Final Project

Here is my final project, a website that highlights all the reasons why law schools should want me! Take a look and tell me if you’d let me into your law school ūüôā

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Driving the Future Decline?

My problem with this article is the fact that this author makes such radical claims about the impact of cyber sex. He claims two things that struck me- cyber sex will damage procreation, cyber sex will cause marriage to deteriorate.

He says that cyber sex, or porn, or perfectly shaped people in media, cause “media masturbation”.I think this is ridiculous. Sex sells, but really, it’s the idea of sex that sells. The promise of sex with a beautiful girl is only a tease, the desire that follows is what people take from media. I ¬†find it impossible to believe that the biological sex drive could ever be replaced by a picture or sound or video. No cyber chat or porn video can replace the physical intimacy of sleeping with someone. That is one of the biggest drives in human nature. I think that sex will continue full force, and with sex comes procreation.

The author also claims that technology is ruining marriage. First of all, I don’t think that would be such a big deal. Marriage is nice but society definitely puts too much emphasis on its importance. Secondly, I don’t think technology will ruin marriage. Marriage is a union of two people in love. If that union is done online, or through technology, its still a marriage. To say their love is less potent is ridiculous, prove to me that all real life marriages have stronger love and maybe I’ll bite, but I think that love can exist in the cyber world. Also, people’s desire to love and be loved will never go away. We are not individual creatures, we will always seek a little bit of company, and that desire drives love.

I don’t think any technology can take away our basic desires.

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Big Brother

One of the first things I thought about when continuing my reading of Open Sky was the movie The Matrix. Virilio discusses how technology can change our government, and we will end up in a totalitarian society where government uses technology to control every aspect of our lives. 

Obviously, in The Matrix, their lives are being controlled to the ultimate degree. Their bodies are akin to science experiments, and their minds aren’t even under their own control. Technology, in machinery and in health science, allowed the government to take the utmost control away from the people.

Frankly, I don’t think Virilio is being a total whack job here. I do think it’s scary that government can have such a high level of control over bodies through technologies like microchips and other tracking devices.¬†

Our cell phones never leave our hands. All the government has to do is to tap into our cell phones, and they can witness almost every aspect of our lives first hand (admit it…you take your cell phone into the bathroom with you).

I don’t like the idea, but I don’t have a solution. I appreciate the benefits of technologies like these, and advances in health care, and I don’t want to protest that. I just wish there was a way to enhance our lives without relenting our liberty.

Do you think the government will step further into our lives through technology? Do you think that it’s fair to give up some of our privacy in return for more safety by allowing government to¬†interfere¬†with our personal technology?

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Moving Too Quickly (or too radically?)

In reading the first few chapters of Paul Virilio’s book, Open Sky, it’s clear that he has developed strong ideas about the direction of modern technology. He describes society’s quick advancement in technology as an¬†apocalypticly bad idea.

Personally, I am already having trouble swallowing some of his philosophy. His arguments, while providing some scientifically interesting viewpoints, seem irrationally out of proportion. We are moving quickly, but this is a revolution. Technology is advancing quickly, but it’s not ruining time.

The author also voices concern at the elimination of physical space. Technology, specifically the internet, is making physical spaces less important. Now, people can connect instantaneously over hundreds of miles through skype, or talk from different hemispheres with cell phones. Physical boundaries are certainly being erased, but I think this just adds to the¬†homogenization¬†of society. It doesn’t eliminate our culture, or push us all into being reclusive and narcissistic. Instead, it combines everyone, all over the world.

Technology is helping us to grow. World-wide, cultures are connecting. People with access to media are realizing what other people are like, people far away from them. Virilio mentioned that we used to be centered on physical ways to connect, like transportation, and that we’ve forgotten that with the advent of new technology. I don’t understand how this is so bad. It’s safer, easier, and cheaper to connect with people. This won’t make people more reclusive, it brings people together far more easily.

To conclude, I find this book too much. His philosophy drips with paranoia, and I can’t help but think he’s being rather one-sided about all of this.

Do you think that Virilio’s philosophy is out-dated? Do you think that society’s homogenization could be more beneficial than the existence of physical boundaries?

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People! People! People!

This article is all about what the people want. Isn’t that essentially what all communication is founded on?

The most useful way to devise what should be on your site is to get in the mind of your viewer. This article suggests the best ways to do that. From making lists, to data collection, to scenario testing, the most effective way to communicate to the viewer is to understand who they are.

This starts with your content. Who are you writing for? Who do you want  to read your site? Write this down. Write down their main characteristics. If you are writing on why marijuana should be legalized, you can assume you are writing for a younger audience. What state of mind are they in? Well the nature of your subject matter is not hurried (for instance, if you were writing on what is poisonous for your dog to eat, the reader might be in a hurry to know if they should  take their animal to the hospital). In this case, the reader is seeking information only, as the legalization of marijuana is not an urgent or  hurried subject. So you can assume your reader is reading for the sake of gaining information, and this will change how you structure your website.

But you need to do more than assume, and this is where data collection comes in. Get feedback from visitors as much as possible. What do they like? What turns them away from your site? Was it easy for them to find what they needed? What questions or comments did they have about your usability? These are all questions that can be asked via a contact section on your site, a survey, or even just talking to your visitors. This data is crucial to ensuring that you understand who is consuming your information and how you can shape your site to serve their needs.

Finally, the best way to understand your user is to completely create them. This is what Redish calls a persona. A persona is when you take all of the general characteristics of your users; the attitudes, values, goals listed above, and compile them into one as if they belonged to one person. Create  profile where you assign these characteristics to a name and a face, and constantly use that face as a reminder that the user is what drives the content and structure of your site.

How can you collect data from your visitors without annoying them? Is it possible to attach a survey to your site without turning users away?

Does creating a persona neglect the needs of users whose goals do not exactly match those of the persona?

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Uncovering Greenville’s Animal Care

 

This is my video project focusing on the role of Greenville County Animal Care in South Carolina. I chose to focus on this organization because I love animals, and I think Greenville County Animal Care is the most important facility in the county for helping them. To learn more about Greenville County Animal Care, visit their site.

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Online Editing

When I think of an editor, I¬†immediately¬†conjure up a mental image of an older person wearing glasses, enveloped b a desk covered in potential book manuscripts, eyes pouring over the words. However, this childhood rendition of mine might be the last of it’s kind; online editing is taking over. Brian Carroll discusses the responsibilities of online editing in chapter six of his book, Writing for Digital Media.

Online editors are fast paced, creative, and -most¬†importantly- adaptable. Some ¬†online editors are even called “content producers”, as the traditional line between writer and editor is melting away. Carroll makes a bulleted list, with descriptions of each role an online editor must fill, and sums it up by saying, “..an online editor must be part content developer, content strategist, producer, manager, managing editor and project manager. Online editors might end up producing multimedia, moderating a chat room or social network, or going into the field to do the heavy lifting of original reporting.”

Clearly, an online editor doesn’t have the luxury of sitting¬†spectacled¬†behind a large oak desk. Online editors are not only performing the traditional editorial function of making sure facts are correct, spelling errors are corrected, and content flows, they are adapting these features to the internet, and adding more responsibility. How will a user navigate the page? Does the content make sense if you begin from a page other than the home page? Do the headlines supply enough information to stand alone? These are just a few of the questions an online editor must face.

Traditional editing is linear. A book is read in one way, with little, if any, visual images, and is meant to be read thoroughly. The internet is anything but linear. A user can jump from one page to the next and back again through hyperlinks. The information can be delivered in any order, at any time, and to anyone. These hurdles are thrown at online editors, who must adapt quickly to change and improve content.

Do you think this job requires too much of a person? Do you think it should be broken up into separate jobs? What are the benefits to having one person perform all of these tasks, versus a team of people?

Would you want to be an online editor?

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