Saturday, December 5, 2009


General Introduction:

Take a moment to hang this browser window on the wall. I require that you use a laser to make sure each corner extends properly into space and all sides are perfectly parallel to the edges of the wall. I could only ask for such ceremony because this browser window contains the very portrait of myself. The carefulness I request in putting it on the wall is only the punctiliousness I demanded of myself in creating it.

Each project illustrates a portion of myself. Yet, unlike customary portraiture, which relies on a pose, portions of my person are featured here in motion. ....My blog is my furrowing brow, my eyes pacing underneath...

....Inasmuch as this is a completed picture, it's the evolution of how this picture was built and refined. Each piece marks a stage of growth and detail. Can you see the veins detailed on my hands? Can you see the steps taken across a blog in my writing?

So far, I have a rough idea of what I could so, but I'm hesitant to concentrate on a specific theme, for fear that I'll pitch it for something else. Also, I don't know entirely if I'm going in the right direction.

1. Into the Information Age

I could discuss my blossoming into a reborn digital native parallel to the developments in class. I knew how to use a computer, but I didn't know about these new ways computers were used or to what degree they were so sophisticated. In learning this I have perhaps become a more realized digital native, or at least someone who is more aware of how things work on the digital plane. I think comparing my work with my self-awareness as a digital native marries many concepts within the course including "electronic" and "writing."

While it's not apparent to the degree I sense it, I have matured as a digital native because of this course. My writings in this blog have danced with new ideas and I've marinaded on different thoughts in my obsessive way. My reactions to the class material have convinced me of a change within myself, which I could document in this way through this theme.

2. Beyond the Borg

In my own private reading, I've come across bloggers and editorial writers who explore the lack of individuality on the web. In many ways, the web benefits from unique user input. However, there is a big push in the Information Age to ammalgamate all information and that each respective person should dedicate themselves to filling this knowledge base. A sort of hive-mind situation.

I think it would be interesting, to explore the idea of my own individuality as an online user through the electronic works I've accomplished. In the process establishing myself as an individual human being, writer, and user of electronic media. Such an impression could enhance the force behind my portfolio.

There's much said in my process blog, and in my own work about my place within both the act of writing and writing in electronic environments.

3. Portfolio as a Portrait

I could discuss how my portfolio is a portrait of myself (as a human being, as a student). Each one of the assignments represents one of four "corners" of the picture, or parts of my caricature. Of course, I will have to ask myself, which project is most like my hands, my eyes, or my lips?

However, I think it would be an interesting avenue to explore, if I do decide to illustrate this theme.

This theme dawned on me as being possible because, after all, these projects, these process blogs, this upcoming portfolio are all pieces of a much larger mosaic. If I may be so bold, I'll say that full picture is my very visage!

Friday, December 4, 2009


I'm thinking about revising my blog and the project memo for the webdesign project.

The blogs are still fresh on my mind. I know what material I could add to make them better. I recognize wrong turns I took, and posts which weren't really posts at all. I can add a lot more flavor to the blog in a couple of days with some minor tweaks. My blogs also showcase some of my best word choices and turns of phrase. To not polish the posts for the occasion would be an error.

I'd like to redo the project memo for the redesign of the SEC website because I want to display my competence in understanding rhetorical functions in an electronic environment. While I could create another page, I am afraid I simply don't have the time!

Kimball Response

A electronic portfolio is much like an extensive résumé. It is a selected collection of exploits, dressed to impress. However, because the portfolio is designed in the same vein as a website, it allows for interfacing which is beyond a paper résumé. Considering that it is similar to a website, in making a "consistent" and "subtle" portfolio, it might be advisable to remember some web design tips. While the content of the portfolio can be impeccable, neglecting the aesthetic craft of the web portfolio is like having a messy, blinking résumé.

Like a résumé, electronic portfolios have an abundance of uses. It's perhaps beneficial to electronic literacy to learn how to proficiently compose an electronic portfolio. They could be ways of informing employers, professors and others about our work.

A model portfolio is not only designed to look good, but reads well. Each entry has an introduction which informs the viewer about the assignment within that part of the portfolio. This entry also relates it to other projects within the portfolio. I think this is important because it supplies the portfolio with continuity and meshes together other parts of the portfolio. It gives the entire system a sense of being a whole.

Lastly, a good online portfolio offers an honest self-assessment. It is just as important to present material to be assessed as well as to make one's own judgments about one's work. Don't sell something to the reviewer that you didn't really put great effort into, and at the same time, don't depreciate the value of something you've done well. Also, a good electronic portfolio is reflective. Show that some effort went in comparing your intentions and the finish product.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Do You Believe In Life After ... Ning?

I don't know who leaked it, but there are seven members of my group's ning facebook cause. Normally, I would say: the more the merrier. However, in this case: I am not so sure.

Friends of friends of friends' friends, the world is a rather large place. I don't know who else is going to decide Help Rhode Island Read is a worthy and true cause too. While, given my last post, I'm inclined to think most of these individuals will join the group for an infatuation's brief wink, and move on to other things—this entry isn't about that. This entry is about some small discomfiture on my side at the idea of someone outside my group deciding to take this cause seriously.

Was it serious to begin with...?

I can say that the cause page is entirely for this projects purpose. If others desire to take it places, bless them. However, I can say—unabashed—that my tenure on that members list is limited. Literacy in Rhode Island is a concern of mine, but I'm not willing to get involved through an online cause concerning the issue. Nor am I willing to be dead-weight, and like so many others be a member of a cause in which I am not participating. After all, I've already renounced them with mounting thunder in my previous blog posts.

Then, in what regard to I hold the entire endeavor?

I regard this project with a spirit of intellectual honesty.

It was what I had to do to explore this electronic environment, how to participate in this class. Inevitably, when that's done, the honest thing to do is to quit the cause.

Certainly I care about this cause, what stops me from participating online and in real life?

I suppose it's simply my attitude. I prefer to do things on my own. I tackle big issues on my own. If I do anything involving the trouble of illiteracy in Rhode Island it will be in my own life and by my individual conscious effort. I want to make sure my brother grows up enjoying reading. I want to make sure my friend's baby learns how to read so he can be on his way to great future successes. In my own small way, helping to reach these results and others like them, I can benefit the cause.

The mob mentality that concerns facebook groups and causes can be just as bad as if members were free-loaders who only joined to impress the opposite sex. All it takes is one catchy bad idea and an entire group can go about doing something the wrong way, no matter what other alternatives may be made available. This is what sours me to most group experiences. There is no question, however, that I'd flattered if an entire group followed my ideas...

Monday, November 30, 2009


I'll concede that Ning is obviously an important tool. The concept of the SNS is rather interesting, let alone engineering one to one's own design. It allows the sitecreator to put a spin on the social climate within the site. For example, there is an obvious difference between the kinds of individuals and their behaviors on my group's Ning as opposed to a Lady Gaga Fan Club Ning. Yet, the creation of either space involved a single human intention to consort with like minds for some particular purpose.

Even so, I still wonder about the efficacy of SNSes in the "meat space." It's way too easy to type, click and drag one's way into several different groups. Personal conviction is necessary, otherwise the effort to orchestrate social change falls through even with the technology available.

SNSes have this transient effect on people. They'll feel strongly, one way or another, about any group or cause their asked to join or decide to join. However, once this moment of announcing some affiliation is over, users typically are complacent; it becomes an act of hollow association. Still, I don't think this temporary inspiration can be denied. Even the most fleeting spirits of advocacy do not pass without some mention from the user. I think people glean causes and groups as part of impression management, adding various plumes to their rears to vaunt about online.

Participation in the case isn't held as valuable as association with the cause. Some of the smartest individuals can still fall pray to this. It isn't troubling. It's almost the model. In combining the vices of my generation: political apathy, indifference to personal values, and an enduring pursuit of instant gratification, a simulated political move becomes appealing. A no-effort, simultaneous, double-click and "virtually" my peers can claim their ideological superiority or their "concern" for the downtrodden and disadvantaged.

I think things will change in time. My generation will become more politically active. But very, very slowly.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Belated Bit on Boyd and Bennett

(or A Digital Native on Digital Discourse)

My generation doesn't have a political voice, it has a political tweet.

Can a political tweet be taken seriously?

Could the ideology presented in the Constitution, or any country's founding document, be expressed in under 150 characters?

After reading the articles by both Bennett and Boyd, I find myself nestled somewhere in between. I believe very firmly that any ideological conviction, any conviction, should be held out of personal fulfillment and not a "sense of duty." And I will agree if there is one thing my generation is interested by en masse: it is opportunities personal fulfillment.

There is a strange dimension of the internet that allows people to truly express themselves. I've received e-mails which are more telling of a persons character than the lump sum of our casual confabulations. But this is fleeting. The internet is abuzz with countless, meaningless memes which require no thought to delight the viewer. Like Boyd argues, while technology offers untapped potential, it is being spent idly.

Yet, this is true offline. Conversation offline with my peers on these topics is sadly affected by entropy. All too soon is the intellectual rapport disrupted by thoughtful silence which is very often preyed upon by a lurking dirty joke or TV program. However, it might be that I'm such a stunning conversationalist that its difficult to keep up with me.

Granted, Bennett is right in saying my generation's political "voice" is growing online. There are multitudes of political groups on Facebook, forums specialized to certain beliefs (with matching smilies).

At the same time, individuals might never be active in any cause they join. My peers may never think twice about the groups they apply to. People might advocate for things in their statuses but lack the courage to boldly push things forward in real life. What is more, my peers might wear causes and groups like badges on their profile, a fashionable charm bracelet featuring PETA, Obama, Support Our Troops and Stop the Hate. I think SNS use is predisposed to vanity. Like Boyd, I think all this technology can get in the way of actual civic engagement. After all, it's a lot easier to post something boldly onto the news-feed, than defend it over dinner with the same intensity.

Still, I'll agree with Bennett that all this technology is a powerful tool for civic engagement. The issue simply isn't the technology available, but the character of my generation.

I think it goes back to shyness and electronic environments. My generation is very shy about its convictions. It doesn't want to believe in anything too strongly or for longer than a twitter-post. Intellectual commitment-issues and abridged attention spans.

I think things can change, but not without great reluctance.

What did Vonnegut say about terror?

"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."