• The Importance of Transmission

    Posted on February 9th, 2014 msmith88 No comments

    In Slack, Miller, and Doak’s The Technical Communicator as Author, the authors define three different views of communication: transmission, translation, and articulation. As I read about transmission, I couldn’t help but to notice how its defining characteristics parallel to storytelling. On page 5, the defining characteristics include:

          -The conception of communication as the transportation of messages

          -The conception of the message—the meaning encoded by a sender and decoded by a receiver—as measurable entity transmitted from one point to another by means of a clearly delineated channel

          -The conception of power as the power of the sender to effect, by means of this message, a desired mental and/or behavioral change in the receiver. This power is the power of the sender over the receiver

    From these defining characteristics, I was able to tell that in a sense, transmission communication acts as transportation. Messages have the ability to “move in a timely manner across space” (5). Today, these messages are able to reach people faster through different mediums. For example, messages can be transferred through radio, television, telephone, computers, etc. When thinking about transmitting messages faster, farther, and much more effectively, I thought about King and the storytelling that occurs in both The Truth About Stories and in Native American culture. How did Native Americans practice the transmission of stories? How did they get the same message across to an audience every time a message or story was told? In King’s novel, each chapter begins in the same fashion; however, certain parts of the story vary every time. The variation parallels to the rendering of stories over the years. The structure remains mostly the same, but some of the information tends to change. Today, transmitting messages comes so easily to our culture; we have so many different mediums that are available for our use. However, none of these were available to the Native Americans who pride a part of their culture on passing down stories.

    In Shannon and Weaver’s conception of communication, they talk how it’s linear. The sender, or the storyteller, wishes “transmit meaning,” but the message has to contain some sort of information. The message is then sent to the receiver, or the listener/audience. The receiver must decode the message for a specific meaning. If the process does not encounter any kind of miscommunication, the receiver will decode the sender’s original message. To put this concept into plain terms, Shannon and Weaver talk about how a message is “packaged” and “unwrapped.”

    After reading King’s The Truth About Stories, I feel that I appreciate the original storytelling process that has been practiced by the Native American culture. Nowadays, we are able to communicate a story or message very easily through the countless resources that our society has access to. Also, King’s novel made me think about how storytelling can be considered an art form; it is interactive and encourages listeners to use their imagination.

  • Literacy, Status, Narrative Representation

    Posted on February 2nd, 2014 msmith88 No comments

    In Powell’s “Literacy, Status, Narrative Representation,” there was a large focus on the how a specific community of people of a “higher status,” government officials, perceive another community of people who are considered to have a “lower status,” Appalachia residents. Many of the Appalachia residents’ stereotypes and identities were based upon literacy. It almost was as if literacy became a tool for defining their identities—mountain residents were not considered the “right kind” of white. According to government officials and other communities, these people lack education and need help from people who thought they knew how to provide it for them. Overall, the article really shows how the “myth of the mountaineer” completely misrepresents the entire group of Appalachia residents.

    An interesting finding that is present in Powell’s work is how the letters reflect both the government officials and mountain residents’ status. For example, most of the letters written by Appalachia residents were handwritten on notepad paper. Also, they were written in pencil; however, their writing seemed to show a lack of education. On the other hand, government officials were typed on a formal paper with a letterhead and its content showed authority. This finding is important to the idea that residents of Appalachia have been misrepresented. It is important to note that the act of writing a letter is one of social participation and an educated gesture. Maybe the letters did not have convincing content, but I think it’s crucial to know that these people are not completely helpless.

    As I think about this finding, I’m trying to figure out how exactly it relates to something in my life. Currently, I can relate this to how people see others who lack education as inferior or people of a lower status. In today’s world, society sees education as a crucial part to success. People are more concerned with money and status, which makes education an important focus for better opportunities. As a college student, I strive to do the best that I can in the field that will one day become my career. However, some people do not have the fortunate opportunity to attend college. This should not mean that somebody without a college degree is “inferior” within the workplace. It is possible that somebody who hasn’t attended college may have much more knowledge than somebody with a degree. This idea that a lack of education makes somebody inferior is something that our society has definitely made a misrepresentation about. In what other ways has our society molded misrepresentations? And why do most people believe them?

    A large part of my own identity is based upon my family’s values, especially my dad’s values. My dad came from what would be considered as a lower class family. He never went to college because my grandparents were unable to afford it, so my dad enlisted in the Navy when he finished high school. After he served our country, my dad began to make his own business in heating and air conditioning. For over thirty years now, my dad has owned a successful business. Without a college degree, my dad made something of himself, which really supports what I talked about earlier. He taught me to work hard, to remain optimistic, and to search for opportunities. My parents also raised me to have a strong faith in God, which is something that remains close to me. I believe that a lot of what makes up my identity is due to how I was raised as a child.

  • Breaking Out of the Bubble

    Posted on January 27th, 2014 msmith88 No comments

    I grew up in a small, suburban town called Old Tappan in New Jersey. Twenty years of my life have been spent in this area. I’ve finally realized that in those twenty years, I’ve been living in a bubble. Through my elementary school years I grew up as any other child had done. I’d go to school every day, come home to my mom, dad, and brothers, and tell them about how we learned how to do long division or write in cursive in class. I had friends; and my friends had very nice families from what I saw. Maybe not like mine, but maybe I was just biased.

    To me, Old Tappan seemed like a perfect, and happy place back then. It wasn’t until highschool that I saw my “Old Tappan bubble” begin to slightly deflate. I started to see that my friends’ “very nice families” weren’t like my own after all. Some of my friends just didn’t seem as happy as I was, and I didn’t quite know how to relate to that. Maybe the town that I’ve known forever wasn’t the cookie cutter material I always thought it was.

    When I first decided to come to Virginia Tech, I honestly thought Blacksburg would be the same as Old Tappan had always been to me. I pictured students exactly like me: trying to do their best in school and eventually graduating with a degree. It wasn’t until I joined my sorority that I realized the bubble that I’ve been living in wasn’t a reality.

    One of my first experiences in my sorority will always resonate with me. It was for our philanthropy called Mock Rock. I was new, so I had no idea what Mock Rock was. We were told that Mock Rock raises money for victims of domestic violence in the Blacksburg and the New River Valley. The proceeds we raise go directly to the Women’s Resource Center to help women and children who have experienced some form of domestic violence. I remember thinking, domestic violence? Around Blacksburg? I was caught off guard. And I wasn’t used to this, because I was used to the bubble the Old Tappan has always been. Mock Rock opened my eyes to the reality that not everybody is fortunate to have a normal living situation like I’ve always had. All I knew was that I wanted to be a part of making these victims lives better again.

    Through Mock Rock, 34 amazing organizations participated to help raise funds through our three-day event. We raised $35,000 for victims of domestic violence. Since my sorority works closely with the Women’s Center, we were able to see the reactions of the women and children when they saw how much we raised. It’s something that I will never forget.

    Now, as a third year student at Tech, I am aware of the realities that life will throw at people. Some will be lucky enough to dodge these obstacles. Others will not. I’m thankful that I’ve broken out of the bubble I’ve been in for twenty years, because now I can lend a hand in hard times for those who need it. I can also live through Virginia Tech’s motto, “Ut Prosim.”

  • Thoughts on Storify

    Posted on December 11th, 2013 msmith88 No comments

    As I’ve said in a previous post, I’m using Storify as my scholarly webtext platform. I just finished my rough draft for class. So far, I really think that my project has come a long way. My only concern is that it might be too lengthy. Hopefully, I’ll get some helpful feedback in class today so that I can effectively edit my work.

    Overall, I’m really happy that I chose to use Storify. I combine my text with articles, images, and videos. All of these sources definitely add something to my scholarly webext. I want to share a small excerpt from my rough draft that explains why Facebook is relaxing its privacy settings for teens. Also, it calls the site the “Mom Jeans” of social media:

    “Recently, Facebook has decided to “relax its rules” for teens since it’s becoming a non-hip social media site. Let’s be real, teens probably don’t want to see mom and grandma’s status updates… In the past, Facebook was very popular among teens because it allowed them to connect with one another through wall posts, status updates, and direct messages. Now that older users are joining the social media site, it has become much less appealing for teens to use. I can sympathize with this; I finally accepted my mom’s friend request after it lingered in my inbox for three months.”


  • Social Media Privacy

    Posted on December 9th, 2013 msmith88 No comments

    I’ve been looking for more sources to use in my scholarly webtext. As I said in an earlier post, my topic is about teens and social media privacy. Are teens aware of the risks when their information is shared publicly? Do teens even understand the privacy policies on social media sites? Today, I found an awesome video that shows social media statistics as well as different social media sites’ privacy policies. If you’re planning on using a social media site, you should really be aware of its privacy policies before sharing information. I think that this video will definitely impact my final project.

    Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9pFMSKPXSk

  • The Swales Model: Is it Helpful for Academic Arguments?

    Posted on December 9th, 2013 msmith88 No comments

    Last week, my Writing and Digital Media class period was dedicated to taking our scholarly webtext information and using “The Swales Model.” What’s the Swales Model, you ask? Here’s a little background info.

    Basically, the Swales Model contains three strategies that linguistics professor, John Swales, created to help refine an academic argument. The three steps are:

    1. Establish a territory

    2. Establish a niche

    3. Occupy the niche

    Under these steps, Swales suggests that you focus on specifics in order to improve the argument. The specifics included (1) claim centrality, make topic generalizations, or review items of previous research. (2) counter-claiming, indicating a gap, question-raising, or continuing a tradition. (3) outline purposes, announce present research, announce principal findings, or indicate structure of a research article. Following those guidelines, I gathered my information and began to fill it into a “mad libs” structured exercise. This is what I came up with for my topic that discusses privacy issues for teens on social media sites:

    “In recent discussions of social media privacy for teens, a controversial issue has been whether or not teens take much consideration into managing their privacy settings on social media sites. On the one hand, some argue that teens need custom privacy settings for their profiles. From this perspective, statistics show that only “9% [of teens] say they are ‘very’ concerned when it comes to third-parties accessing their data.” Today, teens seem much more willing to share their most intimate information with the general public. John Titlow, author of #Me: Instagram Narcissism and the Scourge of the Selfie, describes public sharing as “getting a feeling that you’re peeking through a window of a world you’re not supposed to have access to.”On the other hand, however, others argue that teens can handle the public profile life. In the words of Marwick and Boyd, two of this view’s main proponents, say “what matters is not whether or not teens are speaking in public, but how we support them as they try to learn how to responsibly navigate the networked public spaces that are central to contemporary life.” According to this view, Marwick and Boyd seem to make note of how allowing more relaxed privacy settings create a learning process for teens. In sum, then, the issue is whether teens need custom privacy settings or should they have the freedom to share their information through a public profile.

    My own view is that if teens are mature enough to have social media profiles, they should be able to manage their own privacy settings . Though I concede that custom privacy settings are beneficial for the younger generation, I still maintain that teens will try to tip-toe around privacy settings. For example, new Facebook users can easily lie about their age when signing up for the social media site to bypass any strict privacy settings. I was about thirteen when I made my Facebook account, and since that is considered “underage” for a profile, I lied and entered a different birth year. Although some might object that strict privacy settings will prevent privacy issues on social media for teens, I would reply that these settings will have to be further developed in order to do so. The issue is important because teens have the ability to disregard privacy settings on social media websites and share more personal information with the public.”

    This in-class exercise was so helpful. I think that I have a lot of information, so the Swales Model organized my information a lot better. We were asked to not use our Swales Model result word-for-word in our scholarly webtext, but I think it really helped me focus my idea. I was able to zero in on exactly what I wanted to talk about. Tomorrow in class, we are going to start moving our projects onto whatever platform each of us intends on using. I’m using Storify as my platform, and I can’t wait to see the final results of my project!

  • Teens, Social Media, and Privacy

    Posted on December 9th, 2013 msmith88 No comments

    For our Scholarly Webtext, we had to come to class with four different webtext citations. An article I used is titled Teens, Social Media, and Privacy. Here is the link to the article:


    I read through the article and took out some main points. A lot of the information was very useful for my overall topic regarding privacy issues for teens who use social media sites.

    Here is a little synopsis I wrote about the article:

    Teens do not seem to take much consideration into managing their privacy settings on social media sites. According to the article, “just 9% [of teens] say they are ‘very’ concerned” when it comes to third-parties accessing their data. These third parties include advertisers, businesses, and potential employers. The data and percentages included in the article clearly show an increase in teens that share information through their social media profiles. Is this increase a result of privacy settings being too difficult to use or is it because teens are just too naïve to use them? This article gives enough statistical information to think about exactly why teens may be disregarding privacy settings on social media websites and sharing more personal information with the public.

    I think that this article really makes great points about teens on social media websites. Why are so many more teens okay with the fact that complete strangers could have access to their information if they don’t have proper privacy settings? This is a question that I want to look into as I continue my research.

  • Photoshop Transformation

    Posted on December 4th, 2013 msmith88 No comments

    I was browsing Buzzfeed this morning, and I came across this page titled Watch Photoshop Transform This “Average” Woman Into a Real-Life Barbie in 37 Seconds.

    Here is the link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/maycie/powerful-video-shows-what-photoshop-can-do

    It’s crazy to think that Photoshop has the capability to completely change the way a person looks. The video shows the process that a natural looking woman goes through on a photo shoot set. In the end, she is transformed into a flawless, overly perfect-looking model. The beginning shows a natural-looking woman. Then, makeup, hair extensions, and new lighting are added and we can already see what a drastic change that makes to the “natural woman.” If that wasn’t enough of a change, the video shows the Photoshop editing process that occurs after the photo is taken. Here, editors make the woman’s eyes larger and her stomach skinnier. They also elongate the woman’s legs, neck, and arms. At the end, her hair and skin are lightened, making this picture very similar to those we see in magazine advertisements today.

    The video was created by GlobalDemocracy.com and the campaign requests that magazines and other publications  include a disclaimer on photos where models have been airbrushed or Photoshopped. A disclaimer of some sort would be very beneficial, especially since a lot of young girls deal with body image issues.

  • Scholarly Webtext: Refining My Idea

    Posted on December 3rd, 2013 msmith88 No comments

    Right now, I’m looking at my feedback from Dr. Warnick on the Unit 4 project. Unit 4 is a Scholarly Webtext, where I will select a topic related to an aspect of writing, technology, social media, or internet culture, and create a web-based artifact. The web-based artifact will incorporate outside sources that will make a specific argument designed to be read by an academic audience.

    My topic is very broad, and Dr. Warnick suggested that I refine it to create a more specific argument. I decided that I wanted to talk about Youth and Technology, but here is my problem… I need to figure out something much more specific. In my plan of action, I seemed to gravitate toward talking about the issue of privacy as it relates to youth and social media. I think that this topic will help me provide more specific information, so I can make a much clearer stance on my webtext. Also, I decided that I’d like to use Storify to present my final project. This way, I’ll be able to collect and arrange important artifacts from my sources while adding my own comments. I thought about using Medium; however, I think it might be a little too text-based for this project.

    Now, it’s time to refine my overall idea and find the right sources for it!

  • Social Media Can Make or Break You

    Posted on November 24th, 2013 msmith88 No comments

    I came across a New York Times article written by Natasha Singer titled, “They Loved Your GPA. Then They Saw Your Tweets.” Here’s the link to it: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/business/they-loved-your-gpa-then-they-saw-your-tweets.html?smid=tw-share&pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Honestly, I don’t think many young people actually believe that universities as well as potential employers look at their social media “footprints.” Negative comments and posts on social media can haunt people forever if they aren’t conscious of what they’re saying. The article states that “of 381 college admissions officers who answered a Kaplan telephone questionnaire this year, 31 percent said they had visited an applicant’s Facebook or other personal social media page to learn more about them — a five-percentage-point increase from last year. More crucially for those trying to get into college, 30 percent of the admissions officers said they had discovered information online that had negatively affected an applicant’s prospects.”

    I think that young people need to realize that social media should not be used as an outlet to make negative remarks or comments. In this way, young people are taking advantage of the fact that they can voice their opinion in less than a minute by posting onto social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s actually pretty scary to think about…

    After reading this article, I think that it might be something I’d like to talk about in my Unit 4 project. Young people take advantage of the fact that they have countless forms of social media, but are their posts appropriate? Do they even understand how it can affect them in the future? There are definitely a lot of interesting ways to discuss young people and their social media use.