The End is Near!

Of course you should watch this last video from me, but a few important points I’m trying to make:

  • I’m commenting right now on your social media reflection essays, your web sites, and your 444 portfolios. My hope/goal is to be done commenting in the peer review here by about this time (or earlier) Friday.
  • Some time between about now and December 13, send me a second email about how it is you think you’ve done for participation for the second part of the term.
  • Everything is due on the last day of class, December 13. However, if you need a little extra time on your web site, let me know and we can make some kind of deal. Just send me an email and ask.
  • Along these lines: once you are done with everything and you ready for me to figure out your final grade for the term, send me an email letting me know that too.
  • And, as you can see in this video at somewhere around the seven minute mark, the end of time is December 20 at 2pm!
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Peer review for the Text to Hypertext project

I think peer review went pretty well last time, I suspect for two reasons. First, we have gotten to know each other (even though it’s an online class!), and I think that familiarity with each other makes it a lot easier to give feedback. Second, I think you all care about your own work, and that level of care translates into giving good feedback. So it’s all good!

Okay, once again, here are the groups:

Group 1: Scott B., Marianne M., Deb B., Samanta W.

Group 2: Andrew D., Jaclyn Y., Kyle J., Joan K., Zoe F.

Group 3: Rachel N., Jeffrey M., Amanda D., Matt z.

Group 4: Ja’La W., Renee G.,  Louise B., Hania M.

Here’s how this will work:

  • Everyone needs to have a link to their web site on their 444 wordpress portfolio page.  I would recommend setting it up on a specific page on your site, which will also allow your peers to comment on your site. Make sure it’s easy for us to find this link! No one wants to “hunt around” to find the link, so make sure it’s clearly labeled and easy to find.
  • You might want to give your readers some guidance about what kind of feedback you want. This is more or less what you did in your first two usability tests: you gave your users some instructions. You can do that with us too.
  • Beside a link to the website you made– the actual text to hypertext piece of things– you also need to have a draft of your essay that describes the process you went through to create your web site– you know, the previous usability tests and feedback on that, the challenges with the technology, the choices you made with changing your original text to make it workable for the web, and so forth.
  • In addition to the text to hypertext project, give each other some feedback on your 444 wordpress portfolios. I’ve talked about what I’m looking for in your class portfolios several times before; while you are looking at each others’ hypertext projects, take a look at each others’ websites and offer some direction there too.
  • Remember! You need to start doing all this by the end of the day on Monday, December 5!
  • I will be participating in this review process as best I can: that is, I will chime in and offer a few thoughts just like everyone else. I do this at this point on this assignment because I know time is short and folks probably want to know what I think before they hand this in, and also because I won’t have much time to let you know what I think about your site at the very end of the term.

Does that all make sense? Questions?

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Semester of Social Media Essay: do we need a de-brief on this?

I’ve gotten a couple of questions via email from a couple of you about the essay part of the Semester of Social Media essay, and it makes me wonder: do we need to have a broader discussion on this? Are there still some questions about what this essay is supposed to be about?

Let me try to point you to some initial answers though: Continue reading

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Andrew D.’s Interview with Rebekah Humphries

Our last (but not least!) graduate student interview of this semester comes from Andrew. It’s an interview with Rebekah Humphries, who had (though not any longer? I’m not sure about that) a major role in the Kiwanis of Michigan, and she helped set up that group’s social media presence. Here’s a link to that interview.

Just like before, go read that interview and then post your comments and questions here.

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Peer Review for the Semester of Social Media Project


While we’ve been through some peer review already this semester, now we’re moving into what I guess I would describe as a more “traditional” and extensive peer review on the Semester of Social Media essay project, which is also probably the most traditional example of a regular assigned “essay” of the semester too. So with that in mind, I thought I’d offer a bit of a “pep talk” before I get to the groups and the description of how this round of peer review is going to work. Continue reading

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Rachel N.’s Interview with Danielle Devota at MSU

Welcome back after the break! Our third graduate student presentation comes from Rachel N. This presentation is an interview with Danielle Devosta, who is the Communications Coordinator at Michigan State University and formerly a Marketing Associate and Social Media Manager for Tri-Star Trust Bank. Here is a link to the interview.

As we’ve done before, go to Rachel’s site to read the interview and come back here to comment on it!

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Pre-Thanksgiving update and lots of links to things to think, FWIW

You should watch the video, of course, but a summary of it and a bit about the links below:

  • Don’t forget: I’m making myself available to meet with anyone who is interested to talk about some of the technicalities of wordpress, their text to hypertext projects, or pretty much anything else today at 5 pm at Sweetwaters in Ypsilanti (right next to campus). Email me if you’re planning on being there.
  • Don’t forget the second part of the Codecademy assignment is due! This is where you reflect on both the HTML and CSS exercises, and also the additional Codecademy exercises you took on to try to teach yourself something new.
  • I’m going to be commenting on the third update of your semester of social media project today, and remember that a draft of the final reflective essay is due at the end of the day on Monday, November 28. I talk about this in the video a fair amount, but in the nutshell: your brief “progress reports” this semester have really been about telling us (me and anyone else in class) what you’ve been doing with the social medias you sighed up for this term, literally “what’s new.” This essay is different in that I am asking you for an overall reflection of the experience. Now that you’ve tried out some new social media platforms and now that we’ve done some critical/thoughtful reading and discussing about social media, what have you learned? What is your bigger picture feelings/observations/conclusions about social media?
  • I go through my example of the 444 portfolio and try to point out some of the things I’m looking for in your portfolios too. Some of you have very complete and organized sites already, but some of you have sites where they “work” but they aren’t organized, they don’t look/feel “professional,” and they don’t take advantage of some of the features of WordPress. So if you’re in that later category of a “working, but not very good” Wordpress site, you need to revise.

Finally, some links in the category of “For What It’s Worth” on social media, online journalism, and the 2016 election. As I say in the video, if the election had happened in October, we would certainly be reading and discussing these articles in some detail this semester. My guess is we will be talking about these readings the next time I teach this class, which might be next Fall. But because of the timing of things (and frankly, you’ve all done a lot of reading and writing already!), I am putting these in the “For What It’s Worth” category, meaning we can talk about them or not.

I am guessing many of you have come across other readings along these lines too. For me, I have to say that this has kind of made me rethink social media in a lot of ways. I have always known there was a “darker side” to it, but I generally am more of a glass half-full kinda guy with things like Facebook and Twitter. I’m not as sure about that now.

Anyway, lots of links here, and if you have others, please share (note that a number of these are New York Times articles, and unfortunately, they limit the number you can see in a month if you aren’t a subscriber. Though if you clear the cookies in your browser…):

I Used to Be a Human Being (interesting reflection on once prolific blogger Andrew Sullivan on the problem of “information addiction”).

Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It.

How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study (if you only have time to read one of these, I think I’d recommend this one).

Fake news on Facebook is a real problem. These college students came up with a fix in 36 hours.

Google and Facebook Take Aim at Fake News Sites

Mark Zuckerberg warns about Facebook ‘becoming arbiters of truth’

Mark Zuckerberg Is in Denial

Facebook, in Cross Hairs After Election, Is Said to Question Its Influence

Facebook fake-news writer: ‘I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me’

This Analysis Shows How Fake Election News Stories Outperformed Real News On Facebook

Meet the Professor Who’s Trying to Help You Steer Clear of Clickbait

According to Snopes, Fake News Is Not the Problem

Fact Check: This Pizzeria Is Not a Child-Trafficking Site



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Scott B.’s Project: An interview with Ann Arbor YMCA Communications Director Jan Hack

The second grad student “up” for discussion this week is Scott and his project with Jan Hack at the Ann Arbor YMCA.  Here’s a link to the interview.

There’s reference to the YMCA’s web site in the interview, so I thought I’d also include a link to that:

Like we did before, go take a look at the interview on Scott’s page and then come back here to offer your comments and feedback.

Posted in Reading assignments, Writing Assingments | 21 Comments

Ja’La’s Graduate Project: An Interview with Debra Stewart

This is where we’ll talk about the first of our graduate students’ projects/presentations, this one an interview with Debra Stewart by Ja’La W. What I would recommend is that you all go read the interview that Ja’La has set up on her web site and then come back here to comment (so I can keep track of participation and the like). As you’ll see, Stewart is an entrepreneur running a local marketing company called Triad Marketing Solutions. I think there’s some interesting insights here, especially in the ways that some of the advice Stewart has about doing this work squares with things we’ve read and discussed.

Anyway, read on, and thanks to Ja’La, too. It’s often tricky to go first!

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“Can’t Stop the Fandom: Writing Participation in the Firefly ’Verse”

This is where we’ll talk about Liza Potts’ “Can’t Stop the Fandom: Writing Participation in the Firefly ’Verse.” In some ways, this might not be quite as useful this term as it has been in the past when I’ve done this assignment because I don’t think (or maybe I just don’t remember?) any of you are following very fan-specific social media sites. And as I re-read it now, I also think it might fit better in with an assignment I’m doing in 328: Writing, Style and Technology right now. A couple of quick things to get you started:

  • If you were a fan of the show Firefly, you probably appreciate this project a lot more than those who weren’t fans. There’s not much I can do to fix that one way or the other, though I do think there are probably a few browncoats amongst us?
  • The big thing here to think about once again is the methodology in terms of how she structures her research. And for those of you who are interested in fan culture, both with your social media project or other similar projects, the things that Potts is referencing might be useful to think about. And beyond the theory stuff, just the idea of how Potts is analyzing her social media community here around the various objects from the show.
  • I think this is also another example of some of the kinds of decisions you might want to think about as you design your text to hypertext project. This is not something you could just “print out” and experience the same way, and that’s part of the point. That’s particularly true with the “Objects” part.
  • And while I don’t expect any of you to add this to your web sites, the “Reavers” link is pretty cool. 🙂
Posted in Reading assignments, Writing Assingments | 37 Comments