went home with high sprits, lots of inspiration, and a significantly lighter wallet.

Here are some pictures of the crafts I found wandering around this artists paradise. 

Thanks for reading!

-Ali

The Basics

As a freshmen, college seemed like a whirlwind. New sights, new faces, no parents. It is unlike any other experience you have had in your life thus far. Living on your own (or with a roommate) for the first time is a process of self discovery. You can figure out what your pet peeves are, what really makes you tick, and what you absolutely can not stand about the other person sleeping in the room. Calling this new dorm room “home” can be difficult in the beginning of the process. Because in actuality, it is nothing like home at all.

When all the elements come together...
When all the elements come together…

But this is a fresh start. In college, you can be anyone you would like to be. I suggest being yourself, but you have the opportunity to join the clubs and organizations you wish you did in high school and no longer participate in those activities that you lost interest in. This also goes for your taste and style. From my own experiences, growing up, my mother had complete control over the decoration of my bedroom. Yellow walls and a pink bedspread since I was 14 years old. Well, when I came to Furman University as an 18 year old freshmen, I was ready to take control of these decisions. It was my turn to create a space that was catered to me, to represent who I was at this particular instance of my young adult life.

Here are a few easy and affordable ways to transform a lifeless dorm room or apartment, into a space you can call home. Some of the items to include are: bedding that fits what you’re looking for (neutral, bright, patterned), lamps, accent pillows or rugs, and  frames on the walls.

Thanks for reading!

-Ali