On Disclosure

Disclosures are an interesting and intricate part of social media life. The particular disclosure on the website I am researching (armywife101.com)images has particularly interesting facets. While the fact that the blogger receives compensation from advertisers, and that she pays others to help write for the blog is interesting, it is pretty common and thus, not what I will focus on. The disclosure on comments is also interesting as the focus is more on illegal comments (per one’s location) versus the usual defamatory content (one sentence vs. four (detailed) sentences) statements, but again, it makes sense and is thus less interesting. And, once more, with the picture disclosure, the most common of all of them, completely un-captivating. This leaves us with one last piece to investigate: the Army disclosure.

A staple of all Army wife blogs, this piece, typically in italics, bold, or some other eye drawing font is the interest of this post. In this case particularly, Army Wife 101 has to be more careful as the name has “Army” in it, and so, draws the attention of the US Army. So that everyone knows that what she says is not the direct opinion and/or stance of the Army, any of the Military Branches or the US Government, and that she is not paid (directly) by them, she clearly begins with this. She is also a proclaimed wife of a soldier which causes other problems; namely that he signed his own Terms of Use, if you will, with his contract with the Army, and thus cannot say certain things. To remedy this, Army Wife makes sure to include in the disclosure that, “her views and opinions are hers and hers alone and do not reflect the thoughts of anyone or anything related to the United States Military and Government.” Because her husband could be penalized, and even lose his contract, she must be very specific on whose voice it is on the blog to ensure that, say World War III does not break out due to something she says. She also includes, for her readers, that “all information provided here is done so just from my experience and research as a military wife.” This ensures that she has not gotten any secret information from somewhere, but that it is simply experience and general research. And finally, she concludes with the broadest disclosure, that “any information provided on the internet should be verified with the appropriate parties and used at your own discretion.” A wise disclosure, as many people today take everything as fact and do not bother to check anything. a3de3ac505c55414a132a6985b4fcafc

Overall, the most interesting thing about this particular disclosure is its peculiarity as non-military. Because of penalties that her husband could face, as well as the government, and thus the world, Army Wife must include some kind of disclosure that she is not, in fact, employed with, or reflecting the thoughts of the actual US Military or Government. While most blogs are not subject to this kind of restraint, all Military wife bloggers automatically are, simply because of the line of work that their husband does.

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On Lying

I grab a chair from the table. Double check both windows, Mom and Dad are both working, I think I’m safe. I climb up on the chair, reach into the Halloween candy bag on top of the freezer, and emerge with a lollipop of afternoon happiness. Bubble gum pop! Jackpot! Sucking happily away on my newfound treasure, I wander out to the barn to watch mom work with the horses. Her lesson just got done and they are brushing the horses down. Mom sees me, sees the candy. Uh oh. “Did Dad say that you could have that?” she asks. “Of course!” I smile, looking her straight in the eyes. “Ok,” she goes back to brushing Alina. That was close! Glad she bought it though… I wonder what Dad’s up to. I wonder and wander over to where I hear the welder working. It worked with mom… I bet he’ll buy it too! “Hey little one!” he smiles and lifts his welding hood. “Did Mom say that you could have that?” If I believe it, he’ll believe it! “Of course!” I look straight into his eyes, just like I did with Mom. Did it work? Does he believe me? “Ok, don’t look at the light,” he says as he puts his mask back on and starts to weld again. I go around the other side of our property. I hope I put that chair back… I should check that…

This is a small memoir about a time from my childhood that was impactful. It is so special for many reasons: I learned a lot of things, specifically moral things, most specifically why it is bad to lie, as well as the fact that it is always the story brought up by my parents whenever someone thinks that I could never lie, or comments on my acting ability. Overall, it was a random act that has effected me my whole life.

Data Day 3

Level One-

My fundamental worldview is that of a Catholic. If one actually understands the basic premises of Catholicism, one would understand exactly what that means. However, since most people do not actually know what Catholicism is and what we stand for, I will explain. I believe in freedom for all people. But not a freedom from, necessarily, but a freedom for the good. A perfect freedom that enables all humans to live equally as humans. A freedom that promotes the good of all people, and enables them to live out, as Aristotle would say, their “perfect reason.” I believe we were made to live in community with the family being the immediate basis of that community; the cornerstone that holds everything together. I believe that all people were created for a purpose: to know, love, and serve God, and that that is how one expresses their humanity fully. Through reasoning to the truth, one finds purpose in life and reason in death. All people are here for a reason, and all people have an end. I believe that there is a God that loves us and does everything that He does because he loves us. I believe in self defense, in defense of the innocent, that there is no perfect economy, and in helping the poor.

This is my worldview as both an academic an a humanities student. There is no gap in my views, and there is no separation between my world view and humanities world view.

This clearly impacts my site selection, as it is an American military spouse blog. As I am an American Military Spouse and have a similar world view, in many ways, to that of my subjects, I feel an attachment to those wives, even though I have never, and probably will never actually meet them. This could effect my research project because I will take into consideration the potential impact of my words on their lives. I also will look at them more vulnerably because I feel more like a member of their group than an outside researcher.

Level Two-

A study that would clearly violate key guiding principles would potentially be one on a site for women who have had abortions. The study would ensure that their full name was clearly published as a person who has had an abortion. The women would also have to give a concise description of everything leading up to the abortion, the abortion itself, and the effects they felt coming away from the abortion. The questions would be pointed and driven to make the women feel a particular emotion, and would be formatted to see how the women reacted to the questions.

Level Three-

410 Comic

Because clearly I am a middle aged, judgmental white man, and the rest of my colleagues are short black women.

Level Four-

1- Ethics in humanities guides how we conduct ourselves, our research, and our findings. Everything that we ought to do revolves around treating each person and subject as a person, rather than merely the object of our research.

2- Even on the internet, people still need to be treated as people.

3- It reminds me to be careful of what kind of bias ends up in the research findings and how I present the results. Especially because my results too will be on the internet and what I say about what other people have said has potentially infinite impact on both of our lives. It also reminded me of the potential for bias in creating research questions in the first place.

4- As stated above, it will help me to remember to keep in mind the impact on mine and other people’s lives, as well as potential bias in creating research questions, collecting, and presenting my data.

On Data

  1. Title of the blog
    1. Title itself
    2. font decisions
    3. color decisions
  2. Site setup
    1. Layout decisions
      1. What draws the eye
      2. Which articles are more important than others
      3. Text or pictures more important?
    2. What is/is not there
  3. Ads
    1. application to audience
    2. sponsored vs. non-sponsored
  4. Menu
    1. Categories
      1. Why these particular categories?
      2. Which ones have more posts?
      3. Which ones have more comments?
    2. Media
      1. Why is she so media friendly?
    3. Write for…
      1. Rhetoric of advertising jobs for wives on the blog
    4. Disclosure
      1. Rhetoric of writing as a military wife
    5. Life w/
      1. Data around posts just by the original author
      2. More comments than many of the other posts
      3. What kinds of blogs does she find important?
      4. What does she choose to write about?
    6. Care packages
      1. Rhetoric around supporting our troops
      2. Implications of being a Military wife
    7. Chow Hall
      1. Terms w/in army
      2. implications of being a wife
    8. Commissary
      1. terms w/ in army
      2. implications of being a wife
    9. Deployment
      1. terms w/in army
      2. implications of being a military spouse
    10. Ft. Bragg
      1. implications of being in the military blogging sphere
    11. Discounts and freebies
      1. implications of being military
    12. Life after
      1. implications of military blogging sphere
      2. implications of being military
    13. On post
      1. implications of being military
    14. Haunted posts
      1. implications of being military
    15. Tutorials
      1. Implications of being military
      2. implications of being military spouse
      3. implications of military blogging sphere
    16. Travel
      1. implications of being military
      2. implications of being military spouse
    17. Work from home
      1. implications of being military wife
    18. News
      1. Implications of military blogging sphere
    19. Discounts
      1. implications of being military
  5. Posts
    1. most popular kind of post (category)
    2. most commented on posts
    3. links, verbiage, pictures, etc. w/ in posts
    4. who are the most popular bloggers?
      1. what do they write about?
  6. Social media
    1. how the writer is perceived in the media’s eyes
    2. how does the writer reach out through social media

Data Day 2

Level 1

Visualizing social landscapes “is one way to give online gatherings and conversations the vividness and legibility of the streets and cafes of the physical city (p.15).” Because humans are visual people, visualization helps us to make sense of the data around us, especially when it comes to the internet. Of course, this also applies to non-net social landscapes as well. We often see this kind of visualization in the news and such; however, it takes on a new meaning when it comes to net based information.

There are two steps to visualization: “choosing and analyzing the data and rendering it in a visible form (p. 17).” The first part is very important when creating meaningful questions. The questions generate the kind of data  that one yields, and the data that one yields effects the results. As stated in the book, meaningful data is: “a well-chosen combination of statistics. . .[that] can yield insightful patterns (p.17).” This “meaningful data” must show not only accurately what is going on, but more importantly, things that actually help you to make sense of what is going on. If one merely collects data, simply to collect data, graphs it, and someone later looks at the map and cannot understand what the author thought about it, it is not meaningful data, and it is not represented well.

Representation of the data is another important step. Representing the data, to our author, means: “to find expressive forms that match meaning (p. 18).” This means that we must map it in such a way that it rhetorically speaks to the reader and helps them to understand what your original intent with the data was. If the audience looks at a map and cannot take any meaning away from it than the author has failed to create meaning by using visualizations, and creating meaning is the exact point of making visualizations in the first place.

Thus, visualizing social landscapes is how we take data from some social space, turn it into a meaningful compilation of data points, and then map it in such a way that the audience can interpret what it is that they see. Making meaning out of data points is what we do, and data visualization is how we do it.

Questions: Level 1&3

  1. Do you own your own car?
    1. no
    2. no
    3. no
    4. yes
    5. no
    6. yes
    7. no
    8. no
    9. no
    10. 7 no, 2 yes
  2. Do you need a car?
    1. yes
    2. no
    3. no
    4. yes
    5. no
    6. yes
    7. yes
    8. no
    9. yes
    10. 4 no, 5 yes
  3. Does (the idea of) owning your own car make you happier or not?
    1. yes
    2. no
    3. no
    4. no
    5. yes
    6. yes
    7. yes
    8. no
    9. yes
    10. 4 no, 5 yes

Level 2

My collected data is meaningful because it shows the correlation between happiness and owning ones own car. Many people own their own cars, but do not need them, and thus, either they own a car because it makes them happy, or they own a car because they previously needed it. Many other people own cars because they do need them. These people either also find happiness in owning their car, or they do not. It would be more beneficial to chart these subjects changes in state over time to see exactly what the correlation is. I would expect to find that people find themselves happier if they own their own car.

Level 3

See “Questions” above

Level 4- two programs and ways of representing data from one  question

When representing this data, there are many ways to visualize it. Because all of these questions are meant to be intertwined and connected, there is no way or reason to map them as separate. One way to visualize this data would be bubbles representing the percentage of people who replied yes or no to the questions. This way would show exactly how many people do or do not, have a car, need a car, and a car contributes to their happiness. Another way would be to make a kind of flow chart that shows how each answer relates to the others. This one, as the answer implies, shows the relations between the questions.

Level 5- Visualize data from all questions, write up

Happiness and cars

Reflection: This way of visualizing shows us the correlation between having a car, needing a car, and how happy a car makes one. While it is a rough estimate of the correlation, it does still give us generalized data based on what we received. One is able to visualize data in pretty much any way they choose. Of course, some ways tell us more information than others, and each way generates its own meaning, but any way is still a way of mapping data. Insofar as the mapping is accurate to the data collected, meaning can be generated from it.

This chosen way of mapping the data does not give any sense as to gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, geographical location, or why exactly the subject needs the car. These could be very interesting data points as well, if one were to attempt a survey of the purpose of cars, or something along that line. There are many other particulars that are glossed over when looking at this map. This means of mapping the data highlights a basic understanding of the correlation between having a car, needing a car, and the car making a person happy. It also makes it difficult to understand what exactly the subjects meant by “happy.” While the answers to that question where diverse, it focuses specifically on “happy” rather than something along the lines of “benefit one’s life” or any other phrasing. It also does not give room for diverse answers, but clumps them all under the one word of “happy”.

Level 6

I learned through all of this process, that how one phrases the question almost entirely determines the kinds of responses one receives. By making my questions into yes/no questions, I generated vague responses, and thus, could only graph my results vaguely. Had I opened the answers up to a more multiple choice, short essay, or scale varieties, my map would have been much more varied, and perhaps the findings more interesting. The organization that I have above represented in words, is definitely not the best way for this kind of thing; however, it functioned well to put down, as I received the information.

Originally, I mapped the data differently. Car? However, as I gained more data, I soon learned that this representation was actually incorrect with the sample data that I have. Thus, I ended up having to re-organize my data and create a different representation, the one shown in Level 5. This representation showed much more accurately the kind of meaning I was receiving in my data. Thus, I learned that not only do we make meaning out of the data, but the data itself creates its own meaning.

Because of how I designed the questions and collected my data, I discovered that only a small amount of things could actually be visualized. As stated in Level 5, there was no way for me to map any data outside of the small room of people surveyed (within the time constraints), and thus a lot of data on the same subject was potentially ignored and/or not seen.

Many things become focused when data is visualized. In this particular instance for me, the visualization disproved my hypothesis. I expected that many more people would have been happier owning a car rather than not, while 1 more person answered that it would, the results were less than I had expected. Many things are also obscured in the data visualization process. In this case, the exact reason why a person is happier/not happier with a car, and why exactly the person needs a car is non-existant in the map. Also, exact numbers are skewed, and the circles still are not the most accurate way of portraying how people actually feel.

On Choices and Justifications

I am choosing to research armywife101.com for my ENG410 project.

I chose this community because I, too, am an Army wife, so I do have an interest in the topics discussed in these kinds of blogs. The Army, and spouses of military have a very different lifestyle than that of the common American, so it will be rhetorically interesting to see what kinds of things mater to the military, and specifically Army wife community. This community also has a very different dynamic than many other groups, as we are joined by a common cause: supporting our men as best we can. We also tend to move a lot, and so have to balance being a wife, mother, moving, finances, supporting our husbands, and deployments, some of which are things that many American wives will never have to experience. We are joined by a sense of patriotism and camaradery that many other groups do not have, or it takes a while to foster. Because of these reasons, I chose to follow the military wife community.

I chose this particular site because it seems to be the #1 military wife blog. It is the first to pop up on the Google search page, the author of the blog is renowned in many military wife blogging circles, and she effectively covers all of the topics common to these kinds of blogs, and does so with expertise and openness.

It will be interesting to see the kinds of things I discover in this blog, and how the military wife blogging community works.

On Memoirs

The blog is the modern memoir.

While the memoir became popular about the time that technology also was taking off, the blog is an even more modern version of the memoir. Granted, not all blogs are in any form of a memoir, in fact, many have nothing to really do with a persons personal experience; however, this is not the norm. When people think blog, they wonder whose life, what aspect of their life, and if they relate to the person publishing it. Most people look for blogs that relate to something they know about: games, sewing, mommy blogging, coffee, food, etc. This is because when one reads a memoir, one desires a peak into someone else’s life, and they either look for something they can relate to, or something completely different in an effort to escape their current life. Blogs are just as diverse as memoirs, and sometimes even more interesting, as they give brief glimpses into the authors thoughts, actions, or desires. And with the internet expanding and becoming more accessible every day, blogs are easy to access almost anywhere in the world. Many use blogs as a form of networking as well, and can become emotionally tied, and even form friends with other bloggers because of interests or shared life experiences. Instead of the distant connection that one has to an author, bloggers form communities of similar interests and/or experiences. Blogs are very unique kinds of memoirs and have their own sets of rhetoric and community. As the semester continues, I will continue to uncover how blogs are the new kind of accessible memoir.

Data Day 1

Resource list: enrollment, overpopulation, incoming freshmen, breaking records, higher GPA, change, online enrollment, STEM program, graduate students, growth.

data map 1

Personal reflection/blog post for level 1: For our approach with making the resource list, we looked at the NAU news article we were given and as we read, picked out the important words and phrases. We took the main point of why the article was written and is being focused on by the school, and broke it down into ideas based on the perceived problems, solutions and issues that we were asked to focus on. Our goal was that if we just looked at the words or phrases that we picked, we would be able to understand the basis of what the article was about. For our approach with making the data map, we picked one that made several bubbles that are all overlapping. We put the words and phrases from the resource list into the bubbles, using our discretion for what words should be bigger over others. The map was a great visual of the important ideas and what the article focused on over other ideas.

Ethnicity map

Chapter 1 Outline

MIT Media Lab-

  • “Who” Lots of people on the computer at the same time
    • Could see who was on and how long they had been idle
      • Good to see who else was around, and if you could reach them
    • Didn’t give a comprehensive feel for the flow of activity
  • “Window/Visual Who”- placed each person in a meaningful location on the screen
    • Needed info from people, used email
      • Mailing lists to see relationships
      • Could see social patterns
      • Interactive

Communication

  • Primitive interfaces
  • Humans are sensory and social beings
  • Need interfaces that reflect how we see, and respond to the world around us

Design

  • Innovative
    • Explore the potential
    • Complement in-person
  • Legible
    • Make comprehensive
    • Create meaning
  • Socially beneficial
    • Solve problems
    • Shape culture

An interface should make possible seamless transitions between being peripherally aware and becoming actively engaged.

Differences in Representation

There are many differences in the representation of both data maps. The first relays the important words in the article and can help a reader to focus their attention when going through the article. The relevant information relayed in the first map is how important words are in that particular article.

The second map relays only specific information about the incoming class, in this case, the ethnicity. It encourages “a future in which the xenophobic barriers of racism… collapse as people make contact with diverse groups” (Ch 1). The article and the map imply that a mixed race class is preferable in order to increase harmony between races. The map shows this kind of harmony by placing all of the different races in the same country that the school is in, the USA.

College Enrollment increase map

Ch 1 map

Mapping a chapter on data visualization is a kind of beginners guide to data mapping. Because many of us are accustomed already to making an outline of a chapter, it is much easier to start there, then map the keywords, then move onto mapping other data. This exercise helped me to understand that one can analyze and create meaning out of anything. In this case, we picked keywords or themes to make data maps, but really, one could pick anything and create meaning by putting it in a chart and explaining it. This exercise helped me to understand that there are certain key elements, and/or background information to have in a data map for the viewer to be able to make sense of it. This exercise helped me to learn how to make a data map innovative, legible, and socially beneficial.

A group approach to this did help everything make more sense, as we were able to make meaning from seemingly meaningless things together. It also helped to put the chapter into practical use, thus helping us to learn it better.

A life changing moment

I’m going to change my major. Sitting on the side of a lake, half a country away from where I live, I decide. Philosophy, not music. I can’t do it anymore. I need freedom, I need something I enjoy, something that encourages me, and is closer to what I want to do with my life. Okay, I will change it. I talk to a couple people, my mom, my old roommate. They’re shocked, but supportive. I go to the room I share with my teammate, text my best friend, and change all of my classes. This is one of the biggest changes I could have possibly made to my life. And I’m not even near anyone I can talk to really. When I get back to school, I will have to find all new classrooms, make all new friends, acquaintances, and relationships with teachers. But when I do get back, all I feel is relief. No more 2 AM practice sessions with an 8AM class. No more hours of theory and ear training homework. A social life! Hey, who is he? Friends! Soccer! Naps! I can learn to cook! I have a boyfriend now, and not just a boyfriend, but someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. Now my relationship with my roommate is falling apart, but I really don’t care, she wasn’t good for me anyhow. We’re going to get married! Just six months to change my whole life! I’m moving, getting a job, getting published, looking at grad school for philosophy, making new friends, and changing the relationships I already have. All because music wasn’t worth it. Philosophy is awesome! I can’t believe I wasted a year of my life doing nothing but studying and practicing; reading is so much better. Now I’m married, still one of the best students in my year and department, have a scholarship, lots of resume builders, a fantastic job, and know what I want to do.

This was a small free-writing that we did in class. Mine was about one small decision that has already impacted my life in a huge way in just two years, and giving the hint that it might have huge implications for the future, not only of me and my husband, but also my future kids. It is written in the hope that people will understand that, yes choosing a major is a big deal, but it is possible to change it later, and there is no need to be scared: there is something bigger than you, and bigger than your decision.

On Technology

I am a student of NAU, and this blog will primarily be used for academic purposes, at least for the next semester. It was created for my rhetoric classes, so if you’re reading this and are not in my class, be prepared for lots of rhetoric speak. After this semester, I might keep the blog up with philosophy and theology ideas.

In other news, there are only a few things that I really don’t like; abortion, pointless homework, and technology. Me and technology really don’t get along well. From stupid computer problems, to thinking that it is potentially the downfall of our society, as it is rarely used well. That said, the worst part of the class this was made for, is the fact that I do have to maintain a Twitter, as well as analyze a blog. I’m in this class in order to learn how to properly use technology, and how to benefit from it, even as society doesn’t use it as I think it should be used.