Update on Prezi vs. Powerpoint

Yay! I liked Prezi! I am so glad that I decided to use this platform for my final project in my Writing and Digital Media class. I was scared to use it at first because other students were using more “blog-like” platforms for the assignment, so I thought that I might be choosing something that I wouldn’t really be able to experiment with. However, that was not the case. I felt that with this project, I really went out of my comfort zone and tried something that was not only different from the average project, but also more entertaining for an outside audience (I hope…). I spent a long time testing out the interface just to see what all I could do with it and how I should go about setting up my project, and I think I found a visually interesting way to share my thoughts.

Now that I have spent some time working with Prezi and getting to know the ins-and-outs, I will definitely be using this type of presentation when I get a chance in future classes. I thought that it would be very similar to Powerpoint, but the fantastic thing about Prezi is that you have an open canvas and you can zoom out to look at clusters of “slides”. It made it easy for me to add something unique to my project. I found a template that showed a scale, so I chose to use this to compare the positive and negative aspects of social media.

For anyone who has not tried to create a presentation on this platform, I would definitely recommend they try it out. It is a unique, user-friendly way to create visual effects that Powerpoint just doesn’t allow for. Not to mention, Prezi is a free, web-based application that saves all of your work as you go, so it is quite convenient! Visit the Prezi website to see for yourself!

What is Real and What is Fake?

You may have heard of a website called “buzzfeed” lately. I know that my Facebook newsfeed has been plastered with links to this website for the past semester. But can these articles actually be trusted? Are they even original? Who writes this stuff? I noticed a post by one of my classmates about this idea, and I have to agree that people share information without even realizing where it actually comes from.

According to a New York Times article by Ravi Somaiya and Leslie Kaufman, many stories on the web these days are actually either straight up fake or quite embellished. Apparently Twitter has made these stories start to go viral, and then it comes out later that they aren’t actually real. While buzzfeed doesn’t necessarily post stories—it favors eye-catching lists—it does stretch the truth and publish content that it does not own. I think that the concept of stretching stories and publishing misinformed articles does belong in the same category though.

The current state of the Internet has made it easy for people to encourage the spreading of fake information, but it is frustrating to know that you can’t trust much information that you find online. I mean we’ve all heard that, “you can’t trust everything you read on the Internet” cliché, but shouldn’t there be some way to separate fact from fiction on the Internet?

Why isn’t anyone doing anything about this issue? Or are people trying to do something and getting nowhere, especially with websites like Buzzfeed taking over? What can my generation do to stop this crap from spreading and changing the way that people obtain information?

These are questions that I think should be considered now, and in the coming years, before we lose everything credible and meaningful on the Internet.

Social Media & FOMO

How many times have you heard someone refer to “FOMO”? FOMO is short for fear of missing out and is a relatively new term. The first time I read about it was in Seventeen magazine when I was a junior in high school. I remember thinking that I definitely get FOMO when I would not be able to join in on something my friends were doing, whether it was due to school work or actual work. I did not hear many people talk about it back when I first heard of it, but now it is a term that people around me use regularly. I think that this is in part due to social media.

Before social media, when you missed a fun event, you could hear all about it from your friends, but now you see pictures on Facebook and Instagram and people communicating about it Twitter. It forces you to see just what it was that you missed out on. I think that this has become a lot worse as people use social media more and more. As a result, people always think they are missing out on things. Maybe a picture makes it look like something was much more fun than it actually was. Accoding to Dr. Grohol, an expert on mental health online,

“Connected to this fear of missing out on something better that’s going on without you are these fake personas we promote on websites like Facebook. I say “fake” because we often present only the best side of our lives on social networking sites.”

This is something that people often fail to realize. People can make life look a lot more exciting through social media and it can lead to FOMO, but most of the time, you’re probably not even missing anything that interesting.

Candid Writing

At the beginning of the semester, when I started this blog, I thought about how being a candid writer can much improve the voice in a blog. I noticed that my peers were writing intellectually conversational blogs, and I was intimidated by the idea of putting my own blog posts up. It took me a long time to really get myself into the blog writing process because I did not want my mediocre ramblings posted in contrast to the insightful and creative blogs that others had already put up. The funny thing is, this is not my first time writing blog copy, so I really shouldn’t have been so intimidated by the thought of it.

This past summer, I interned for an event planning company called Fete Studio. I really enjoyed working there, especially because I felt as though helping write and set up the blog posts would be a great experience for me to take to the working world. However, in those blog posts, I would write about weddings, style and everything that a girl as interested in fashion as I am could enjoy writing about.

I wanted to write a blog about makeup, hairstyles, fashion, shoes, and everything girly. I wanted to talk about my favorite clothes—specifically Free People (I could go on about Free People for days). I wanted to spend my time researching these things on Pinterest and finding the perfect pictures to complement my text on these topics. My issue was that writing a silly blog about fashion was not the point.

So that began my issue with this blog. I thought, how could I possibly blog about academics or scholarly material? I couldn’t find a rhythm that suited my writing style, but of course, now that it is the end of the semester, I am finally started to get the hang of it (to the point where I actually enjoy blogging).

But now I wonder, what makes for a really great blog? Obviously not my disjointed thoughts and contradictions—or maybe some people find my scattered brain amusing? (doubt it) Overall, I have decided on some things that can really enhance a blog. Here is a list I have brainstormed:

1. Incorporating Pictures- Everybody loves to have a mix of text and pictures. Pictures help expand on what you are writing and support your thoughts in an aesthetically appealing way.

2. Making Lists- Yes, I have started incorporating lists because it allows people to see things set up in a way that is coherent and segmented (so they don’t have to read a long paragraph for hours).

3. Including Links- When you link to something, it allows people to learn more about your subject or ideas. Links give people the option of continuing on your train of thought.

4. Being Conversational- As I said earlier, candid blog posts are easy to read and allow you to sort of get in someone’s head. It can be very insightful at times.

Those are all of the things I have come up with for now. What else would you add to the list?

The Cluttered Desk

Does the environment in which you work have any effect on your ability to focus?

Some people like to do work in bed; some people like to do their work in the library. It all depends on where you are most productive. I often feel as though environment can really have an impact on ability to focus.

My favorite place to study is the library, in a cubicle, by myself. This is probably the best place I can be to study because there is no clutter around me and there are no people to distract me. The math emporium is another option since it is set up so that you have your own space and a large screen computer as well.

My least favorite place to study is at my desk in my room since my desk is a disorderly mess. When there are things all over my desk to distract me, my attention span tends to be very short. When my bed is near me and I have the option to get in bed and go to sleep, it is even shorter.

So why do I continue to try to do my work in my room?

Maybe because I am too lazy to pack my stuff up and go somewhere else to study, but then there is also the idea that being in a cluttered area can actually make you more creative. As Einstein allegedly said:

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign.”

If a cluttered desk is supposed to make you more creative, and an uncluttered desk more productive, then maybe creative thinking should be done in a chaotic environment, and the parts that require more focus done in an orderly place.

iPad– Why Have One?

At the beginning of the semester, I was given an iPad to use for my Writing and Digital Media Class. I was actually excited about it because I have never had an iPad, so I figured I would use it every once and a while to play around on or do some of my work on it. However, this has not been the case. I literally have not used it except for maybe two times when we were required to take it to class.

These iPads were issued to us as part of an experiment to see how it might be beneficial to students to have another form of technology to use, but I found that I didn’t see much point to pulling out an additional form of technology when I always have my laptop and my smart phone available to work with. I also like being able to type on a keyboard, so the concept of the iPad was not my favorite.

I don’t fully understand the point of using an iPad, so I thought I would research reasoning for people using them. Here’s what I have come up with:

1. People use them to play games that you need to use the screen for

2. It is an alternative to an eReader

3. It makes it convenient to look up recipes to use while cooking

4. You can use it to watch movies (however this is easier if you have a prop to hold it up)

5. It is easy to browse the web on them

6. You can use apps that you also use on your smart phone


So, considering all of these reasons, do you think it is worth it to have an iPad when you already have a laptop and a smart phone?

Thoughts on Powerpoint

For my final project in my Writing and Digital Media class, I have chosen to use a platform called Prezi to present my thoughts. I have never used this format before, but I have heard that it is a great alternative to the generic Powerpoint, and I thought that it might be a good way to demonstrate my argument. However, I don’t think that Powerpoint would have been a terrible option for me to use if the prompt didn’t ask for us to try something new.

Many people seem to have an issue with the way that Powerpoint “forces” you to use a strict formulaic structure, but I have never really seen it that way. I know that Powerpoint can sometimes be a boring visual for the audience, but I don’t think that it necessarily has to be used in the way that most people think it is supposed to be used. For example, when you pull up a new Powerpoint slide, it comes up with a format that has a title at the top and a body area where you can put bullet points. I think that this has led people to believe that they are being forced to use this layout, when you can actually work with it much more to format it to your liking.

I think that in a more business-like environment, Powerpoints can be quite useful to get your points across, especially when it comes to statistics and charts. That is one of the reasons I think many professors like to use this platform—because students will be using Powerpoints in the working world, and right now is a good time to gain some experience with it.

Once I have finished working on my project in Prezi, I will give an update on the difference between the two applications.

My Procrastination Dilemma

Procrastination has been a huge issue for me my entire life, but this past semester it has spiraled out of control. I have been doing my assignments the night before they are due and studying for my exams last minute and I am not really sure how to break this habit. I always plan to start my work way ahead of time, but there is always something else to distract me whether it is plans with my friends or something that is more pressing that requires my current attention.

I used to think that I could look up tips on how to avoid procrastinating, but every time I did that, it did not help me at all. One tip that I have tried to use is to just sit down and start doing your work early on. The more time you spend thinking about it and avoiding it, the longer it will take you to get started. My issue is that when I try to start something early I feel like it is pointless to even begin ahead of time. This is especially hard when studying. I always wonder if I will even retain the information that I am taking in and whether I will still remember anything when it comes time for the exam.

Here’s a list of ways to avoid procrastinating, and while all of the ideas on the list are helpful and logical, it still won’t be easy to follow the tips. I am going to make a conscious effort, especially now that exams are coming up, to follow these tips better than I have been for the rest of this semester.

Thoughts On Open-Ended Projects

The “open-ended” project has never been one of my favorites. I tend to feel a little lost when I have too much freedom for an assignment. While it forces me to be more creative, it also takes a lot of planning and thinking ahead of time. I guess this is the point, to make students think more critically and really consider a main focus.

I much prefer projects that have very strict guidelines. I like to have a set of instructions to follow so that I know that I am taking the right steps and not getting lost in an idea that I can’t really comprehend. This form of assignments can be boring and generic, but it makes it so much easier to successfully meet the criteria. I can definitely see how a professor would prefer this type of assignment too, since it makes it easy for them to use a checklist when grading. However, even though I prefer this type of work, I don’t think that it is beneficial to anyone to simplify work to this point.

The whole point of my Writing and Digital Media class has been to get us out of the habit of doing generic projects and teach us how to come up with thoughtful ideas and use them to create something original and multimodal. I think that classes like this teach students how to become more analytical in the way that we go about our assignments and I have found that it allows for much more creative thinking.

The Ongoing Struggle Between Me and My Computer

Sometimes I feel like technology has way too big of an impact on my life—not just the changing technology and how it influences everyone’s lives in general, but my own technology. A fantastic example of a form of technology that causes issues in my life is my computer. Many people have heard me say that my computer hates me before. When I say this, I am not kidding.

My computer often takes about 5 years to get to a website, and then once I finally get there, pictures won’t load, certain buttons won’t operate, and links go dead. I don’t know why this happens on my computer, but it has caused me a lot of issues this semester. For example, when I was working on my Tapestry essay for Writing and Digital media, my computer somehow managed to delete my entire project the night before it was due. I literally wanted to throw my computer into my trashcan when I realized what had happened, but then I decided I would recreate my essay and hopefully make it better. I told myself that I could consider the deleted version a draft and the newest version my final. Whatever the case, I can’t really blame my computer for all of my issues.

So who is to blame?

I struggle with computers all the time. I don’t think it is bad luck either. Maybe you have heard of this website called Project Free TV. I think that this is where my Internet issues stemmed from. Well, maybe also the fact that I don’t shut my computer down every night or close all of my applications, but that is beside the point. The point is that websites like Project Free TV are not exactly trustworthy and have so many pop-up advertisements that you might as well be asking for a virus on your computer. Since I used this website for a while to watch TV shows, I think it might be the culprit in the case of my incredibly slow moving internet that freezes up and gives me the spinning color wheel every 10 minutes.

Maybe I should have my computer checked out by someone who actually has some expertise when it comes to computers and the Internet, but I am scared that I might lose all of my files or have some other disastrous outcome. As of right now, I plan on getting through the semester and then dealing with my computer woes.