An Update

So, I have collected all of the data that I am going to collect for my research site. I ended up only gathering the dates of posts for each category. This provided me with plenty of data to use, and also reflects even more accurately what kinds of things are important for Military Spouses. I did this by putting the tags in the top row of an Excel spreadsheet, and the dates in columns of the spreadsheet correlating to their specific tags. I also made note of some trends in the posts, or other various observations about the categories under which they fell.

As I went through the site, however, I soon discovered that there are some categories that are highly used, but not on the menu. Because they are so popular and often used, I decided to follow them and include them in my data. I’m happy that I did, because it provided me with 82 more points of data that are very important and I otherwise would not have had.

From here, I only really need to analyze and visualize my data. I plan on doing that in various ways to show the relation between different topics (through tags rather than through title) and their popularity (based on how many posts have been posted in that category since 1/1/15).

The biggest problem that I’ve had with the dual ideal of being a researcher as well as being a member of the community is that I really want to read through all of the posts. Because they all apply to me in some way, I really wish I didn’t have to look at particular things and was able to actually read through all of the posts. But, that would have me ending up with WAY too much data, and although that could be fun… I don’t think anyone wants to sort through it all. Otherwise, there has never been an issue for me in the posts themselves that causes that feeling of alienation.


Data Day 7

Level 1

NAU petition site

Level 2

As part of the actual site, my site is built into campus politics. Similar to WeThePeople, it goes directly to the campus Senate to be voted on and passed/declined. My site is about as user friendly as the actual NAU site, and has the same kind of homepage. This makes the students feel more at home, and like the petitions will actually reach the desk of the president as it is more official.

  • because the site is a plug-in, it would draw administrative attention necessarily, and force them to pay attention.
  • the students/staff/faculty would sign by first signing in with their NAU ID and password, and then proceeding to read more about the petition and sign with their NAU ID and password again. This ensures that there is no fraud happening in the signing process.
  • Students/staff/faculty would learn about petitions through the link on the homepage, and could learn more about each petition through the “Current Petitions” button. After signing a petition, petitioners can also share via social media that they signed and what/why they signed. This ensures that the maximum amount of people can hear about it.
  • Any student/staff/faculty can start a petition with their NAU ID and password
  • Each petition needs 10 signatures to be passed onto the Senate who will vote on it from there
  • I chose this approach because in a college setting, I believe that only an official petition would actually be heard by the policy makers. Successful petitioning is one in where the majority vote is acted upon.

Level Three

A faux case could be a petition for more parking on campus. The original petitioner (OP) would click the “Start a Petition” button. From there, they would be directed to an “About” page where they would explain the what and why of the petition and tag it with keywords. From there, the site would recommend any relevant previous petitions and offer a “continue with my petition” button (several pages down, to where they have to click through all of the suggested petitions before being able to continue (this ensures that they know all of the previous attempts and why they failed/succeeded)). After that, they will sign (yes, they sign their own petition), and be able to share the petition via any form of social media. Once 10 people have also signed the petition, the petition will reach the desk of the NAU Senate who will then vote on whether or not to proceed with the process. If they vote no, the OP will be informed that it did not pass, with a brief summary of why not. If they vote yes, the OP will be informed that it did pass, and the next steps for helping NAU achieve the OP’s goals. The NAU senate will then proceed to talk to the president and relevant people to make the petitioned action happen.

Level Four

I learned that designing a website gets easier with practice. Bright colors are not always the best thing, nor is bold font, but rather a balance that draws the viewers eye to what you want them to see. I learned that it could potentially be really easy to be a clictivist, but at the same time, depending on the user friendliness of the site, it could also be very difficult. If you are doing it in an attempt to be better informed and actually change the world for the good, even slight blocks in the road could be seen as learning tools; however, if you are doing it in an attempt to simply be a whistle-blower and don’t really want to follow through or accept the consequences of your actions, learning more through roadblocks is just a frustration. Online petitions all work differently, but could potentially be a good idea. In the case of WeThePeople, I think it is one of the best ways that the White House could hear the voice of the people. But, in the case of Change, I think that I would categorize “petitioning” under whistle-blowing. Everything matters in politics, and petition sites could be a big influence in politics of the future. Large petitions that have many votes should gain attention, but should also be weighed against costs and be tested to see how much of the population agrees with it.

On Implications and Ideologies

The implications of the method that I will be using to research Army Wife 101 are vast, but there are two particular ones that I will be focusing on: there are particular topics that milspouses are interested in, and the titles give the keywords to finding those topics. From these two assumptions, many other implications and complications happen, however we will only be focusing on those two for now. First, there are things that milwives are interested in. This comes from an understanding of the community as a whole: there are certain things that only us poor milwives have to go through and deal with, and sometimes we need advice. These are the particular topics that find themselves in the menu, and mentioned through keywords in the titles of posts. This leads us to the second assumption: the titles of the posts have keywords to help the reader understand what the post will be about. While not all people would be able to initially read every title on her blog and understand what major topic it falls under, after some research, almost everyone could start to connect the dots. This assumption is what leads me to only look at the titles of the posts for my data collection.

The implications and assumptions of my research method shine a light on how to understand this community. As I said before, there are particular topics that are discussed in this blog. While they do seem to be specialized to a particular audience, they also seem very limited, even for that audience. I discovered this as I began researching this community and discovered a variety of other topics that could be of interest to the community that are never discussed. This does help my research though, in that it narrows the topics that I have to look at. Another thing that my research unveiled is that there are very few comments on the posts, thus implying that it is more about learning from the author than it is creating a community and discussing problems. This is why I narrowed my research to only titles-topics relation, there were not enough comments to be able to look at.

I, also have a particular mindset coming into researching this blog. The main two things that give me selection bias are: I am also a milwife, and I also have a traditional understanding of marriage, family, and wifehood. These are the main assumptions that the author makes about her audience, and I fit perfectly into that category. This being said, any post that does not have to do with helping the reader to better understand or help the reader be better at any of these particular things, will not necessarily appeal to me.

Everyone on this community comes to this community to learn how to do what they do (being a milspouse) better. The author decides what “better” means, based on very traditional understandings of many things (because frankly, that’s pretty much the only way it works with a spouse in the military). And, clearly, (based on above sidenote) I typically approach many of the topics the same way.

Cover Letter

This blog has been very interesting to write so far. The only thing in common between all of the posts: memoir. Some are free-writing-recollections from my childhood that could be turned into a memoir, others are rhetorical analyses of some aspect of memoir, still others are analyses of different kinds of memoir and forms of social media as memoir. All of these make up my thoughts about memoir throughout this class, as well as outside of it. Each post must be taken independent of the others, as each one is its own thing. Some of the posts give rise to the thoughts that drove me to write another of the posts, but rarely in any particular order.

So far, the strength of this project is the fact that I look at many aspects of memoir. Without knowing too much about memoir, a reader could be entertained by the diversity and kind of thinking about memoir found in this blog. It is also interesting because I am able to look at social media as memoir in a special way, as I use social media to analyze memoir. Although I do not, as of yet, have any links to any outside media, the potential is there (along with the plan to use this later). This gives me the opportunity to look at other social media in my own way on this blog. The idea of the blog gives me many opportunities that I would not have had if I had done just a traditional paper. Because each blog post is independent, I am able to look at many different topics without it seeming too jarring or ADD.

The weaknesses of this blog so far is that I rarely preface any of the posts. I discovered that this was a weakness fairly early on, and did fix some of the issues; however, the issue still arises: how does the reader confront the many diverse topics presented in this one blog? Most people just get really confused when they see the blog because it has so many topics and I give very little frame work for how to understand my work. It is a difficult thing to remedy, however, because giving too much frame work would detract from the kind of stream-of-consciousness that comes about when reading the blog.

This blog was important for me to write because I hate social media. In writing this though, I discovered that I only disliked social media because I did not understand it. As I researched and wrote, I came to understand social media better, and thus do not hate it as much. It also gave me the opportunity to look at many diverse topics without making a paper seem very ADD. The form of the blog is the perfect platform to have shorter posts on many things, which is exactly what I was hoping to do. This blog has given me the platform to summarize my thoughts on a variety of subjects and ideas, and think on paper, while still being able to dabble in memoir.

Installment 2 will look fairly similar to Installment 1. I am already planning several posts for the future. In it, I hope to continue to look at other forms of social media as memoir, other rhetorical features of memoir, write a couple more memoir shorts of my own, analyze further the rhetoric of blogs as memoir, and finish it with an analysis of the current culture’s obsession with chronicling one’s life.

Data Day 6

Level 1

Question: What is your favorite cartoon?

Level 2

  • Sarah- The Lion King
  • Kim- Spongebob
  • Vicky- Xin pu Sen
  • Damian- Pokemon
  • Tarran- Jo-Jo’s bazaar adventure
  • Amanda- Steven Universe
  • Josie- Tom and Jerry
  • Kayce- Powerpuff Girls
  • Brittany- Pokemon
  • Kirk- yu-gi-oh
  • christine- avatar- last airbender
  • chelsea- calvin and hobbes
  • nate- steven universe
  • kayla- meet the robinsons
  • nathanial- adventure time
  • nicole- Dispicable me

Level 3

Level 4

  1.  I chose to put each kind of cartoon into separate bubbles, so we have three: Disney, Cartoon Network, and Foreign Cartoons. Each bubble had a different color, and each line and personal bubble correspond to the color of the particular kind of cartoon. The lines are also thinner or thicker depending on how well I know/how often I talk to that person. The personal bubbles are also related magnetically closer or further away from me based on the same thing.
  2. The lines are the same color as the kind of cartoon that each person likes, they are also thinner or thicker based on how close my relationship is with each person (relatively).
  3. One can infer that I have very little connection to foreign cartoons, and most of the people who like them. One could also infer that I like Disney much more, and Cartoon Network somewhere in the middle. My relationships with the people who like those kinds of cartoons are also reflective of my liking or disliking of the cartoon.
  4. My map reveals that we have very limited interests. Since all of the cartoon preferences can come down to three main genre’s.
  5. I don’t know very much about other people’s connections other than simply my connection with them. This is evident in the fact that I did not put any lines between other people. Even my connections with the people are limited mostly to this class, so I am not able to make very good judgement calls on how far away or close to put their personal bubble to mine.

Memento Mori

Memento mori: remember death. At some point, we all die. It is the inescapable truth of human existence. But what do we do about it? Most people do everything they can to avoid it. And when someone does head down that path we call it a tragedy. It is some horrible thing that the person has to go through, or worse, has gone through. But is it really? Are we scared of it? Why are we scared of it? For something that everyone goes through, it is considered horrible morbid: coming from the word mori, but taken now as a grotesque thing. Why? Isn’t it just normal? So what if we have no idea what happens afterword? Isn’t it better to approach it like Socrates did: like a friend? So much less fear, anxiety, and stress for something that is bound to happen sometime or another.

And when it happens to someone else, who are we to worry? We have no control where they go. We can only memento mori: remember death.  Our own death, not theirs. We can only memento vitae, remember life. Remember their life. Let their life inspire us, either with what to do, or what not to do. But there is no use worrying about what will happen to them: what will happen, will happen and our fear and worry for them has no use.

So memento mori: remember your death, my dear ones. Remember that you will die. Everyone will die. Remember that you are mortal, and there is not a thing you can do about it.

This is a small recollection on death following the shooting on NAU campus. My small thought comes from looking at everyone around me and seeing their reaction to the shooting and reflecting on it.

On Contextualization

Contextualization is a wonderful rhetorical tool, but it can be overused, and/or used improperly. When used properly, the audience responds by understanding the text better and relating to the author in a more poetic and physical sense. When I say that “the room got louder, like a library just after a class gets out,” many people can relate to the increase of population in a school library after the release of a class; however, the opposite is as well true. If one has never attended a school, or never been in a library, this experience is totally foreign to them, and they cannot connect with the image that I am trying to portray. The same is true for contextualization as a whole. One must alter the contextualization not only for what the author knows, but also for the rhetorical audience that the author is trying to reach.

If I were to write the sentence about the library in a journal to online gamers, the imagery might be lost. But, if I were writing it in a journal for college librarians, it is entirely appropriate as it is a daily experience that they can relate to. It is all about who one’s audience is and what they can relate to. Contextualization is not something that a person can just arbitrarily throw into a text thinking, “oh, someone will get it,” but rather, it is something that must be tailored to each audience according to their needs.

This comes from my reflection on Nic Sheff’s book TWEAK. It is a summary of the thesis and argument that I made about his book, but also extends further to all memoir, and all writing in general.

On My Research Method

The research question that will by guiding my data collection and analysis is: What topics are Army Wife 101 interested in?

From this question, I will be gathering data from the blog post titles, looking through posts in each category for more information regarding each topic, and the general content on the blog posts as well as the time/date stamp on each post.

I will be collecting this data by looking through posts from the last 6 months. I will collect and visualize the frequency of posts in each “Menu Category.” Collect and visualize if there is a seasonal peak in posts (of a certain kind, or in general). Collect and visualize if there are trends of posts surrounding particular “news” events (larger events such as elections, deployments of different units, etc.). All of this data, I will collect by looking through the posts, then mapping keywords/topics onto an Excel spreadsheet.

Data Day 5 Part 2

Level 4 (and Bonus)-

1- WordFrequency

2- Vampire Venn Diagram

3- IndianNovel

Level 5-

Choices on Visualization 1-

  • Choosing a word frequency visualization influences the viewers to simply know facts about certain words used in the article. On the other hand, it also helps the viewers to make meaning by helping them to focus on key words that showed what the article was about.
  • The choices made in this visualization determine an audience that knows what the article is about. Without prior knowledge of the article itself, the audience would not be able to make meaning out of the data represented.
  • The choice of specific words and making the bubble around them smaller or larger reflects  the number of times they were used in the article. It helps the reader to understand what is important in the article and focus on it in their reading.
  • This visualization helps the viewer to see how many times particular words were used in a kind of word bubble technique, without actually being a word bubble technique. It gives a picture to show the key words in the article to help guide their reading.
  • The persuasive effect of this visual is the opposite of what the writers of the article were trying to get at. While they attempted to show how outraged parents are by telling about how they are protesting, their more frequent use of other key words helps the reader to sympathize more with the children (used 4 times) than the parents (used 2 times).
  • The underlying assumptions that influenced my interpretation was that the more frequently used words would be the more important factors in the article. This “interfered” with interpreting the data the way that perhaps the writer would have wanted.
  • Different design choices would have helped humanists uncover what exactly the writer was getting at when they were writing this particular article.

Choices on Visualization 2-

  • The choices I made with the Venn diagram influences the viewers to know my personal opinion. The color choices also are a rhetorical choice, showing a common color related to those particular words (for me).
  • My choices determine a particular audience who agree’s with me. Those who do not agree with me would speak out against my particular choice.
  • My choices reflect the culture shortly after “Twilight” was released and the culture “got over” it. The particular word choice reflects this culture of anti-vampire-teen-novels.
  • My visualizations draw attention to the reaction of the culture during the fall of vampire fiction. It shows rhetorically how simplified the thinking is around the culture of these novels.
  • The persuasive effect of this visualization is that it connects colors with words in a form that many people understand (venn diagram). This again, shows the simplified version of reality that exists in this culture. It is intended to divert people away from the culture that exists in vampire-teen novels, and encourage them to be more interesting.
  • The underlying assumptions that influenced my interpretation were the assumptions that everyone would know a Venn diagram and how to read it, as well as the assumption that everyone was familiar, even at a base level, with the cultural phenomena surrounding the release and decline of “Twilight” and other vampire novels.
  • Humanists have the ability to look at people and understand what they are thinking. Because of this, every design choice has many possible interpretations, and each one, for the most part, is equally correct.

Choices on Visualization 3-

  • The choices we made on this visualization would help the viewer understand a few facts about the author as well as a little bit about the book. It is very plain, so it could imply either a dry article, or a dry book.
  • The choices determine an audience that does not know anything about the author or the work. By focusing solely on the author’s works and the basic plot line, we imply that the reader has not ever heard of either the author or the book.
  • For this topic, the choices seemed natural. Because the article had one paragraph about the author and the other about the book, it seemed natural to focus primarily on base facts.
  • This visualization helps the viewer to know what to expect if they read the novel it was based on. It implies a dry read because it is simply black and red (the easiest colors to click on).
  • The persuasive effect of this visualization is that the reader feels compelled to read the novel. Because it shows how important and good a writer the author is, it encourages the reader to think that this novel will be good.
  • The underlying assumption that influenced my interpretation was that the viewers would not know about the author of the book. This resulted in a mere fact sheet.
  • Different design choices help humanists to be able to understand fully the data before them. This particular one should suggest that we knew nothing more about the author or novel other than what was given in the article.

Data Day 5 Levels 1-2

Three news articles:

1) In Middle Earth, much is going on. The Hobbits have returned to the Shire where they plan to lead a normal life with no more adventures. Of course, their new political ideas are fueling a new form of politics in the Shire. We will see in the upcoming elections what happens with that. Aragorn and Arawen are getting married in two weeks under the white tree of Gondor.

Legolas has given us the inside scoop on the upcoming celebration: “We have prepared the whole of the upper tower of Minas Tirith for a feast. Everyone who is anyone has been invited, including my father.” Sounds like some family drama might happen there! But the best man (elf) is ready to take on his responsibilities. Let’s hope that the groom is too!

2) Doctors Without Borders has been in the news lately, and not for all the good that they have done across the world. Of the hundreds of sites they hold across countless countries, they have one site in Afghanistan that was recently affected. This past week, a nonprofit hospital was hit by an airstrike, which has been confusing lots of people. Twenty-two people were killed from the attack, currently being deemed a “mistake within the U.S. chain of command.”

Doctors Without Borders has been calling the strike a “war crime,” and is requesting that there be an independent investigation into exactly what went down, and why on earth a hospital would be caught in the middle of everything. Yesterday, President Obama called the head of Doctors Without Borders and apologized.

3) This past Tuesday, the Supreme Court started its new term. Everyone is standing on their toes, waiting in anticipation for what decision the Supremes will bring to the table and make final choices about. Issues that are expected to be covered include: affirmative action and whether it is okay for colleges to consider race in the admissions process; union dues and whether public employees should be required to pay them; and abortion and whether states can place strict requirements on clinics performing them.

One thing the Supremes will not be giving their time to is insider trading. It was announced that they will not be reviewing a decision from a lower court that made it harder to prosecute Gordon Gekkos.