The Vogeler

It's All About Technology

Reflection Post December 14, 2009

Filed under: Assignment — kvogel21 @ 12:56 pm
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Kathleen M Vogel

Com 495

Reflective Essay

I took this Communications 495 course initially for two very basic reasons: 1) It was a Communications course that fit within my schedule 2) The title “blogging” sounded interesting to me. However, I realized that after completing all the assignments, readings, listening to the lecture-discussion leaders, and creating a blog that this course has enlightened me to the seemingly endless possibilities in web publishing.

Assignments

One of the first assignments was to set up our Com 495 blog. This was such an eye opening experience to me. I had always thought that getting my own website would be hard to set up, and would cost money. However, both of these assumptions were wrong. I set up my account within a few minutes at the end of class and did not spend any money in the process. Although this “free with-out  premium features model” was satisfying initially, as I invested more time in blogging, I learned that “free” on the web often meant “limited” as I wanted more designs, colors, and widgets.

Another assignment I completed was researching qualities of the better blogs on the web. This was another great moment for me as I figured out what I had been doing wrong. For instance, I noticed that some of the better blogs used bullet points and numbers to help readers follow along. From a practical standpoint this changed the way I wrote in the future. Instead of writing longer formal paragraphs I tried to simplify my writing so at a quick glance a reader could easily understand my main points.

Readings

One of my favorite readings from Com 495 was the reading on convergence entitled Your Television is Ringing. I thought this article was a great way of examine how technologies companies in cable, internet, land lines, and cell phones are converging together to provide bundle opportunities for customers.  Before this class I assumed that bundles were essentially “good” for the consumer as it gave them a better deal. After reading the Television is Ringing, however, I developed a different perspective which promoted, instead, the need for competition and specialization of companies to provide superb customer service – not just a great price.

Lectures

I thoroughly enjoyed lectures in this course because they helped develop my blogs in incorporating Youtube videos, pictures, and creative commons images, and obtaining content. Before this class my searching for content was done via Google search, which although helpful, was only one source of searching. After being engaged in lecture, discussions, and lab I now have learned the value of using sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Stumbleupon, Delicious, Digg, and many others to find content for my  blog(s).  Creative commons was also a helpful term to understand in creating content on the web. I learned how to do an advanced search in Flickr for only creative commons images to avoid copyright infringement. In addition, the implementation of the creative commons license discussion/lab helped me to inform web users to my policy on copying my content.

Project: Blog

For my project I decided to create another blog at http://theartfan.wordpress.com. From creating and updating a blog I experienced many challenges and successes that opened my eyes to publishing my work on the internet. One of the difficulties I experienced was how time intensive the process became after initially getting the website up a running. For instance, in discovering content to write about I would search the internet for sometimes hours – obviously getting distracted along the way. Eventually, I would find something to talk about and then write another article which depending on length would also take an average of another hour to post. Then I would repeat this process. Meanwhile, marketing the blog became another whole dimension that due to my previous time constraints I only glazed the surface. For instance, I commented on other blogs occasionally referencing my own. Ultimately what I learned is that when I start another blog I will have a team of people discovering, creating, and commenting on content. For instance, I noticed in class that another student (i.e. Liz Lantz) was covering similar content and if we would have realized this sooner perhaps we could have teamed up. I think that organizing a blogging team would make the entire process more interactive and fun.

Another thing I learned is that in order to get exactly what I want with widgets, and designs I would want to buy software like Artisteer and obtain a different host. I really liked one of the sites shown in class with this software and I think that after experiencing the limitations of free web hosting by wordpress.com, I am better prepared to spend some money to enhance the look of my blog/website. In addition, by using other hosts I could have a blog supplemented by Google advertising which is a fantastic way to make some money with a blog.

Final Reflection Remarks

Upon reflection, Com 495 laid a great foundation for my future in online publishing. What seemed difficult and expensive to even begin, was an assumption that was quickly overturned. The assignments led me through a process of writing for the web rather than writing a formal research paper.  The readings provided added material which explained concepts such as convergence and copyright in ways that made me understand the issues. Many different sites in lecture were examined and discussed which aided me in discovering and illustrating my content creation. Lastly, my project blog experience led me to understand that bloggers should definitely be respected for the time that it takes to discover content, create content, design the site, and market the site.

From this class I will take with me the desire to create more web content and explore what other digital technologies are out there. I now realize that I am excited to pursue not only consuming internet content but also creating it in the future.

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Com 495 – Top 5 Helpful Sites for Blogging December 12, 2009

 

1) Youtube – After learning how to put youtube links in the blog  (i.e. and seeing how easy this becomes this has been one of the most helpful for me in blogging. It is nice to have a visual representation of what I am talking about so that everyone knows what I am talking about.

2) Slideshare – Call me crazy but I had never used this site before taking Com 495 at the University of Washington. I never realized it was so easy to share on wordpress. This was a great tool for sharing picture too. This is definately something to explore. 

3) Zamzar – When you need to convert files in order to use on your blog, this site is great for this! I have struggled with the conversion of files so much in the past that this has been a godsend when it comes to doing this.  

4) Creative Commons – For this, two sites actually are important.

4a)One is the creative commons licensing that I learned how to copy paste into my site. This allows other readers to see what my policy is on using my work.  

4b) Flickr – The other site is flickr because this site also lets users to an advanced search by creative commons pictures. Before this class, I had no idea that I should have been more careful with copyright and use these tools, not only to protect my work but to prevent me to taking unlawfully others work. Plus, it has loads of picture to choose from.  

5) Delicious – Finding new stuff to explore, discovering new content. Plus bookmarking it. This site helps bloggers do it all is seems.

I am pretty sure everyone in our class has explored all of these sites at this point, but if you haven’t take a look again. For instance, create a powerpoint with music, put it on slideshare and post it on wordpress. This process before seemed too difficult and now it is a reality. I have learned a lot about blogging in this course and I hope to find many more sites that are just as helpful.