Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is of great importance in this day and age with the way things are moving to completely digital platforms. It is also important to understand what exactly this term means.

Definition

Digital literacy is, in my opinion, applies less to learning how to produce content, and learning more on how to receive the content that we take in during the course of our everyday lives. I think that by learning to produce content, we are able to learn more about how to interact with the content we consume. For example, learning that upbeat music in the background of a podcast can point towards a shift in mood prepares us, as consumers to better understand the story arc of the podcast. Learning that the different cuts in a video allow the viewer to watch the video seamlessly and be able to follow the story better allows us to understand why we feel a sense of unease when videos are choppy.

Bring It Home

In producing my own content, especially the group video, I learned how the different components can come together to make the whole video. I also learned that if just one of these elements is missing, it can mess up the whole video. In the rough cut of the group video, the lighting and sound qualities weren’t where they needed to be. Though the story arc, interviews, questions, B-roll, and background music were well thought-out and planned, the small imperfection of sound and lighting quality in the interviews distracted the viewer from all of the other good parts of the video. This taught me that even the smallest of imperfections can throw the viewer off of the video.

I also learned that certain color schemes are made to create a certain reaction. For my Sports and Sparkles blog, which this is posted on, I learned that I should keep the colors simple on the layout so that I could focus on the abundance of pink that would be in the post due to really make the sexism pop with all of the pink that girls are supposed to wear. For my personal website, I used calming colors in the background, but pops of brighter colors to draw the eye where I wanted on the page. I think that this approach really helps guide my readers through, as well as keeps the page neutral enough to where I could use it for many different things to showcase my whole portfolio as it continues to expand into other fields, like music.

At The End Of The Day

In this course, I learned that it is important to stay on top of the content that you put out into the world because you never know when it will make it back around. I learned more about how to compose my content, and I learned more about who I am. I thought that I had pretty good digital literacy before I took this course, but this really opened my eyes to things I wasn’t even aware of, like the color scheme or music choice, that is really as important as the words on the scree.

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Cell Phone: Good or Bad

There’s no denying that cell phones have changed the daily lives of most people. But when we think of the average teenager, how has it changed their life and how has it changed since we used it as teens?

Personally, I’m thankful that I was in high school before getting a cell phone with internet. It allowed me to bond more with my peers on a face to face level rather than just seeing their face on their Facebook profile on my screen.

The most common use for cell phones, especially when it comes to teenage girls, according to Abu Sadat Nurullah, is to maintain connections with their peer group and facilitate and make those connections easier. That is what I used my cell phone for. It was for making plans to meet at the skating rink, the mall, and a million other places.

While Abu Sadat Nurullah does not include a large section on the connection between the internet and cell phone usage since his article is from 2009 before that became a common use for cell phones, now 77 percent of Americans own smartphones. This has led to an even larger sense of constant connectedness as Nurullah discusses.

Overall, Americans are more connected now than they have ever been. You can make your own decision on w

Be You… But Who Is That?

In order to figure out how to market yourself, you have to figure out who you are first. Nur Costa breaks down how to achieve these goals in her article “The Art of Self Branding.” Her steps greatly lend themselves to three categories: find it, say it, show it.

Find It

The first step is to figure out who you are to other people already. Ask people what they think of when they first think of you. What comes to mind? Asking people from only one portion of your life will result in a one-sided view of yourself. Make sure you get people from every aspect of life; family, friends, classmates, professors, co-workers, peers, etc.

Step two is realizing where you are amazing, where you are struggling, where you can improve, and what may come at you that you can’t handle. A SWOT chart, like this one, will help identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Step three is to situate yourself among peers that are better than you. Surround yourself with people that will push you to be better. If you are the best out of your peers, you won’t be as inspired to make yourself better.

The fourth step is finding your place in all of your work. Finding something you love to do, something your good at, and something people ask for are all pretty easy things to do. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to find something that fulfills all of these requirements, but this is a very important step if you are going to enjoy what you’re doing.

Say It

Step five is putting all this identity into action. Make sure that your readers or viewers know exactly who they are looking at when they view your work. Use corporal, concrete language to show exactly who you are and what you’re talking about.

Step six is to realize that a short mantra can drive your vision to another level and keep you going when you hit the dreaded writer’s block. Make yourself a mantra that you can repeat to yourself, maybe end your blog posts or videos with, or make an inspirational sticky note of.

Show It

Step seven is realizing that your work does not exist in a void. There are other works out there as well. Look at them, see how they market themselves, see what they are doing well and what they aren’t. Use that. Steal like an artist, as Austin Klein would say.

Step eight is making sure people know that you’ve made this wonderful thing. By networking, more people come to know about your work and get to see your work. If you’ve put this much effort into something, make sure people can see what you’ve done and that you’re proud of it.

Step nine is putting all of this into action. You have made the plans, written down your objectives, who your personal brand appeals to, what you want to accomplish, and more. Go make it happen!

Step ten is just making sure that you keep up with the people in the room with you and with your own goals. If you start to slip, jump right back on the horse and remember what you started this for. You can do it!

Russell Williams: Behind The Camera

Two-time Academy Award-winning sound mixer and recordist Russell Williams recently visited Furman University to talk with students here about how exactly the Academy Awards, filmmaking, and studio decisions work, thus giving the students a look behind the scenes at what happens behind the camera.

Behind The Academy

Students got a look at how exactly someone gets into the Academy. This has been quite the controversial topic in the past few years thanks to the #OscarsSoWhite campaign started by April Reign. When nominees were announced in 2015, no non-caucasian actors or actresses were nominated in any major categories. How did it end up that way? To understand how so few people are nominated, you have to first understand how few people do the nominating.

Behind the Nominations

Williams explained to Furman students that there are two ways for someone to get into the Academy. The first is that you can win an Academy Award. Simple enough, right? The second way is that two members of the Academy can nominate someone within their field of work for membership to the Academy. After the initial nomination, the panel meets and interviews multiple people, deciding by a unanimous vote who will be let into the Academy and who won’t. These are the people that choose who gets the coveted Oscars.

Behind the Studio Walls

So how do the studios keep producing movies that will garner the awards? The studios use the so-called “Summer Tent-Pole” movies like the superhero movies we’ve all gotten so used to seeing to earn money at the box office. The profits from those movies are then used to fund the movies that are meant to win the awards, which are known as Oscar bait.

Luckily, this year, the Academy seems to have gotten the message and has nominated more non-caucasian actors and actresses for awards. That’s not all though, as more minorities are being recognized for their contributions behind the scenes as well. If you want to check out this year’s ballot, you can see it here.

Thank you, Russell Williams, for coming to Furman and sharing your experiences with us as well as opening our eyes to how everything really works so we will be more informed on Sunday, February 26th, when the Oscars air on ABC.

What Do You Mean?

When you encounter a new piece of information, whether it’s a television show, a picture, and article, or one of the many other forms of media we encounter on a daily basis, you form an opinion about it. What it’s about, if you like it and what the purpose of it is, among other things. Unfortunately, you can’t always go to the producer of the content and ask them directly, so you may never have a definite answer to some of these. The same goes for producers. You don’t always get to know exactly how a person felt while interacting with your content.

words

So What?

Given the degree of uncertainty in how work is perceived, it is important to think of every way that the content can be perceived and the way that the content was meant to be perceived. This is important on both sides of the media.

Consumers

When viewing a piece of work, sometimes consumers have to work harder in order to unpack the meaning of it. In this case, the meaning of the content may be ambiguous. Consumers also will not always take the same meaning away from something given their differing backgrounds. Some will be offended by content while others may find it intriguing or even funny, as was the case with some of the most controversial ads campaigns.

Producers

Understanding all the ways that your work can be perceived is an important part of being a content producer. A large part of this means making sure that the context gives enough clues to the consumer on how the content should be understood, but not overwhelming them with information. This is where the importance of being concise, yet descriptive comes into play. Another approach is to use text over the image, like Barbara Kruger. She is known for using the text over her found photos to clarify or give a different meaning. Without that context, the photo would mean something entirely different to the consumer.
a-thousand-words

The saying goes that an image is worth a thousand words, but when someone looks at your content, are they getting the same thousand words you intended? The same also goes for the reverse. Are you getting the same thousand words the producer intended?