Monthly Archives: January 2013

Uses of Blogs turned inside out.

Today I spent a little time reading the fine print of our class book, Uses of Blogs by Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs. As I started reading through the table of contents I noticed that each section wasn’t done by Bruns and Jacobs, but by a collection of individuals. I probably should have noticed this before. Ah well. We were advised to do a little digging on our authors, to see where they come from and if their input is worth taking to heart. I would read the back of my book where there are condensed biographies of the two but there is currently a giant “Used Books” sticker placed right over their job descriptions.

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Axel Bruns

An associate professor at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, Bruns came up with the term “produsage” to describe the user-led collection of internet creation happening today. He has written and co-edited several books about User-Information relationships as well as a co-founder of the academic publisher called M/C.

Joanne Jacobs

Jacobs was also an associate professor at Queensland University of Technology. She lectured about e-commerce and was the go-to woman for issues dealing with technology assessment. She was also an expert in telecommunications and media studies. Feel free to follow her on Twitter here. To be honest, although she may be a COO, she seems like a pretty regular person.

One other contributor, Jane B. Singer, has also sparked my interest. She mentions links several times throughout her chapter.

News bloggers ar transparent not only in their motive but also in their process, extensively using links to documents, sources, new articles, and other sorts of evidence to buttress their points and establish their authority. (Uses of Blogs, 28)

I sent her an e-mail asking a few questions to clear thing up for me. I want to know how links establish legitimacy and how they’ve become essential to the success of blogs and internet resources everywhere. Why can’t people simply believe anymore in the validity of information?

 

 

 

 

 

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Links: it’s about who you know.

I’m starting a project analyzing the usage of links and how they power blogs. To begin, I e-mailed one of my favorite websites, The Oatmeal. Why? I remember reading how he has the tendency to single-handedly crash entire website by simply linking to them in his posts. To be able to do that with one post is ridiculous.

That is what initially peaked my interest. Then I delved further into the topic. There are sites all over the internet dedicated to getting your blog linked to. There are several ways you can work to get your blog found.

  1. You can link to yourself through comments however, that is considered spamming and will eventually be removed. Also, links placed in comments are generally less efficient. (Unless you do something along the lines of pingbacks)
  2. You can buy your way in.
  3. If you have connections, work them.  Have your friends plug your blog into their posts. The extra exposure as well as references will convince more viewers to actually click on your link.

This is just a precursor. I still have a lot more researching to do.

Here are a couple of places to check out if you’re also interested in raising your blog’s internet status.

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**The key is not to go link-crazy, otherwise your blog turns into an SEO blog which is a WordPress no-no.

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Blogs: rendering real life interactions obsolete since the 1990s.

I was told to read the first five chapters of Uses of Blogs by Alex Bruns and Joanne Jacobs. I’ve made it two pages in and I’ve officially come to the realization that every blog post I’ve ever made was worthless. I am a purely neutral human being when it comes to most things. Politics? I could care less. Religion? Nobody’s going to change their mind anyway. War? It happens. It has always happened. It will happen again. Unless you really love the sound (or in this case would it be the syntax?) of your own voice (which is the case in 90% of any of these situations) there is really no point in discussing these topics.

The irony of this post is suffocating.

This is where the book comes in.

Much debate of blogging appears to focus on the so-called “A-list” of established, well-known, and often controversial bloggers while bypassing the vast range of other participants whose engagement only makes the blogosphere possible.

The way I see it, unless you’re a a member of the elite your only purpose as an “average joe” user is not to post on your own blog but to comment and fuel the success of others more well-known. You’re a peon mining the gold while the king gets to wear it. It’s like a sad middle school hierarchy: suck up to the “popular” kids if you want any recognition. If you were anything like me in middle school and didn’t give a single damn about the “popular” kids you might have a little trouble in the commenting world.

You tell ’em Harry.

I love to hear other people’s opinions, don’t get me wrong, but teach don’t preach. I don’t want to debate, I want to learn. Call me apathetic but the amount I care decreases dramatically when you look me in the eye and accuse me of being wrong in a situation where there isn’t a yes or no answer. I have no time for trolls, thank you very much.

I better stop now before I start acting like my mother.

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A week in review.

This is my go-to gif in any situation.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?
I’m a pretty honest person so I’m not going to sugar coat the fact that I could have put a lot more effort into the past couple of weeks’ assignments. I can guarantee you this will not happen again. Pinky swear.
You know, the whole not-being-productive thing might stem from the fact that I just spent the past fifteen minutes looking for the perfect pinky swear .gif to follow my pinky swear comment. Instead I’ll just go with this one of Ash Ketchum being super determined.

Back to the topic: A couple things that gave me a spot of trouble would be the daily posting just because it’s something I have to get used to and the commenting on the posts of others. It helped though when I developed that RSS feed and I subscribed to their blogs. I could then just see any updates from my homepage instead of having to find them individually. That RSS feed is such a time saver!

I really liked seeing what everyone had to say and learn a little more about them. I’m a people watcher to begin with so it all worked out. Seriously, though, I can’t sleep in airports because there is too much human activity. I’m bizarre. I accept that.

I also threw in a Creative Commons copyright on the bottom of my page. It was super simple to create but it definitely took some canoodling to place it actually on ym page but in the end I succeeded. Did you know you could place code into the widget called text? Yeah, I didn’t but now I’m practically an expert.
To solve my daily posting problem I now have a designated posting time for each day. In order to get much of anything done these days I have to formulate a regime. Fingers crossed that it works.
As for the first week’s assignments, I didn’t have to do too much mainly because I had already created a WordPress and Gravatar account about four years ago I had completely forgotten about. High-five to past-Devan. Thanks to my Tumblr  I already had some experience in the blogging world: I understood hyperlinking, embedding images/videos and tagging.

I photoshop, too!

I still have a lot of perfecting to do and I’m quite sure I’ll never be satisfied but it’s worth a shot.

Here are my “accomplishments” so far

 

 

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Copyright versus Copyleft.

While researching Creative Commons and how it differs from Copyright something rather peculiar caught my eye: the copyleft movement. It institutes Copyright ideas but fudges some of the guidelines. Yes, that’s right. The Copyleftists are the pirates of the Copyright world. However, instead of gold, Copyleftists are out there to plunder that information copyright withholds us from finding.

If you’re interested in kinda-sorta putting a leash on your web creations as well as interested in taking steps to protect your work as an online outputting machine, you should really look into Creative Commons. They give out free copyright-licenses like candy on Halloween but not the high barbed wire fences a full Copyright provides. Here’s a quick video to explain everything I can’t.

If you’re against clicking my links here’s a wee explanation: with Creative Commons you have the ability to design which rights are reserved and which rights are waived for the sake of free sharing everywhere. Here’s their website for more information.

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 2.01.13 PM

 

 

 

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Feeding the RSS monster.

As cheesy as this video could be, it got the job done. Here is a simple equation to express the range of my RSS knowledge before watching the video.

Me + Computer related abbreviations  = Distress

Now, I’m more like this.

Me + Computer related abbreviations = Slightly less distress

I’m currently in the process of setting up a reader. I’m actually super excited about this. I had always seen that little orange symbol and believed the answer to it’s quiet conundrum to be somewhere far beyond my understanding. THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL.

Google is run by wizards, now.

Google is run by wizards, now.

Alright, here we go. It took me a couple of tries but I have officially begun. I had to copy/paste my way to success but we’re makin’ progress over here. I’m like a following fiend…or an extreme stalker, your choice. As Morgan suggested, I tried to find something that allowed me to jump straight to my reader instead of having to go through the process of logging on to Google, finding the reader and all that jazz.

(Sidebar: the table next to me is discussing their R.A. last year in Oak. I am definitely dropping all sorts of eaves.)

MOVING ON.

I just made Google Reader my homepage on my laptop. I’d put it on my super cool smart phone if it existed but it doesn’t. I still use this indestructible flip-phone with such apps as the transformer app, the break dancing app, the bitch-slap app, and the I’m-being-punted-down-the-hall-and-I’m-not-going-to-break app. I love my phone. It’s like your first car that’s super jenky but you slough it off as “character”. Too bad Betsy’s character was a love for pyrotechnics.

Wow, this Google Reader thing is pretty nifty. I’m looking at my “Recommended items” and Google really hit it right on the nose: web comics, food, celebrities doing menial tasks, how to fix zipper problems, the works. I just learned Waffle House had a twitter and they love bacon. WHO KNEW?

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Wise words of a dead person.

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10 Rules for Students, Teachers, and Life by John Cage and Sister Corita Kent

In class we were given this bit of writing and asked to respond. Well,all I can say is that John Cage and Sister Corita Kent were brilliant. Just looking over these brief ideas, makes me really think about how I view, how I take advantage to what I interact with everyday.

I’m going to try an experiment. Yeah, that’s right; Devan is doing science.

Every day I’m going to try one of the rules and figure out what it really means and how I can apply it to my life.

This is Rule #4

Some updates since then:

Rule #1

Find a place I trust, eh? Minus the example Morgan gave us in class I really feel the library is the perfect place for me, at least up here in Bemidji. There is always somewhere quiet I can go and that fits me perfectly. I can’t get anything done unless I have silence. However, blogging would be an exception. I always have my music blaring.  Type in The Lumineers on Pandora and you’ve got my fuel.

Rule #2

I came into my Sophomore year in college with one goal in mind: to ask as many questions as humanly possible. If I didn’t understand something I was damn-well going to find out, no matter how annoying my professors thought I would be. I know when I should be trying harder. Let me show you a real-life example.

Honors mid-term paper: C-

Honors final paper: A-

My mid-term was maybe three pages long and although I had cited more sources than I had time for, my prose was a bunch of B.S. The final came around and my page count bumped up to seven and I actually had a handle on what I was talking about. Why? Well, I started asking questions. Who knew more about the fading of Anglo-Saxon paganism than the people who were attempting to teach it to me?

Rule #3

Well, Morgan certainly is pulling “everything” out of me. Boot camp 2013 was a flop so now I’m back, revamping it all from the beginning. I hope it works.

Rule #4

You’ve already seen how this turns out.

Rule #5

Find someone to follow? Well, at this particular time I’m typing away next to a Mr. Joe Stusinski and we’re on an all-night blogging marathon with the sole purpose of beefing up our posts. I could be playing Minecraft right now. I could be making the family sized box of Mac ‘n’ Cheese sitting next to me. Heck, I could be sleeping. If this isn’t an example of discipline, I don’t know what is.

Rule #6

This I can only apply to every sculpture I have ever made. You see when you work with clay, sure, you can sketch out a plan with pencil on paper but that’s all the further you’re going to get. Once you start molding that piece of raw material you have to learn to work with what you’ve done. Everything is a creation. Everything is art. Whether you sit there and put a month into one sculpture or three hours, you’ve created something from nothing and that is a beautiful thing.

Rule #7

I’ve never been a tomato person. Ketchup barely passes, but other than that I like to keep the veggie-fruit out of my diet. Unfortunately, my favorite food is pasta. You have no idea how many batches of noodles I have consumed. Seriously, they should dedicate a Noodles and Company to me.

Anyways, when you think pasta you think tomato sauce, right? WRONG. Tomato sauce is gross thus I’ve had to find other means of noodle lubrication. This is where the whole “work” aspect comes in. I’ve done the noodle dance so many times I’m practically an expert in the combining of herb/seasonings and olive oil to get the best taste. I’m salivating just thinking about it. That Mac ‘n’ Cheese is looking real’ good right about now.

Rule #8

You know, in a literal sense I disagree with this rule. Mainly due to the fact that I’m one of those people where as soon as I see that darned squiggly red line my brain goes into auto-pilot. There is no stopping me from going back and fixing it right then and there. I’m really trying not to be too much of a grammar freak but it’s in my conditioning. You should see my mother.

Rule #9

Be happy. You know, that is a lot easier said than done. At this particular moment, I’m not referring to myself. I am a generally happy person (unless you even think the leper of a word “irregardless”). I’ve lived around all sorts of people who struggle to find happiness and yeah I completely agree with that fact that when your stuck in the muck of depression every day brings one more burden to bear. I’m all of us have been in that state of mind at least once.

Rule #10

You know, I break my own rules everyday. I told myself to never date a guy I worked with. Well, I went on a date with him and then I realized why I made that rule. Hey, I learned how to fly fish a little. I accept my hypocrisy; in fact, I embrace it.

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Alright, let’s get this party started.

And by that I definitely do not mean the Black Eyed Peas song…Or even that one by P!nk that came out when my best friend’s mom still wouldn’t let her listen to songs with swear words in them.

Here, allow me to me help you. By “party” I mean an “About Me” post and by “Alright, let’s get this…started” I mean “alright, let’s get this started.”

If you have yet to venture to my “About Me” page, then most of this information will be brand spankin’ fresh. If you were curious enough to go there, then by all means feel free to skip the next paragraph or so.

My name is Devan Bierbrauer; my middle name is irrelevant because it’s not a real name anyway. I’m a Sophomore/Junior at Bemidji State University blah blah blah. Ok, I’m not typing this all over again. Click here and then when you’re done, come back to me…Please?

MOVING ON.

I come from a wee town on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin called Stillwater. My early years were nothing to be excited about. Then we moved. My parents decided to have a joint midlife crisis where they just decided to up and buy a fixer-upper. My mom found it at a garage sale, like everything else we own. Considering it was only four houses around the corner, the move wasn’t life changing or traumatic. So there was still nothing to be excited about. Thanks, parents, for giving me a good life and nothing to write my autobiography about.

Then we have to junior high and high school era. Also, nothing too exciting, nothing to complain about. There was less drama there than in college. Even braces weren’t that bad.

Betsy 1My Green Chevy Blazer (christened Betsy) blew up in a Herberger’s parking lot when my friends and I were prom dress shopping. That was cool. My mom still has the voicemail I left her saved on her phone.

Two knee surgeries later (Is it bad I measure time in medical procedures?) I’m in college. I’m a Resident Assistant in Oak Hall and loving every minute of it. Sure, I miss some parts of the cities and I really miss The Current but hey, at least they stream live from their website.

What else should I force you to read?

My favorite color is green. The 27 books I have to read this semester are keeping me from reading anything new and exciting. Tolkien’s biography is pretty amazing but other than that I’ve got nothing. My music tastes include everything from the Lion King soundtrack to Atmosphere to Ke(dollar sign)ha. If you ever want to know anything about any song by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis I have you covered. I’ve seen them live at least three times and they were amazing. Every time.If there was any musical artist that changed my perspective, it would be them.

It’s funny when people find out I actually love rap.

Some small obsessions I have are buying too many books, too many pairs of sunglasses, making pasta, and playing video games. I can stick my tongue up my nose but I can’t touch my toes. That rhymed.

I’m an honest person so feel free to ask me anything. Minus science questions. Biology and I do not work together well.

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Tea fixes everything.

You see, my room is so cold my cup that changes colors based on the temperature is bright magenta when it’s supposed to be white, my windows are sporting a lovely coating of frost, and I had to break out the rainbow monkey hat in order to survive.

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Personally, I assign full blame on the twelve-floor monstrosity that is Tamarack hall. Of course, only in Bemidji would a twelve-floor building be considered a monstrosity but, hey, we work with what we got, including inefficient heating systems.

Alas, I digress. I did not begin this post to complain about the fridged air of my dorm room. I came here to talk about tea. Tea is amazing. It’s warm, the Brits swear by it and your sophistication level increases by four with every cup. Down in the cities (meaning Minneapolis/Saint Paul area) there is this magical place called Tea Garden (or in Woodbury there’s The Steepery). Essentially, they are the same places minus the fact that Tea Garden gives out free Onion magazines and Steepery does not. Oh, and there is nothing better than being served a large yogurt chai latté with pearls by a guy with approximately three dreds to his name, something you will definitely not experience in Woodbury, Minnesota. Seriously, the alternative boundaries between the cities and the suburbs are spectacular to observe.

That’s probably the biggest thing I miss about living in that area. I haven’t found one tea place in Bemidji (if you know of one please share your eternal wisdom). There are two locally owned Herbalife shake shops, a Dunn Bros, a Star Bucks, a couple other coffee places I can’t remember the names of and JavaCity here on campus but no tea places. I miss my shake that tastes like pumpkin pie!

For the sake of tea lovers everywhere, Bemidji…

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My sims can wait a little longer, I guess.

Blogging. We’ll see what happens here. This is my first post and from now on I’ll be posting everyday. A tedious task? Maybe. However, I usually blog when I’m putting something off so this is perfect. It’s like in the movie Happy Feet when Ramon tricks himself into falling off the cliff. Like I said, perfect!

As I’m sitting here waiting for Mark to bring me Chinese food I decided I would force myself into productivity instead of increasing the handiness or cooking skill levels of my virtual characters. Seriously, that is all I have been doing lately. It’s sad, really. I don’t have friends in real life so I have to make them up.

Well, actually, I lied. I have friends. We hang out; and by hang out I mean we all get together and play video games. No, we don’t play them together, like with the whole “live” option. Hell, we don’t even play the same games. Usually the layout is something along the lines of someone on the Xbox and two people on their laptops. When we do get around to interacting with one another it’s usually one person asking the other to their laptop charger. Once in a blue moon we’ll run to the Clodge (that would be my term for our campus “convenience” store) or make waffles on Waffle Wednesday.

Is this good enough for my first post? I hope so because I have to go. I have a floor program scheduled for 7:00pm and there is popcorn to be popped and reluctant residents to be gathered. here’s a .gif for your troubles:

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