Epic Data Day

Part 1-

Because that’s all I have to do…

Scratch designers consider learning to be some kind of learning of technological literacy, specifically in the form of code. They seem to think that learning is best achieved through experimentation, trial and error. I am learning just how frustrating the next generation will be. I say this, as I do not have very much literacy when it comes to technology, but they will. If this is the kind of game that they are playing in their spare time, and the kind of thing that they are also learning in school, they will know much more than I do. I did not expect to learn anything, as I didn’t really understand what it was. I did end up learning that this is very frustrating, but also fairly easy once a basic understanding is achieved. The designers of Scratch value the understanding of coding and technology as learning, and understanding. Coding is especially valued in today’s society as most of everything that we do is online. We can see this in the new GE Commercial, when the newly hired programer is expected to be a different kind of thing. It is seen as funny because we understand that it is much more likely for a programer to be hired now than some industrial worker.

On Food Blogs (as Memoir)

So, as I have been scanning the internet for, well another class as well, but also looking for memoir, I noticed a kind of blog that I often frequent that also falls into the memoir category, in an interesting way: food blogs. images-9People, women especially, tend to like food. Really like food. So much so that we even make blogs all about food. But typically, these blogs still revolve around the author’s life. They tend to start with a story, how the person’s week went, or something interesting that happened in their life, or how they discovered the recipe. Then, the author transitions into a step by step through how to make the actual recipe, and finishes with some pun or quip and the recipe written out like a normal recipe. So, even though the entire blog revolves around food, it still has a lot to do with the author’s life.

Eat,_Pray,_Love_–_Elizabeth_Gilbert,_2007This is very similar to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Which revolves around Gilbert’s travels to find herself. The first portion of the memoir is all about her discovery of Italian food. There are even food blogs written about the  kinds of food that Gilbert discovers on her travels. While the majority of the book does truly have to do with Gilbert’s own internal life and her discovery of herself, it also does have a lot to do with food.

We also see this fascination with food through Julie and Julia, the blog, the book, and the movie.

julie-julia-book-covers-large

Both the blog and book (the original media forms) revolve around a person’s life, as she attempts to make all of the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook. The blog, and thus the following book, followed not only the attempts at cooking, but also the author’s life. The book itself was a success as a memoir, as was the blog as memoir.

images-8 Blogs, even food blogs, are modern forms of memoir. The food is just a cover up for what the blog is still really about: the author’s life. Almost every form of social media is really a kind of memoir. We are so fascinated with our own lives, and learning the lives of others that the modern culture uses every possible outlet to show off our own lives and publish them in order to come to terms with them. Memoir is only possible in and because of our current culture. No other culture would and does really care that much about other’s experiences. images-4

On an Imaginary World

Mom is having a bad day again. I finished my work in like, five hours today. So even though it’s only 11, I have the rest of the day to myself. Of course, I’ll have to go back for lunch at some point, but for now, I just have to get out of the house. I could go ride, but there’s not enough time right now… maybe after lunch… I think. So I just run up the hill to my castle. “Ah! My queen!” my imaginary headmaster meets me at the door of my (both) imaginary school (like Hogwarts (complete with houses (Gondor, Rohan, Rivendell, and Isengard) but for creating and training Knights and Lady’s for my kingdom), and my imaginary castle. “Headmaster, is Professor Legolas in?” I ask. “Always,” the headmaster replies, “Pent up in his office, no doubt. You’re gone far too much. I hear he is thinking of retiring from his position in the High Council of Middle Earth, as well as from his professorship here just so he can run your kingdom in your absence.” The headmaster fills me in as we pass students on the Great Stairs, pass through two secret doors, and stand in the hidden hallway that leads to Professor Legolas’ office. He pauses with a knowing look. As sad as I am that I have been away a lot from my imaginary kingdom, Mom is not well enough to really even run the house at this point, let alone take care of the animals and help me with schooling. I had to make a choice. Something had to give. “I’m sorry to hear that Headmaster, but you both know that I do as much as I possibly can for the kingdom.” “Of course my queen,” the Headmaster relents, and I sit in the hallway for a moment before entering Legolas’ chambers. Maybe I could try talking to Dad about Mom again… but no… that always just ends up with them fighting. I sigh, and re-enter my imaginary world.

A short piece about the thing/person who knows me best. In this case, my imaginary world. The only place I could really go as a child. It know everything that I was dealing with, and was the most understanding and insightful thing. There wasn’t really anyone else who I could turn to as a child, so instead I ran to my imagination.

Data Day 9

Level 1

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 2.02.18 PM

Level 2

I would want to find out why certain things are visualized as larger, and certain ones as smaller, and what the relation is to me and each of the tweets that are actually shown.

Question 1: Why are certain tweets visualized as larger or smaller for your particular shot?

Answers:

  • The number of “Likes” the tweets get. But then wonder why it was “liked”: funny, relevant, WHY?
  • Amanda: has to do with who tweets more, who gets more likes, retweets, more interaction
  • Most likes, notes, more attention
  • Sara: my interaction with those tweets or people
  • Mine: Random algorithm

Question 2: What is your relation to the tweets that are larger vs. the ones that are smaller?

Answers:

  • I keep popping up. @npfannen smaller, more frequent, larger with less frequency
  • Amanda: Bigger ones are images that get more attention.
  • some are about the actual class, thought there would be more of the silly ones
  • Sara: the ones I like or interact with more are larger
  • Mine: none, actually. I am strangely popping up a lot.

Reasoning:

I made these questions because this site REALLY confuses me! It seems like it should have rationale, but it doesn’t seem like it actually does. So, I was interested in seeing what other people’s ideas where.

Level 3

Because often we talk to the people at our table a lot more than we do other tables, so it doesn’t give us a complete picture of what the whole class believes.

There aren’t very many implications that matter. All of the information is just out there, so does it really matter if we are looking at it? I don’t think so. If it was more private information, maybe there would be more problems with it. But as public information, it doesn’t seem unethical to be looking at and researching what we are, and specifically this particular thing.

I don’t really mind people studying me, when I know that they are studying me, and know what it’s for. When I don’t know the researcher, I am much more hesitant about answering because I don’t know what they will really do with the answers.

On Anything

See… the thing is that I already have most (meaning all (meaning WAY too much)) data, and it’s all organized the way I need it to be to make the visualizations, and I’m too lazy to actually make the visualizations yet (you know, since we actually have specific classes set for that….). So there’s not too much more for me to do at this point. I mean… I could make an outline… could… but why do that yet? And I could draft some visualizations…. but… no. So basically, current status: same.

On Audience Cont.

I have already reflected on the phenomena of the memoir’s true audience being the author themselves. However, they do seem to also write their memoir, their story of their life for another audience as well. Who are the people who read memoir? Why are they so fascinated with it? It seems to be a movement in our current culture, as I have already explored in part with social media as memoir, but why?

Memoir as literature dates back to around 400 AD with the “Confessions” of St. Augustine. Moved to share his experiences with others, Augustine wrote the “Confessions” to document his life before conversion, his reasons for conversion, and how he came to convert. The first of its kind, “Confessions” to this day stands out as the first document to ever have been written in the first person, documenting what happened to him, what he did, AND how he felt about it all. This trend in literature continued on, and can be seen more recently in Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl.” Taken to a concentration camp in Nazi occupied Germany, Frank’s Diary was originally just that, a diary that she kept to note what was happening to her, and as my last post about Audience noted, deal with the atrocities happening around her and to her.

Since Frank’s “Diary,” the First World culture has seen a major trend  in literature that is written in a first person perspective, regarding the author’s life, or some part of it, that typically deals with some emotional or physical trauma in the author’s life. Why are we so fascinated with this kind of writing? Why read this?

The First World culture, particularly the American culture recently is very fascinated with other people’s stories. It seems to be an escape from the mundane life that we each live into someone else’s life who is, undoubtedly, more interesting and exciting than our own. The rise in communication, starting with the radio, telephone, TV, and now social media has enabled us to learn other people’s stories in the blink of an eye. We hear it on the news all of the time, we look at our phone’s and see it on Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, reddit. It has become an inevitable fact of our human existence in this world. Our lives have become mundane, and in an attempt to avoid our own lives, we look into other people’s. TV is no longer about Mr. Rogers and how to live the good life, it is MTV and reality TV, and Opera, and Divorce Court, and Dr. Phil. We want to see how messed up other people’s lives are in order to feel good about our own mundane existence.

Is this a good thing? Well, as a philosopher, I’m inclined to say that it is neither inherently good, nor bad, but rather, it depends on both how the author writes, and what kinds of things they enable and encourage people to do, and what the people actually do that matters. A person can say whatever they want (the glory of free speech) but the moral acts that they end up encouraging, and that the people end up acting on are the moral foundation for each particular thing.

Data Day 8

Level 1-

IMG_6765

IMG_6766

Level 2-

Making and drawing influenced my understanding of discursive practices by pointing out specific examples of how they work both theoretically and practically.

Level 3-

Rhetoric and discursive practices were represented through imagery of “inside” and “outside” as well as actual rhetorical definitions. Through the imagery, I was able to understand how to start thinking about being an insider or an outsider, and through bullet pointed definitions or examples, the idea became clearer. She also used generic colors and did not make anything overly complicated, making it easy to follow her though process and understanding.

Discursive practices of the class were represented through reasons and bullet pointed items that only those who are in the class could understand, and bullet pointed questions or reactions by those who are not in the class.

Her representation is very similar to mine in that we both use mostly words rather than pictures to show the kinds of things that the class identifies with, and outsiders do not understand. It is different in that I make jokes and poke fun at the ideas rather than taking them entirely seriously as she does. Mostly the differences were just in representation, not as much in interpretation or understanding of the ideas. We simply have different styles of representing the same thing.

On Data Collections and Methods

I ended up collecting the dates and tags on posts. I set up a spreadsheet with the tag names on the top, and the dates going down of all of the posts that were tagged with that tag. These tags included not only the ones in the menu, but also categories that the author included even though they were not actually on the menu page. As I collected my data, I discovered that there were some menu tags that did not have posts (at least since Jan 2015 (this is the date I decided on to go back to for my data collection)). These particular tags I will mention briefly, but since they do not seem to be incredibly important (at least important enough to blog about (which is what this research question is studying, so therefore they are not important enough for my purposes)) I will focus primarily on the tags that do have posts since Jan 2015, and especially focus on how many posts each tag has and how that shows what seems to be important for this community.

Since, for the purposes of my research question, it seems that the amount of posts in each tag or category corresponds to how popular that particular topic is to the community, I will use the visualizations to show the correlation between the popularity of each tag to the amount of times it has appeared (and its frequency). There are multiple ways to show the relationship between the frequency (shown by the dates), and each of the tags. Since I am looking for the popularity in correlation between each of the tags, I will probably do something along the lines of larger or smaller bubbles for each tag depending on how many posts they have, as well as perhaps month bubbles that contain the tags in either larger or smaller font depending on how many posts there are in that tag, I might also make a slightly more comedic visualization that would show the correlation between each post or tag and if it relates only to military wives or if it could also apply to civilian wives.

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 NAU.edu 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 nau.edu 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.