Best Blogs

The More {words}, The Merrier

I think this blog really engaged my audience and inspired online conversation due to the article I found with the funny title of “Size Matters.” This article was extremely helpful, though, in confirming my stance about the length of photo captions. I also used concepts discussed in class regarding online writing and design by writing with a personality and including visuals that will keep my readers engaged. This post satisfied the last objective of extending course readings and discussions and connecting them with my personal interests because the iffy reliability of Wikipedia reminded me of the not-so-trustworthy ads and recommendations that I see all over my Instagram feed.

This blog post fulfills the qualities of a successful blog entry that we have previously discussed because I write the way I speak, which helps create a more personal feel when reading my blog. This came pretty naturally to me and, once I got started, it was easy for me to continue my train of thought and get my point across. I also chose a stance, that long posts are typically more personal and meaningful, and this allowed my readers to either agree or disagree with me in the comments. I also tried to leave the audience with something they would remember, like #AllLengthsMatter, that summed up the post. I tried to do this in all of my blogs and it reminded me of how I always like to finish my formal writing with a good closing statement as well.

This blog is representative of the strongest features of my blog this quarter because I really like the outside sources I was able to find. I felt like they were just what I needed to support my argument. Compared to some of my other blog posts, I like that this blog kept up the personal and peppy vibe that I like all of my posts to contain. I want my reader’s to be entertained and really get into what they are reading and I think this blog succeeds at doing that. I know I have read some blogs and clicked to another page before I was done because I was bored by it, but I’d like to think this blog keeps the readers attention until the very end.

Can You Film Me Squatting? I’m trying to go viral here…

This ~viral~ blog of mine, lol jk, uses my personal writing style to engage the audience and inspire online conversation due to the fact that just about everyone sees fitness videos show up on their social media at some time or another. I applied concepts discussed in class to improve this blog like adding the relevant YouTube clip and including the dictionary definition to break up long paragraphs and inform the reader just how viral the word viral has gotten over the years. I used the course reading about the traits that typically make a story go viral, which allowed me to really take my blog in any direction I wanted to.

This blog post fulfills the qualities of a successful blog entry that we have previously discussed because I have continued to use my own style of writing that is comfortable and fluid to me. Hopefully, it is engaging to the audience as well. Throughout my short blogging career, I have made sure to post immediately after I was done writing and to read my posts out loud. Sometimes I get worried that my reader’s won’t read something quite the way I intended to write it… but I guess that’s just how technology goes sometimes.

This blog is representative of the strongest features of my blog this quarter because it used a lot of different components such as the definition, the YouTube video, and the list. I liked how all of these connected to each other and made the post more interesting to read. I chose a lot of which other blogs to read based off of appearances and I think this blog is visually appealing. The sources in this post were both informative and funny. The last link, to the woman with wine weights, was a silly way to end my informative blog.


Let’s Go Full Circuit

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… WE ARE ADDICTED TO OUR PHONES, PEOPLE. If you disagree you might as well stop reading now bc I’m right (at least for the majority of the population).

Just the other day my roommate and I were discussing some ~questionable~ snaps we took on a fun night out (bc you’re only a senior in college once, right??). Anyways… she said to me, “Isn’t it crazy that we could share these videos with our kids one day?” And that hit me HARD. Sure, my parents have some cool, retro prom pics but do they have a record of just about every night they went out all stored on one app? I don’t think so…

That’s because I am much more of a DiGitAl nAtiVe than my parents are. The scary thing is children being born now will be even MORE digital native-y than I am. Mark Prensky discusses digital nativism in his article titled, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” “Thinking patterns have changed,” he claims, because we’re so quick to hop on the internet, that we literally hold in our hands, and work our way through a problem that way instead. Need to order a pizza? Order online. Need to call a repair shop? Google the closest shops and call the one with the best reviews. We’re not looking in phone books or even asking for neighbors opinions on where to take our cars in anymore. We’re lessening human contact… so we’ve become more independent? Or maybe just more DEpendent on our phones…

Guess what being dependent (especially on an inanimate object) does to you? STRESS. ANXIETY. PANIC. Why didn’t he respond to my text? Why didn’t my photo get a lot of likes?? Why aren’t I matching with anyone on Tinder??? Just writing those questions stressed me out… 😦 Sad. Why are we like this?

Maybe because we think we know what brings us happiness when we really don’t? Laura Helmuth’s “Top Ten Myths About the Brain” states, “We routinely overestimate how happy something will make us.” So, let’s stop feeling heartbroken when our photo doesn’t get as many likes as the girl who just posted the half naked photo of herself… and start LIVING.

Thanks to WikiHow, there are steps to “Go on a Cell Phone Diet” that can jumpstart your new way of livin’. Who knows how successful it is (my b), but I’m sure a little time not staring at a screen (as I type this STARING AT A SCREEN, ugh the irony) would do everyone some good. This blog has taught me so much about how different generations interact with and even deal with social media that I never could have imagined. I’m happy that I’ve really mastered my informal, digital writing style and feel like I could type away to myself ALL. DAY.

I’ll miss you WDA blog </3

Can You Film Me Squatting? I’m trying to go viral here…

Do you ever see a video show up on your timeline with a seemingly infinite amount of like, comments, and shares and you think to yourself… of all things, how did THIS video get so popular?? Viral videos are spreading quicker than chicken pox in a kindergarten classroom yet it seems there just might be a method to the madness.

To get started, I googled “viral” and you will not believe what I found. Merriam-Webster has the following definitions:

viral  /ˈvīrəl/  adjective

  1. of the nature of, caused by, or relating to a virus or viruses.
  2. relating to or involving an image, video, piece of information, etc., that is circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another.

*insert shook face here* Do you SEE the second definition?? How long you think that’s been there? You think pictures drawn on the inside of cave walls back in the day ever went viral? Yeah, me neither.

Anyways, now that we know what ~viral~ means, let’s learn HOW to become viral ourselves. According to a New Yorker article by Maria Konnikova titled, “The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You,” the most common traits of viral videos are that they provoke an emotional response (positive response is best), they provoke some sort of arousal, they are memory-inducing, they have a social currency, they are a quality source of media, and they have practical value. If you reflect back on the videos you are most likely to share on social media, do they have many of these qualities? I know mine do…

Unlike the New Yorker article which is backed up by relevant research, there are lots and LOTS of sites teaching you “how to go viral” that might not be as credible as you think. An example is an article titled, “How to Make a Viral Fitness Video,” which recommended the following tips: keep the basics in check, consistency is key, credit yourself, and capitalize on the moment. I don’t know about you, but to me these traits don’t sound extremely provoking or emotion-inducing like we would expect. Do fitness videos differ that much from your “typical” viral video? Although a fitness video potentially has a smaller target audience, I think sticking with the previously mentioned six traits can take your lifting video to the next level instead of just posting the same thing all the other 48302jdfewjd08r5w843 “fitness bloggers” post everyday. 🙂

Another take on ~viral~ content comes from Mr. Kevin Allocca, a YouTube trends manager (he literally watches YouTube videos for a living… I think I went to the wrong school)…

According to Mr. Allocca, viral videos happen because of three things:

  1. tastemakers
  2. communities of participation
  3. unexpectedness

He brings up a good argument for why videos go viral with even BETTER examples – watch it, it’s funny. My personal favorite is the clip with the cyclist talking about how typical it is for obstructions to be in bike lanes as he continually runs into them (5:38 if you’re not going to watch the whole thing *eye-roll*). Nobody who starts watching that video with no previous knowledge of what happens would have predicted his funny and maybe painful actions. Because of this, people want to share it to share the shock they ~felt~ when first watching it.

The word ~felt~ takes us back to those things called feelings which was the number one trait of a viral video… we went full circle if ya didn’t notice. So whether you share a video because of the emotions you feel when you watch it or whether you really just want to show off that grainy, poor quality video of your new PR, keep in mind what makes something viral and you might just become as popular as this lady with her wine weights. Cheers.

No matter who you are, what you like, or where you’re from, there is most likely a dating website just for you! Thanks to the increase in popularity in cyber relationships, the market for online dating has spread to great lengths you wouldn’t even believe… think zombies, nudists, gold diggers… do you get the picture? There’s something out there for E V E R Y O N E. It might sound bizarre or even desperate at first, but is online dating really that taboo anymore?

Image result for online dating

According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of American adults are internet users and 30% of recent daters have used their social media networks to get more information about people they are interested in dating.” That’s an extremely large number of people (& that’s just in America) that are perusing the internet for potential lovers… We’re all human and we all adapt, though. The amount of time we spend on our cell phones has wildly increased within the last decade so it’s not surprising that our relationships have transferred from real life to on screen as well. If my boyfriend is too busy on his cell phone to hang out with me then why not just bug him on the thing he’s staring at all day instead of me, right?? 🙂 To me, online dating seems like the next logical step in a world that is continually trashing real life interactions for tech ones. However ~weird~ the categories are that online dating sites have separated themselves into… to each his own.

An intriguing article just posted by Business Insider titled, “Scientists think relationships that start online may have a huge advantage over relationships that start in real life,” discussed a recent study regarding relationships started online. Although it does not prove that relationships started online are indeed stronger than those that weren’t, it does show that most relationships started online have typically better results due to the fact that both people in the relationship most likely signed up for an account with the intent of beginning a new relationship. This was about as shocking to me as the article that states sending an email is more intimate than leaving someone a voicemail. As mentioned earlier, our time spent on cell phones and computers (& basically away from human contact tbh) really is impacting our relationships because our behaviors are permanently changing. Acts as simple as reading the printed newspaper have become almost obsolete because of our increased use of technology and social MEDIA interactions.

*Lifting* Observations & Expectations

Challenges can be fun, right? WNYC, a New York public radio station, released a challenge that would make most millennials cringe, titled “Bored and Brilliant.” It consists of six daily challenges that get our minds off of our cell phones and into the real world. After skimming through the options to find the one I wanted to attempt to tackle, I found myself laughing at some of the challenges. A “Photo Free Day”? If you think I’m giving up my snap streaks then think again… Delete my favorite app? Absolutely not… Post an away message? I haven’t done that since my AIM days… After all these rejections to the challenges, I realized I may need these more than I thought…

I finally settled on the Bored and Brilliant Challenge 5: One Small Observation. A guest on the show mentioned how different his cab rides were after the iPhone was invented since he now spends most of his time staring at his phone versus staring at the world around him. The audio clip encouraged me to get into a creative mindset by going somewhere public to watch people and to let my mind wander and notice things. I decided to take this challenge to a place that is easy to let your mind wander… the gym. I tried to pay particular attention to peoples actions around me and even learned a little bit about myself along the way. I noticed that, like myself, people often have little routines they do (maybe without even realizing it) before they start a lift. I know that I always wiggle my foot a certain way before getting my weight off the squat rack and observing others I saw particular steps taken, specific breathing patterns, and even certain twitches that some people made to start their lifts as well. For me, this challenge pushed me to stay off my phone between sets which is something I struggle with on a daily basis.

Sadly, I’m not the only one who’s so addicted to their phone that they use it WHILE working out. It really is harder than some might think, though, to keep our phones out of our hands while working out. A New York Times article titled, “Cellphones Test Strength of Gym Rules,” discusses some of the different views regarding cellphones being allowed or not allowed in the gym. Personally, I use my phone to track my weight as soon as I get into the gym, throughout my workout because I have workouts apps on it, and then even ~more~ throughout my workout to send texts, tweets, you name it, between sets of my workout… but is that “wrong”? According to the article, cellphones are typically banned in gyms to prevent annoying surrounding customers by speaking loudly on the phone, sitting on equipment while not using it, etc. So, to me, I think using my cellphone while working out is perfectly fine. Would my workouts potentially go faster if I didn’t use my phone? Probably. But I enjoy staying connected, changing my music when a dull song comes on, and even staying up to date on the latest snap stories during a good lift.

Whether you spend too much time on your phone because of work or (the lesser) social media, we all deserve a break from it to let our minds ~wander~. Spending more time mindlessly taking in the beauty around you and less time stressing over how many likes your last tweet got, (see where your anxiety is really coming from here) could help your brain feel different in a good way. Happy mind-wandering!

Out with the old [likes] & in with the new [comments]

Want to know what would be cool? If you commented on this post after you’re done reading it… 🙂 Why, you ask? Personally, I like hearing how people agree/disagree with my point of view on different subjects (especially since only about 0.0000007% of the population will ever see this post anyways), but not everyone is feelin’ the same way. NPR, for example, announced their speedy removal of comments from their journalism sections in this article. They decided to “rely on social media to pick up the slack” which, to me, sounds like taking a problem and just transporting it elsewhere versus resolving it, but what do I know, right?? Anyways, their decision came from a result of many concerns such as discovering most of their comments were coming from just a handful of site users and that a lot of the comments recommended removing this privilege to comment (so ironic) because of the chaos they were causing on the web. Regardless of what pushed NPR over the edge to cut off comments altogether, let’s agree to disagree with them…

Comments… are a wonderful thing. Lots of comments make your post more interactive and therefore more popular. Lately, I have noticed more and more fitness accounts asking questions in their captions just so that viewers feel they NEED to comment on their post. Although a comment is… just a comment, I don’t think the typical instagrammer realizes how helpful those really are to the owner of the account. An ~awesome~ and extremely long infographic found here describes “the evolution of social media influencers” and just how important getting your page on as many peoples profiles as possible is. It’s worth the read because it really details how we made that transition from Hollywood celebrities being the desired advertiser to accounts with smaller reaches but more personal and interactive users following it.

Continuing on with the “we {heart} comments” theme, let’s look at another example where adding comments paid off big time for one particular artist. In an article posted here on Forbes, Richard Prince sold “works of art” AKA other peoples insta pics with new captions and comments for BIG bucks. Unsurprisingly, the people who’s pics he used are revolting, but the awkward thing is that no one really knows if it’s ~actually~ stealing or not. Weird.

Thankfully, social media is adapting to the times (does it feel like social media is always one step ahead of us??) and insta now gives you the option to toggle on and off if you want your followers to be able to comment on your pics or not. I keep comments on because I enjoy seeing people’s reaction to my posts but keep in mind when you’re commenting on other posts to keep it respectful… don’t be THAT GUY.