Alec Writes Digitally

IA344: Writing in a Digital Age

Best Blogs Blog!

The first blog that I am going to use is the first post I did for the quarter about Google affecting our intelligence.  In this post I wrote about how the internet is changing the way people are learning and living.  I gave my opinion about the topic and then I provided quotes form our reading and other articles I found on the internet to back me.  I also added an interesting picture that can explain how the internet shapes our minds.  At the end of my blog I added a question for the readers to give them the opportunity to continue the conversation I started.  In the comments I got the readers to agree with my argument that the internet was making us more intelligent.

The second blog I am going to use is the blog in which I wrote about live-tweeting.  I commented on the article we read for class and stated my opinion that I think live-tweeting can have a negative effect in certain situations.  I then used another article I found that explains the positives and negatives that come with live-tweeting.  The author of the article I used agreed with me that live-tweeting during lectures and presentations can be very distracting to everyone.  I also wrote about situations in which live-tweeting can be helpful and I used an article about Bernie Sanders live-tweeting the GOP Debate.  I prompted people to comment on my blog by adding questions at the end.  This was very successful because I even got the author (Carolyn Thomas) of the article I used to comment on my blog to add to my argument.

I also used categories and tags in both of the blog posts so I could easily track what I talked about in the blogs.

The first comment I am going to use is the one I did on this blog about the Ice Bucket Challenge.  In this comment I continued the writer’s conversation by disagreeing with their argument by giving my reasons on why I thought it was not a waste and it did a lot more good than it did bad.  I also added on more information of certain challenges that I thought to be wasteful that could fall into the argument.  Even though I disagreed with the writer in my comment, I was not rude about it and I just gave my opinion along with reasons of why I thought that way.

The second comment that I am going to use was from this blog about things going viral.  In this comment I added on to the writer’s argument about things going viral and reappearing later.  I used a topic from class about social currency to help explain my argument that things will go viral because of what is going on in society right now.  Something that has to do with Obama running for presidency would not go viral because that has not happened in a while.


Civic Value vs. Communal Value

From the video we watched in class, we discovered the difference between civic and communal value. Civic value was defined as something that is created by participants for society to use as a whole and something that will benefit society.  Communal value is defined as something that is created by participants that benefits themselves; something that is funny, but does not necessarily make a difference on society.  A good example of civic value is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  People were challenged by other people to either dump a cold bucket of ice on themselves or donate one hundred dollars to ALS study.  This did a good job of spreading awareness about ALS and led to a major increase in donations for research.  It had a positive impact on society. An example of communal value given from the video is LOL Cats.  These are just memes of cats with funny captions.  These things were created by people just to enjoy; they did not have any kind of effect on society.

In the article we read for class about Avatar Activism we learned that civic media is “content intended to increase civic engagement or to motivate participation in the political process.”  This is spreading political views with hopes that online supporters will help to spread the views.  It is related to civic value because it is making an impact on the political aspect.

Another example of civic value is No-Shave November.  This is where people do not shave to raise awareness for prostate cancer.  This article talks about how it got started and how it blossomed from an organization that made $2000 in 2009 to making $1 million last year.  This would not have been possible if people were not willing to spread the awareness themselves.  Something that was started by a small group was eventually able to make one million dollars.

Are there any other examples of civic or communal values that you know of? Any things that have made a great impact on society?

Trending Analysis

Link to Storify

What Actually Makes Something Go Viral?

According to the article we read about Why Media Spreads, the original definition of viral was “describing (generally bad) ideas that spread like germs” (17).  This makes going viral seem like a very negative thing; however, today when a video or picture goes viral online it is generally in a positive sense.  It usually means that the material was extremely funny or memorable, so people share it online continuously until many people have seen it.

This article provides a video mashup of the most viral videos from 2014.  They vary from people being daredevils to just dogs being cute.  I believe the common thing between all of these videos is that they arouse the viewer emotionally.  From another article we read in class about what makes a video go viral, we learned that there were many different factors that lead to people wanting to share a video.  In my opinion, the emotional reason is why most people share videos and other things on the internet.  If something appeals to someone’s emotions, they are going to want other people to feel the same way.  They are curious if other people will feel the same way about a video.

This video about a Ted Talk from Kevin Allocca tells that videos go viral because of “case-makers, communities of participation, and unexpectedness”.  I believe his point about unexpectedness is very important because going back to what I said before, if someone sees something unexpected or crazy then they are going to want other people to see it too to see what their reaction is.

So, my opinion is clear that I think emotion is the main reason why videos and other material goes viral.  What do you think the major contributor that urges people to share things online is?  Do you agree with me?  Do you think it is something from the article we read in class?  Or something completely different?  What is your opinion?

Crossing the Lines of Online Harassment

From our reading about Online Harassment we discovered that people are getting harassed frequently online.  The article gives a stat that 73% of online users have reported seeing someone being harassed; this could be anywhere from just name-calling to someone being stalked.

In my opinion there are certain types of harassment that can be avoided or ignored.  Such as simply name-calling where the internet user can just move along and ignore the other person and avoid contact with them.  I think the majority of online harassment can be avoided; however, I think the lines of harassment are crossed when someone gets a hold of someone else’s personal information.  When someone gets another person’s personal email or address, they can continuously contact and threaten that person to the point where they become scared for their own safety.  I think a good example of this is from when we talked about revenge porn in class.  If someone has explicit photos of another person and wishes to blackmail them, they can potentially ruin their life by posting their naked photos online for anyone to see.  This could affect potential employment and other friendships.  In the video we watched in class the one woman said she was pushed to the point of wanting to end her life because the images that were put online were ruining her life.

Another example of severe harassment can occur in sports.  A recent example is the punter for Michigan.  He dropped a snap on a punt and Michigan State recovered it for a game winning touchdown.  Michigan fans put full blame for the loss on the punter and let him have it on social media. This article shows some of the “nicer” tweets that were said about the punter, but there were others giving him death threats and telling him that he should commit suicide.  Another article shows a video on how to handle a situation like this in a civil manner.  They talk about in the video that the player is just a kid and it is not like he wanted to do it or he did it on purpose.  The first article also shows tweets that are in the punter’s favor that say he is just a kid, he is trying his best, and he does not deserve anything that he is getting.  Even I, as an Ohio State fan who loves to see Michigan lose, do not think this kid deserves anything he is getting on social media.

What do you think?  Where should we draw the line when it comes to online harassment?

Can Live-Tweeting Make a Difference?

Christopher Long claims that he used live-tweeting in several lectures in his article.  He also says that he plans to continue to use live-tweeting in his future lectures; specifically the one coming up at his alma mater.

Long compares live-tweeting to interactive note taking.  He believes that it can heighten the attention of listeners and get them more involved in the conversation.  I agree with him that live-tweeting could get viewers more involved in a lecture; however, I also believe that getting on twitter in the middle of a lecture can be very distracting to someone and they may get side-tracked from the material in the lecture.

In this article written by Carolyn Thomas, she describes the issues that may occur because of live tweeting.  She claims to be a part of both sides of the live-tweeting spectrum.  She has live-tweeted a presentation before and has given presentations while people were live-tweeting. The problems she sees with live-tweeting are that before she even begins her lecture, her audience has their noses in their phones or laptops and they do not seem very engaged in the conversation.  Another problem that she has discovered is that some speakers need their audience to be engaged to have a successful presentation.  This is not possible if they are on their phones half of the time and not giving their undivided attention.

A good example of someone using live-tweeting in a beneficial way is Bernie Sanders live-tweeting the first GOP primary debate.  This article has a great video that shows how Sanders used live-tweeting.  He made a tweet about certain topics that were being discussed, so that his followers could see what his opinion on the subject was.  It was almost as if he was a part of the debate even though he was not actually speaking in it.  People could see his views on many different aspects of the presidential race.

Do you think that live-tweeting has a positive or negative effect on presentations, lectures, or other things?

How Big of a Deal is the Gender Gap?

I believe the Gender Gap reading we did in class makes a good segue into talking about the role gender plays in other topics as well. The way it affects the contributions into Wikipedia may not seem like such a big deal, but there are other ways that gender roles can have a big effect on things.

In my opinion the gender role has changed significantly over time.  In this article it talks about old TV shows and movies in which the typical family picture was portrayed.  One in which the man would be off at work all day supporting his family financially while the woman would be home making meals and taking care of the kids.  Over time our society has made change for the better.  I believe women have a lot to offer to this world and them sitting at home cooking meals all day does not allow them to make the difference that they can.  A big role for the woman is to be a mother to her children, which is very important; however, a mother can take care of her children all while taking on a full time job to help support the family financially.

Another big difference between men and women is the amount of money women earn in the work force.  In this article, it states that as of 2010 women only make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes.  Even with the great strides in inequality that have been made, there is still a clear gender gap.


This is an image of women protesting how much they are earning from a long time ago.

'Equal Pay Day 2000' Rally in front of the U.S Mint, 300 W. Colfax Ave. , Several womens groups speak out about the current wage gap for women and people of colora . smone where carrying red purses to show that women's pay is still in the red, compared to men's pay. Photo is of ( center left ) Nancy Rinker President of Colorado Business & Professional Womens , with other women's groups . Women in Colorado will join with thousands of women in all 50 States in a national call for for action on fair pay -- over four months into the new year-- when women's earnings, on average , finally cach up to men's paychecks from 1999. (Photo By Glen Martin/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

This is an image of women protesting for the same thing in a recent protest. So, even with the advances being made it is clear that we still have some work to do in our society.

What may be some things that we can change to give better equality in our society?

Infographic First Draft

IA344_Infographic (Draft)


Link to Pinterest Board with sources

Final Draft of Infographic posted on Infographics Page

Misleading Visuals and Their Information.

Infographics can be considered useful or they can be very misleading.  However, I believe that if someone was looking for information in an infographic then they should look closely at the visual to make sure it is useful and valuable information. In the article it states that, “We have a natural tendency to trust images more than text.  As a result, we’re easily fooled by data visualizations”.  I think this is accurate because people are more intrigued by visuals because they are more attractive to the eye and easier to stay focused on.  People will believe the infographics because the information is easier to follow even if they are scaled poorly.  The article talks about three steps to avoid receiving false information from visuals and if people are able to follow these steps I think that they can get the information they need or want.  In another article it refers to infographics as being misleading, not technically as lying.  This is what I see infographics as; people will design the visuals to show what they are intending to show.  Even if this means to mislead the viewer.  I think that if someone was going to use a visual as a source then they should really look into the infographic to see if the information is valid.  If they allow the visual to fool them then they are being careless in their search for information.


From another article it gives the above picture which is an example of how visuals can be misleading.  The picture is comparing the deaths due to terrorism versus the deaths due to lack of health care in the United States.  I see the information as misleading because I do not see how the two topics are exactly related other than the fact that they are problems in the United States.  This image can make the problem of terrorism seem small and the lack of health care as a much larger problem.  I believe that the two problems should be seen as more of equal problems.  What do you think about Infographics and how they give information?

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