Group 2 Dank Squad

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My role in our project was to help brainstorm ideas, take pictures for our video, and write the Policies and Procedures portion of the group paper.  When we met up every week on Tuesdays, our whole group would contribute and brainstorm a great deal together and we would spend 3 successful hours together every week.  In the collaboration Google Doc that we were responsible for, we all contributed very evenly and would divide and conquer while we were sitting in the Student Center together.  We were able to help each other whenever we got stuck on something and we were able to work great together as a team.  Jane really went above and beyond every week and was able to keep our group on task and focused, especially if Andy and I got distracted and joked around together.  Stefani was a great teammate and was always willing to jump in and complete any task that needed completion.  She was also able to come with Andy and I on the walk to get pictures of Buccleuch Park and they proved to be very valuable to our final video.  Lastly is Andy who is now one of my boys even though we just met the first day this group was assigned.  He was able to edit the entire video and take the pictures that I’m sure we overloaded him with and make it into a “dank video” that I think we did a great job on.  None of missed any meetings and it was actually really fun getting to know my group.  We all Snapchat each other and like each other’s Instagram pictures so I am definitely thankful that these three are the three I was partnered up with.  Overall, I think we did a great job on our video and I think it could raise a lot of awareness about Open Space.  I would absolutely, 10/10 work with this dank squad again!

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Group 2 Creative Direction

After meeting with my group for the first time in the Rutgers Student Center, we have come up with a few ideas regarding what our project could entail.  We had many ideas which were all pretty good but the three we narrowed it down to that we thought were the best were: creating a documentary type video, making a live Snapchat story in an open space location, and making a Twitter or hashtag page in regards to open space.  The idea we actually decided on pursuing today was to make a documentary type video about open space that would educate people on what open space is, why it is important, where to find it, and explain different ways to utilize it.  We had a few ideas which ranged from interviewing random people on the street or in a park taking advantage of open space to creating a slideshow and recording that as we clicked through it as our video.  What we actually decided on (again, this all happened the first day we met with our group in the Student Center, outside of class) was to create a video that is reminiscent of a “Tasty” or “Buzzfeed” video where we play fun music and have words and pictures pop up on the screen.  Rather than hearing our group members state facts and interview people, we thought that since these videos are so popular today, that we would be able to keep it short and simple, yet still captivate our target audience.  This brings me to why a “Tasty” video would retain the attention of our target audience; we want to reach out to college students and they love these videos.  By reaching out to college students, we think that we are approaching an active, outspoken group which would in turn, impact the immediate community around Rutgers.  If we are able to inspire students to get involved and learn about open space then we think that, in turn, we will be able to spark a passion in local citizens and legislation because they will realize the passion of the college students around them.

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Gathering Materials

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This week we met up in Alex Library to search for photos, videos, and potential music to use for our video about open space.  Of our 15 links, I think that we will be able to utilize a majority of them because they are all from New Jersey and they are all relevant to the open space topic we are exploring.  The ones that I think will be the most effective are: https://soundcloud.com/twisterium/cheerful-tune-royalty-free-music-background-music-happy-music the picture of Watchung reservation, the picture of the Mercer arboretum, and the video about the importance of open space.  The pictures will be effective because we will be able to incorporate them into our video itself, the soundcloud link is the song that we will be utilizing for the  background of our video, and the video about open space will give us information and a basis of something to go off of.  We had an overall successful meeting and I look forward to finishing up our final video and pitching it.

Memes

The three memes I chose are posted in a separate post titled, “Meme Pictures.”  They are: a picture of Buddy the elf saying, “When professor asks how I slept before finals: Great, I got a full 40 minutes,” a picture of a monkey smiling that says, “When people sing Happy Birthday to you and you just sit there like…” and a picture of a kid with a mullet that says, “That’s a good question: Let me MULLET OVER.”  I chose these memes because I found them funny and I think that I found them funny because they were relatable (except for the kid with the mullet).  As a college student, I have definitely been there, cramming for an exam and staying up all night.  In the case of the Buddy the elf meme, they take a quote from the movie “Elf” and plug it in as a response to the teacher asking the student how they slept the night before the final.  I think that the Happy Birthday monkey is relatable as well because we have all been there.  You aren’t going to sing to yourself so you just sit there smiling until your family and friends are done singing to you.  I chose the kid with the mullet because I thought that the pun was funny.  Rather than saying he was going to “mull it over,” the kid said “mullet over” because of his crazy mullet hairstyle.

What I think goes into creating a successful meme is either making people laugh, making something relevant and relatable to the audience, or being informative.  In most cases memes are sarcastic in nature so they need to make people laugh or relate to something they can be empathetic towards in order to be successful.  Memes relate to Ang’s paradigms of “media in everyday life” because memes are everywhere and they relate to everything nowadays.  Whenever you sign onto social media you can see memes and they are often relevant to a particular topic that is popular in the media at the time.  This ties in perfectly to the “media in everyday life” paradigm because it states that media cannot be seen as one dimensional or have a universal meaning or significance to all those who partake.  Memes are subjective and open to interpretation and media is also open to subjectivity and people can create it into a meme saying whatever they want about it.

Ultimately, I think that memes are there to inform us about what is going on in society while still portraying the illustrators opinion’s and view’s about a certain subject.  They often reflect what is going on in society but they have a specific undertone which conveys the creator of the meme’s thoughts and feelings towards a subject.

Trolls and Hackers

In most cases hackers and trolls are seen as a negative to the world of the internet.  When I think of hackers I think of someone who logs into someone else’s account for personal gain such as stealing credit card information or to spam and attack someone on the internet.  When I think of trolls I think of someone that attacks you and the content that you are producing and makes fun of you, just to annoy you.  I have never really thought that there could be positives to this, until I read the article in “The Social Media Reader.”  According to “The Social Media Reader:” “…hacking hangs together around a loose but interconnected set of issues, values, experiences, and artifacts.  For instance, hackers tend to uphold a value for freedom, privacy, and access.”  This quotation shows that me hackers and trolls actually have a common set set of beliefs and values and want the public to know information that has been restricted.  This quote made me think of Wikileaks as an example.  Although some people see the organization as harmful and negative, they place a high value on ease of access and information for the public.  They hack into important people’s servers and expose content such as emails and documents that they believe should be accessible by the public.  This is an example of how hacking is not harmful to the greater public because it actually benefits the public by providing information that was otherwise classified and secret.

Regarding social media, I really don’t see many positive aspects of hacking and trolling.  In regards to this recent presidential election, there were many trolls on Facebook that would fight and argue with people about ridiculous policies and crazy radical views, even though they didn’t personally believe in them.  The benefit that comes out of this is that it’s entertaining for the public to watch unfold, but it is harmful to the person on the receiving end of the trolling.  One positive that I can see for hacking on social media is if it is done by law enforcement if someone is the victim of a crime or if someone has committed a crime.  By hacking into their social media profiles they gain access to messages and potentially plans to commit a crime.

Authenticity

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Authenticity in DIY publishing means producing content that is your own, original work or more simply, to be authentic and original with the you content you produce.  Whether you are creating a piece of audio media, video media, or print media, authenticity means that you are making a claim or creating content about an idea that is your own.  For example, when you are making a video to put on your own personal website, you aren’t going to take someone else’s video and pass it off as your own.  You are also not going to copy someone else’s video and just change some characters around or change some minor details.  You are going to think up your own idea and let your vision come to fruition through trial and error and seeing what works for your idea and what doesn’t.  If you do decide to use other people’s works to support your claims or back up the content that you created, it is acceptable as long as you cite your sources and explain things in your own words.

Authenticity is very important when it comes to producing DIY media because it provides you more credibility as a publisher.  It takes a lot of hard work and it really shows something about your dedication and your drive as a publisher to come up with your own creative content, rather than stealing it from someone else or not coming up with it yourself.  In the reading “The Minutemen,” by Azzerad, it explains, “Loosely based on the riff from the Velvet Underground’s ‘Here She Comes Now,”History Lesson (Part II)’ is both sweetly nostalgic and delivered with the understated fervency of a pledge of allegiance: ‘Me and Mike Watt played for years but punk rock changed our lives.”  This quotation shows that although The Minutemen were influenced by the punk rock scene and Velvet Underground, they were authentic in their work because they made it their own and were just inspired.  That’s why it doesn’t say that they copied or imitated the sounds from before them, it shows that an inspiration can lead to an authentic piece of media, without copying someone else’s ideas and hard work.

Creating My Header

I just finished creating my header for my website and I have to admit, I definitely struggled with this much more than I did with building my website last week.  First off, I have had my laptop for 9 years now and it either has no room left on it or just wasn’t compatible, so I couldn’t download GIMP.  I went to the computer lab at Alexander Library but again, couldn’t download GIMP because I was not an administrator and the computer wouldn’t let me download any software.  My solution was to call up my friend who took this class last semester and she said that they used “Pixlr” instead of GIMP because it is free and online, rather than having to download the application.  When I downloaded Pixlr, I had no problem right in the beginning with setting up the size of my header and setting up my background image as its own layer.  However, after adding my second image into my creation as its own layer, I couldn’t figure out how to crop the image without also cropping my background image.  Although they were set up as separate layers, it didn’t matter and I was cropping both of my images at the same time.  After figuring out how to size down my images and not mess with my background image, I struggled to make my header look smooth and sleek.  If you look at it, even after adjusting the brightness down of the surfer and darkening the image with the fisherman in the boat, you can see the square outline of the image that I had on top of my background of the woman relaxing in the ocean.  The ocean looks fairly consistent in the background into the fisherman, but it is still clear that I couldn’t figure out how to blend the images together, if that is even possible.  I do think that if I get better at this then I would be able to apply my image editing skills into pretty much anything in the future because people always need websites and being able to manipulate multiple images into one smooth, sleek, continuous picture for them would definitely be well received.  I think at the moment, however, I do not have a future in the image editing business.

Zines in Digital Media

After reading about zines in Stephen Duncombe’s article titled, “Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture,” it became clear to me that zines are without a doubt very closely related to the emergence of digital media today.  Zines were started in the punk rock culture and were just pamphlets full of crazy stories, artwork, and a general expression of the author’s rejection of conformity and mainstream society.  They were cheaply made and handed out for free, traded, or sold for the cost of printing, just to publicize and spread the information that the authors wanted to spread.  Duncombe says zines were for, “rejecting the corporate dream of an atomized population broken down into discrete and instrumental target markets, zine writers form networks and forge communities around diverse identities and interests” (Zines 2).  I think that this quote really relates to the emergence of so many digital media technologies that we have today such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Blogs and social media are a place for people to express themselves and represent themselves however they want to.  Blogs emerged for the same sort of reason, for people to be able to expose and publicize their ideas and thoughts in their own space, away from mainstream control and filtering.  I think that this idea of expressing your opinions and views has evolved into social media such as Twitter and Facebook because people can put up their own words, pictures, and videos to show what they are thinking and how they feel.  This is what zines were for prior to the emergence of the digital technology that we have today.  Zines have definitely paved the way for what we have with social media and blogs today and they were one of the first things that people had for freedom of expression and passion without being censored or judged.

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