Using steeping tea as a metaphor, I demonstrate the simple process by which I approach writing.
Most of my inspiration for writing or anything creative starts with a cup of tea. Cupping a little mug in my hands and feeling its warmth as the sweet aroma rises and swirls around me puts my mind in a space for expressing myself through my work.
This image was used in my final portfolio and cover letter
My second literacy narrative I titled “I was in toxic relationship, but we’re good now.” Clickbait is what attracts views and other insights, so I figured I would give the title a trick name as an experiment. Why was I in a toxic relationship you ask? Click here to find out.
Did it work?
My updated literacy narrative is much different than what I’d originally put together. While some elements from the previous were incorporated in this version, I’d say the focus has shifted from what technologies I used in the past and what they made me feel to a more structured narrative. In fact, the opening to my new narrative actually opens with its reflection posts.
I noticed, I was trying too hard avoid being too formal awhile adding more personality to my previous narrative, I actually overlooked writing a well structured thesis. As a consequence as my professor Professor Morgen told me in our meeting, I had a very chronologic approach to explaining how technology served as a medium to express myself creatively as opposed to following the ABT theory we learned in class. ABT or and, but, therefore is a writing technique developed by Randy Olsen used for writing a more compelling thesis. My and and and format was bland, and needed a tighter thesis. Reading over my draft now, it honestly makes me cringe. Though I’m pretty sure reading over my updated narrative will still make me cringe. I suppose thats a natural feeling when reading your own work.
The process of writing this was much different compared to the first other pieces of writing. To begin, I started by reading other students literacy narratives and reviewing the feedback provided by Professor Morgen. After reviewing both, I decided it was best to basically trash my original concept and really hone in on the effects technology has had on me as a content creator over the years.
It was really cool to reference other student’s work in my own and turn a paper from a single perspective into one that is more dynamic, and a piece of network of our opinions.
NOTE: For the purpose of the narrative, I did tend to focus on the negatives of technology and avoiding it as a whole. However, I will mention, I didn’t completely ghost technology. My distaste was more projected upon computers as a result of use relating to stressful academics. I hopped on the DSI train and other cool gadgets real quick, as I desperately wanted to raise puppies on Nintendogs and make cool animations on Fipnote.
Unmasking the memes has returned, but this time it’s interactive. In our podcast from several weeks ago, we discussed the influence of memes on our thoughts and behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We decided to translate this idea into a game using HTML and Twine. The game was designed to see how our personal meme browsing and media consumption feed into social media algorithms which in turn, reflect one’s current view of the pandemic through presentation of polarized political memes, ultimately bolstering their current opinions, whether they are accurate or not. How does this confirmation bias influence our own beliefs about COVID-19, the online social communities we interact with, and how we perceive news?
Can you escape the algorithm? Or are the memes too powerful?
Right away, I tasked myself with finding for memes for our game. The criteria is that the meme must pertain to the pandemic, whether it is about the vaccine, wearing a mask, personal experiences, or the nature virus itself. The meme must also have some sort of message. While browsing through instagram/tiktok/facebook, I asked myself what is the message from this meme? Does it even have a message? Or is it just a funny meme? Is it spreading false information? Is it promoting anti- or pro-mask/vaccine ideals? Was this meme crafted for the anti-maskers or the pros? While I did see some top tier, #rofl COVID meme content, I only select memes which gave a certain message. Our goal was to see how memes influence our view of the pandemic not just to laugh or cringe at the views of others.
You’d think this would be a simple, fun task. Who doesn’t like browsing through funny trash on the internet? This was actually a lot more cumbersome than I’d anticipated. Several weeks ago, several media websites like Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram placed blocks and filters on content pertaining to the pandemic in order to reduce out potential for spreading false information. I started seeing banners and pop-ups like these images below on content containing key pandemic vocabulary like vaccine, mask, and COVID-19.
While this is a fantastic intervention, it was very tragic for me. All the offensive, false, awful memes I remember seeing at the beginning of the pandemic had been removed. However, I did find several groups on facebook with the exact content I was looking for.
My search for memes was quite an experience. It was a bit of a culture shock to be honest.
Wow, there are people out here who actually believe masks are a hinderance to their freedom. There are really people out here who think wearing a mask is a form of bondage and slavery??? nice..
After a few hours of searching, my collection of memes was complete and could be added into the game. We decided to link the memes to the game rather than embedding them into the game itself.
We used this process of finding memes as a way of brainstorming for our game. As the game is based off of the content we find. The game begins allowing the player to choose the social media they want to use. They can then decide to view a meme based on the username of the poster. We used very distinct names that would provide more than enough insight to tell what kind of content would likely be posted. This game is indeed polarized, which was intentional. We want the player to see how their viewing habits affect the content they see. If the player veered more towards anti-mask/vaccine content, they would ultimately be lead to a more “Fox News” perspective of the pandemic which did indeed lead them to Fox news sites. It was interesting to try to create this aolgorithm using twine, but I believe we pulled it off.
I enjoyed sharing the concept of our game to the class. While it wasn’t yet complete, I think we were able to express the framework and overall concept effectively. I usually get very nervous for presentations, but the comforting atmosphere of the classroom from the students and our professor made things much less stressful.
I think we did a good job conveying our message in our game. However, there was so much more I wanted to do with our game in terms of aesthetics and building a more interesting storyline. I think this was the first assignment I felt like I didn’t give myself enough time to add the details I would’ve liked, which was personally disappointing to me. I feel like the overall appearance and flow of the game doesn’t exactly reflect the type of work I like to put out. Unfortunately, time was not on my side on this assignment. In the future I’d like to make the game feel much more personal and engaging through adding sounds, animations, manipulating the colors and background, and writing the game more like a story.
This was a really fun assignment to take on. I’d always wanted to learn HTML and other aspects of coding, so this was a great learning experience for me. What was different about this assignment and much of this class actually, compared to other classes, was to really focus on your audience and tailor your writing and work to convey a certain message to them through an unfamiliar medium as compared to writing a persuasive essay. I will and already have seen myself translating these class concepts to my other classes–being able to craft a strong argument through other mediums and projects and not writing to write, but to try to really connect with the reader and to make it engaging.
On a typical school day, I carry my laptop, my iPad– which I take most of my notes on, my spiral folder for papers/written notes, a calculator, my glasses, two pencils (one with red led and one with grey), a pen, my wallet, a head scarf, earphones, a snack/candy (licorice which I actually was not a fan of), a mask, two bags containing chargers and cosmetic items, and most importantly, a warm cup of tea. Todays tea was hibiscus and clove with honey.
No matter where I go, I like to carry almost all these items with me (with an exception of the calculator, laptop, iPad, and notebook).
Because I usually carry a different bag with me everyday, I tend to forget at least one item when I’m transferring items from bag to bag. My most essential item (besides a wallet) I would say are my earphones. Listening to music brings me peace and helps me reflect and focus on whats important.
Along with the photo and your description of the items, include a paragraph reflecting on what it was like to craft a self-portrait through this photograph. How actually representative is this image of you as a person? What sorts of choices did you make in order to create the image? What was challenging about this assignment? Is representing yourself in a catalog of the stuff in your bag a type of writing? Why or why not?
A Self Portrait
These items a carry with me I feel represent me as a person. What says the most about me is my collection of chapsticks, cup of tea, and the scarf.
An Aspiring Artisan
After reflecting on these images, I’m noticing I carry a lot of chapstick with me. One doesn’t really work (Carmex), one is whipped shea butter, one just smells good, and the little one with the blue lid is my favorite. It’s a blend of honey, shea butter, castor oil, and Vasaline. I love making my own cosmetic products such as lotion, face and lip moisturizers, and hair products.
If you haven’t already noticed, I love tea. If I’m carrying a bag, there is a 99.9% chance there is also a mug of tea somewhere in there. This also means I have experienced multiple accidents in which I used a faulty mug and spilled tea all over my belongings. Which is partially why most things I own smell like sweet herb.
This is my favorite black scarf. As a person with curly type 4 hair living in this hot and humid state of Georgia, I use the scarf to tie down my hair to reduce frizz while on the go.
I also enjoy taking periodic naps around campus, such as in the Cox Computing room. I absolutely cannot sleep peacefully without a scarf on because for laying my hair on certain surfaces may cause friction and lead to breakage and extra frizz. I’ve become so used to wearing a scarf while resting that I feel uncomfortable without it
This scarf is also a head-covering for prayer. If my head is not already covered, I can easily whip out this scarf when I need to pray.
The goal for this project was to splice two images together and make it look like a single image. I first thought of two things that have similar structures and textures, but weren’t the same object. This process took quite a bit of time, and was probably the most difficult part of this assignment. The first thing that came to mind was cotton candy and clouds. In this image, I merged an image of a cloud between a ball of cotton candyusing Preview on Mac.
Ideally, the images would blend with a single seam, but there are a few places you can see where edits were clearly made. I decided to splice the image into thirds because I felt that having the cotton candy alone on the top wouldn’t have had the same effect as having it on either end.
The final product makes the shape of a heart. To me, this image conveys lightheartedness and tranquility.
Let’s face it. Moving from pressuring professional environments to the comfortable confines of our homes pushed many individuals to stop paying attention to their aesthetics and fashion during the COVID 19 pandemic. However, others seized the free time to incorporate fashion trends unique to the pandemic into their lives. Therefore, social isolation seems to have created an environment where people can experiment and reinvent their wardrobe through novel fashion trends.
After making two podcasts, Sak, Neil and I were more accustomed to recording, so this time making the podcast felt more natural. Despite being more experienced, coming up with a topic for this podcast was surprisingly difficult. We had so many ideas, but struggled to come up with a single topic in which we could go into great depth for our argument. Eventually, we landed on the topic of fashion. We wanted to discuss fashion trends that popped off during the pandemic, analyzing the way the pandemic shaped the way we present ourselves, manipulate aesthetics, and even out shopping habits. Because fashion is such a broad topic, we decided to focus on the concept of fast fashion. This podcast featured our friend Sebastian Gutierrez, an Emory undergrad student and our local fast fashion expert.
Because the topic was fashion, we struggled to think of good audio clips and sound effects that were not only relevant, but royalty free. I found a few tiktok songs and other upbeat music. The audio quality of this podcast was much more clear than previous, which I’m very happy about! I edited the EQ to reduce the volume of lower frequencies, which helped to reduce excess bass. After editing a couple podcasts, the process for editing the final one was smoother and less time consuming.
As with the other podcasts, one of the key take aways from this experience is being able to collaborate. It was a struggle to find time in which we could all meet up. Having midnight meetings into the early morning to record did put a bit of a stress on our production process. However, because Sak, Neil and I are very close friends we were able to turn recording sessions into a fun experience. We were able to provide feedback to each other on how to improve our arguments or if we ever started to get off track from the subject. To control our argument, we assigned loose roles to keep ourselves on track. Saketh focused on arguing for our thesis that the pandemic encouraged people to advance their fashion choices and I argued for the antithesis that the pandemic allowed to relax our standards for fashion. Neil focused on deeper analysis.
After producing/editing 3 podcasts, I think I have learned a many useful skills that are applicable to writing in multiple fields. Specifically, I’ve learned to craft a strong argument and present it through a conversation. I’ve become more comfortable with using editing software (Garageband), and drawing on Adobe Draw.
Overall, I’m fairly satisfied with our final podcast.
As with other covers and the title, my goal was to blend aspects of covid and the podcast topic into a single image. Because the topic pertained to aesthetics, I wanted to create a simple image with clean lines and strong contrast. The concept was inspired by Saketh’s example of a decorative masks he noticed in Indian weddings. The design of the earrings reflect the virus structure.
The use of zoom in education during the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered how students learn and is often criticized for making academic life more difficult and unmotivating. However, it has actually offered a plethora of new resources and opportunities that continue to shape how students learn even in an in-person environment. Therefore, zoom and online learning may have made learning more manageable and easy to cope with even amidst their negative associations. ZOOM in with us to take a closer look at this multifaceted situation.
In our second podcast, we discuss the effects of zoom learning from a student perspective. Generally from what I’ve heard, Zoom learning was not something many students were a fan of. It’s a little awkward, can be tricky to use, just doesn’t feel the same as being in a classroom with other students. In this podcast, however, we argue that the benefits Zoom learning may be overlooked, and actually shape the way we learn in a positive way into the future.
Recording this podcast felt much more conversational than the last one, which I think overall made it much more engaging and easier to edit. I also incorporated sound effects from Zoom and used them to indicate transitions in our argument.
I enjoyed the music selection of this podcast more than the first one. We also used a higher quality microphone which should’ve made voices more clear and easier to understand.
Or so I thought..
After listening to the podcast through regular speakers, I had to turn it off.
My ears are in pain !
The audio quality was somehow bold yet muddy, muffled, and unclear compared to listening with my headphones (Which I now realize were broken). The mid and upper frequencies were too high which made it difficult to understand what we are saying and lowers the overall quality of our podcast unfortunately. This was quite heartbreaking to realize because we’d worked very hard to make an effective argument that won’t even be heard. The affect of embellishments added during the editing process will also be lost.
Like the other podcasts, collaboration was key. We also had to translate our argument into the an aural mode. This process was similar to how we did in the previous podcast. It was much easier, now that we had more experience.
Zooming Through Doom was honestly my favorite podcast. I liked the way it was edited and my coproducers and I had so much fun making it, it’s a shame the final product did not live up to expectations. I will need to pay more attention to detail and definitely upgrade my headphones to ones that actually work. Reviewing your work before submission is so important to avoid failures like this.
The cover of the podcast was inspired by the zoom logo and zoom colors. It features a masked person logging into zoom using a COVID-19 laptop. The words zoom are wrapped around the persons head as if he were sleeping or just ~consumed~ by the zoom.
This edition of Voices Through The Mask presents an entertaining and informative analysis of Covid-19 memes. Memes have had a significant role in representing and shaping individuals’ thoughts and behaviors during the pandemic. Covid-19 has led people to new and unique experiences that have manifested in the medium of internet memes. Join us as we venture out to reflect about and unpack this cultural phenomenon.
In our first installment of the Voices Through the Mask podcast, Saketh, Neil, and I analyze a series of popular memes and trends we’ve witnessed one various social media platforms with an aim to unmask the underlying implications they may have had on our thoughts and behaviors over the course of the pandemic.
As a meme connoisseur myself, I felt tying aspects of the pandemic to this podcast media would be a unique and interesting concept to talk about. Though I think we had informative content and analysis, I feel our discussion and the overall production of our podcast could’ve been executed better. It is ironic that although we were talking about memes, a media that is supposed to be funny and entertaining, our conversation was a bit dry and lacking in energy.
This was my first time making and editing a podcast. While I am familiar with editing audio, editing a podcast specifically was very new to me. Because our conversation felt a bit dry, I tried to make the podcast more engaging by incorporating various audio clips, sound effects, and music. I searched youtube and other media sites for memes that reflected the topic.
Listening to the podcast, I noticed there were several error I made while editing. This podcast was recorded on an iPad, so the audio quality is low and the background noise is too noticeable. There were some times the music and audio clips were overpowering. I could’ve done a better job leveling out the volume and managing the EQ to make it more audibly appealing.
The design of the cover was inspired by the toilet paper meme
Overall, for our first podcast, I felt we did a decent job. I’m looking forward to seeing how the next one goes and will hopefully make some major improvements.
This is a playlist I made for myself to facilitate peace and reflection. The playlist begins on what feels like a fragile sense of happiness. This wavering eventually lands on a somber note which persists for most of the playlist. While the overall tone is blue, to me provides a sense of comfort. These songs to me feel like a warm blanket and serve as a reflection for how I feel about life. You may notice there are a few artists who make frequent appearances in this playlist. That is because I find their music style to be a unique and very thoughtful expression of emotions that I don’t hear too often from other modern classical artists.
Making this landing page was very interesting and unlike anything I’d really done before. My prior, though relatively limited experience with html was from an environmental data science class I took in the spring of 2020. This class primarily dealt with spatial projections and doing statistical analysis of agricultural data. After generating results or projecting a certain map, we would convert our work from an R file to html in order to make it more readable and appealing.
That being said, while I do know a bit a code, this was a big learning experience for me. I used Professor Moregen’s landing page as a template and manipulated the different codes to change the appearance of my landing page. I was able to do this by adding different colors, fonts, and adjusting the font size on the style.css file.
The theme for this page was based off of a sky image I found on pexels.com The colors I used were all selected from this image as well. I wanting the landing site to feel very warm and hopefully welcoming!