Looking Back

Overall I am proud of the way my travel blog turned out.  My blog gives me a jumping off point for my future travels and I really did enjoy researching my topics.  I wish I had more time to delve into each place a little further, but as I noticed in the beginning, my posts were taking a lot of time to research.  I had to modify my approach and start small.

I am torn between which posts were my best.  I enjoyed advocate blogging because it allowed me to really explore the places I was posting about, yet I was thankful for filter/connector posts because the time it took to compile information was drastically shorter.

The challenges I faced was mostly in research.  For example, I began to research Greece and very quickly had a list of places and links so long I became overwhelmed and scrapped the idea.  This is when I decided that when writing about a place I should probably narrow down locations.  This is why I blogged about Key Largo instead of the Florida Keys.

Other than research, I am a bit insecure in my writing.  Having very little feedback left me wondering if there were things I could do better to improve my blog overall.

As far as next time goes, I hope to maintain this blog and continue to grow the list of places I want to travel to.  Eventually I would like to have my blog become more public (scary).  It would be nice to have comment from readers sharing their experiences and making the must see list more interactive.  I am pretty shy when it comes to my writing so that will prove to be a big step.

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Bloggy blog style

What did you learn about the filter, connector, critic and advocate modes by writing your first posts?

Filter and connector style posts allow the blogger to connect with their audience in a shorter and quicker post.  These posts are great for sharing information that sums up what the blogger is trying to convey while showing the reader that the blogger is in fact out searching the web for relevant information.  This style of post might be great for when the blogger doesn’t have a lot of time but does want to update their blog.

Critic and advocate blogs allow the blogger to express their opinions more freely.  This allows the reader to connect with the blogger on a more personal level.  Usually there is a call to action within these types of posts.

Which style of posts do you expect to be the most challenging for you to compose in the future and why?

I think critic posts will be challenging for my blog topic.  I would prefer to stay away from criticism and focus more on the positive aspects of visiting different places, being an advocate for travel.

What sources did you rely on for your first two weeks of blogging and why did you choose these sources?

I mainly used my blogroll, twitter feed, and the websites of the places I wrote about as my sources for the first several blogs.  I chose to use my blogroll and twitter feed as a jumping off point for inspirational ideas of places to start.  Then I visited the website for these places for additional information.

Fun Festivals

Looking for something out of the ordinary for your next adventure?  Elica Sue over at Wild Junket created a list of seven festivals around the world.  Why not plan your next trip around one of these fun festivals?

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Where is My Mind?

This attention exercise proved to be more difficult than the first, as it wasn’t my attention while online that was the issue; I was just simply distracted with life.  Not only was I distracted but I was procrastinating.

I made a list of to do’s, as I normally do, but struggled to tackle anything on that list.  One of my class projects seemed overwhelming and I was avoiding it.  Because this project was my main priority over the weekend, and I was avoiding it, the rest of my homework got put on the back burner.

I found all sorts of other things to do with my time.  I cleaned my house from top to bottom and then offered to help clean a friend’s house. I also ended up walking around McKinney trade days because the weather was so refreshing and I wanted to be outdoors.  I did this and more all while knowing I had a list of assignments waiting for me at home.

Eventually I got around to tackling the project and was surprised at how well it turned out.  When it was finally complete I felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders and was able to organize a plan of attack for the rest of my schoolwork.

I realized during these two exercises that I am prone to distraction and procrastination but once I get started I find myself super focused.  I just need to be able to find the motivation to get started.  Perhaps I will have to start a breathing/meditation ritual prior to starting my homework to calm and focus my mind.

Can I Have Your Attention Please!

Attention and distraction go hand in hand in an online world.  It is super easy for people to get distracted while working online because they can easily open another browser and surf around for a bit and before you know it you’ve lost hours.

Generally I don’t get as distracted when I am working on projects that are offline because there isn’t an easy distraction factor and the tasks tend to be hands on.

Also I find I am more distracted before I begin a project because I tend to procrastinate and find other things to do.  Cleaning my house becomes uber appealing when given the choice of homework or cleaning.  However, once I get started on something I tend to hyper focus and knock it out.

Here is how my attention assignment played out:

I sat down to start working on homework and immediately realized how beautiful the weather was  so within a few minutes I was daydreaming about being at a park or a beach.  I got up to shut off the AC and opened all my windows and contemplated going to the park.  I refrained as I had a lot of work to do and would be distracted even moreso if I ventured out.

It was a struggle not to focus on this exercise and as I continued to work my thoughts drifted back to this assignment.  I was being distracted thinking about being distracted!  Usually I think about other assignments or tasks that I have to accomplish while I am attempting to complete something else.  I think my brain goes in to a bit of frenzy and tries to schedule and reschedule my task lists.

I found myself texting and instant messaging with friends and ended up taking a break from my online reading to scroll through Facebook.

After a few minutes I went back to work on my homework, during which time I received two phone calls which I answered; one from a friend and one from work.  I know had to open a new browser to issue a direct bill, follow up with the hotel to ensure they received the direct bill, and then follow up with the employee that was waiting for payment to be sent on their behalf.

After reading online for what seemed like forever I began to wonder how much more there was to this chapter.  I flipped through the pages to get an idea of how much more I had to read and how much longer I had to dedicate to the task at hand.

My Thoughts on the experiment:

I enjoy experiments like this that bring awareness to our behaviors in a media driven world.  This experiment reminds me of another assignment from my Intro to Communications course last semester.  The class was challenged to a 24 hour media fast.  Being disconnected felt so refreshing!

Analog Girl in a Digital World

I would venture to describe myself as technologically impaired, perhaps even severely impaired.

Growing up we had a computer in our house but I was only allowed to use it for homework assignments.  So, as a child, I never really had an interest in technology.  However, as I have explored different avenues throughout my college career (and believe me, it has been a career) I find myself drawn to communication and the creative process, which led me to UTD’s EMAC program.

My day to day interaction with the internet and other daily technologies pretty much revolves around my work life.  My main communications are through email, chat, and text messaging.

Outside of work I use the internet pretty minimally.  I’ll Facebook, watch videos on YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix, check the weather, Google random information as needed, and maybe read a few blogs.  I don’t really know how to fully utilize and explore the internet but I know it has much more to offer, and I intend to learn the skills necessary to navigate the internet to become a more technologically literate individual.

I have much to learn about writing and researching online.  Fortunately I am determined to grow and put aside my fears of the unknown.  It seems vast and overwhelming, but with the proper direction I believe I can begin to feel comfortable in the digital world.

There are many differences between writing online and writing for academic purposes.  Writing online has the possibility of drawing a much larger audience and needs to be able to convey a clear purpose. There has to be an interest, a reason for the reader to want to continue to read or follow along.  Throughout this course I hope to learn more effective ways to capture an audience through my writing.

I will also have to learn (or be forced) to overcome my shyness in regards to my writing.  Usually I tend to keep my work to myself and whomever I absolutely have to share it with.  Getting out of my comfort zone will be the challenge in this area.

Researching online is a whole other story.  As I stated earlier, my knowledge of how to effectively use the internet is slim to none.  Other than typing in a keyword or phrase into a search engine I got nadda. I feel like I have considerable room for improvement, and after covering the syllabus in class I am excited and eager to learn.

My main goal for this class, in conjunction with my other classes, is to become more media literate in the technological sense.  I want to learn to explore the different outlets used in communication online, gain an understanding of how to use and manipulate these outlets, and develop a sense of confidence in utilizing technology today and as it changes in the future.

Title from Erykah Badu’s “… & On”