My Adventure in Digital Communication

We live in a digital world, a world where digital literacy is becoming more and more important  in all aspects of our lives: school, work, entertainment. This semester, in my  digital communication class I have learned an array of things that will help me succeed in this digital world. The most important digital literacies required in this new digital age are personal branding, the understanding of one’s medium and audience, storytelling, and  the importance of search engine optimization.

Personal Branding

One of the most important digital literacies is Personal Branding. It allows one to market and mold their online personas. This semester, I created a personal website, which contributed to my own personal brand. I aimed to make my website both professional and fun with color schemes and images that reflect my personality. My hope for this website is that potential employers will be able to view the site in order to get a better sense of me through my portfolio and digital resume.

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Know your Audience and Medium

Each medium should be approached in a different way.

Writing a research paper is completely different than writing for digital media. Similarly, you would not want to write the script for a video or podcast in the same way you would write a blog post. It is important to keep your medium in mind, besides no one is going to watch the rest of your video if your introduction sounds like a thesis for a research paper. It is also important to know who your audience is. Write what your audience will appreciate and write or film in terms that your audience can relate to.

This semester I kept this blog for my digital communications class. It was through this blog that I learned the importance of knowing one’s medium and audience. I kept my posts short and to the point, as well as added images and links to keep my audience interested. My audience for this blog was teens and twenty-somethings who were interested in or had experienced fad diets, and I kept this audience in mind through every post I made.

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Storytelling takes the digital literacy of knowing your medium and audience one step further by hooking the audience into wanting more. There is no point of making a video, podcast, or blog if you have no story to tell. My group video and podcast were edited to tell a story, and it is this story that kept people listening and watching until the end.

What’s next

Through my digital communication course I have become literate in the digital world. It also sharpened my ability to use digital editing software including Premiere Elements, Photoshop, and Audacity.  What I have learned in this class will contribute to my success in any future career, whether I become a digital media executive or not. Any career can grow from knowledge in the digital world.

I look forward to learning more about our digital age through my future endeavors at Furman University. My adventure in digital communication is far from over, in fact it is just beginning.

Thanks,

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Furman University Women’s Lacrosse

The following Video and Podcast analyzes the starting a new sports program at a Division 1 school, Furman University. The Women’s Lacrosse program was introduced to Furman University in the Fall of 2013, and they entered the Atlantic Sun conference for their inaugural season in the spring of 2015.

Starting a new program

In this episode of the Paiges and Blake show, we interviewed Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Rachel Whitten. Whitten discusses how she started an entirely new lacrosse program, as well as her hopes for the future.

What does it take to be a furman lacrosse player? 

The Following Video takes the podcast one step further. It looks at both the coaches and the players opinions on starting a new team, balancing academics with lacrosse, and what it takes to be on their team.

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Social Networking Sites

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Social networking sites help establish an individual or business’ identity and connects them to people all over the world.

 

 

Do you have a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? If so, then you are on a social networking site. Social networking sites can be defined as  any site that allows you to create a public profile that allows you to connect and interact with others.

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Linkedin is a social networking site that allows individuals and businesses to extend their professional networks and create a professional identity.

Social networking sites are not just used to connect socially with friends, many social networking sites allow both individuals and companies to establish professional relationships like in the popular site, linkedin; Many scholars also turn to social networking sites in order to share their work and collaborate with other scholars.

 

self presentation and social connection

In her book, A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites, ZiZi Papacharissi, explains that social networking sites attract so many individuals because they allow for self presentation and social connection.

Within a social networking site, self presentation is seen through the text, images, and other multimedia individuals decide to post. Through this self presentation, one’s self identity is formed. However, one’s self identity online is not fully shaped until it has been compared, defended, and adjusted after one experiences social connections.

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Social Networking Sites help connect individuals socially and professionally that otherwise would have never met.

The performance of social networking sites is focused around social connection. People go to Facebook to talk to friends or to Linkedin to speak to potential employers. The central idea around every social networking site is connection. These sites allow one to connect between a multitude of social spheres and authenticate their self presentation.

Social networking sites are essential in today’s digital world. Job interviews are now held online via skype, photos are stored on facebook instead of printed out, and one’s identity online can have major effects on how they are treated in person. Social networking sites now have major influence on one’s life, that is why It is important to take care of your self presentation and take advantage of your social connections.

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College Students and Healthy Eating

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Eating healthy in college is challenging due to social pressures and an array of unhealthy temptations.

 

Making a healthy lifestyle change can be difficult, but making this change during college can be even harder. With academic, social, and financial stress, college is one of the most stressful times throughout one’s life. This stress, along with students being on their own for the first time, is what leads to the infamous weight gain that many coin the “freshman fifteen.”

The Dining Hall Can Lead to Fad Diets

College students consume almost all of their meals in a dining hall or similar on campus food service. Their parents are no longer cooking healthy meals for them, and dining halls are filled with the temptation of unhealthy foods: ice cream, cookies, french fries, and more. Most college dining halls are set up buffet style which means students tend to overeat many of these unhealthy foods.

Many college students turn to fad diets in order to loose the extra pounds gained from their uncontrolled eating within the dining halls. According to a survey by the National Association of Eating Disorders 91% of college females attempted a diet to help loose or maintain their weight. However, it is these fad diets that lead to even more weight gain in a cycle called yo-yo dieting.

The Dorm Room Diet

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The Dorm Room Diet helps teach college students how to take control of their eating habits.

 

To help better understand the link between college students and their struggle to control their eating Daphne Oz wrote The Dorm Room Diet. Daphne Oz is daughter of famous TV host and doctor, Dr. OZ.  Through her book, she shares her own struggles with weight as well as tips to help students avoid college weight gain. The Dorm Room Diet is not a fad diet plan; it focuses on healthy lifestyle changes. Daphne Oz gives healthy alternatives for eating in a dining hall as well as set exercises that all can be done within the confines of a dorm room.

 

Stress and temptation can lead to weight gain in college. Watch the following video which discusses these issues by looking at the opinions of students and professors at Furman University. 

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Making the Change to a Healthier Lifestyle

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Find a healthy balance between healthy eating and exercise by pledging to live a healthier  lifestyle.

 

 

Throughout this blog I have stressed the negative effects of Fad diets, reiterating that they do not lead to long term weight loss. The only way for success in terms of long term weight loss is through an overall lifestyle change. This post will offer helpful tips to make the change to a healthier lifestyle.

“Abs are Made in the Kitchen”

This saying has been passed around for decades. What it means is that one cannot continue normal eating habits and think that an hour in the gym will lead to weight loss. In order to achieve weight loss one has to change the way they eat, but they do not have to give up their favorite foods. To start eating healthier, one has to become aware of they are eating. Try writing down everything you eat for a day, then look at the list and find places where healthy substitutes could have been made.

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Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Instead of transforming your entire diet, try adding more fruits and vegetables into your snacks and meals.

 

Here are a few substitutes to try:

Whole Wheat for White Carbohydrates

Yogurt for Ice Cream

Air popped popcorn for potato chips

Water for Soft Drinks

 

Get up and Get Active

Exercise does not have to been running 2 miles everyday. Not everyone is a runner, and running is not the only way to become healthy. Exercising can be something as simple as walking around a neighborhood or biking with a group of friends. Exercise should be something you look forward to, not  a chore. Go to a gym and try all the machines. Find a group of friends and go hiking. Try  anything and everything until you find a form of exercise that you love.

Check out the following slide show to find ideas of how to stay active!

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Brainstorming

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Brainstorming is an essential step in the preparation of any project.

Whether you are writing a blog post, making a podcast, or filming a video, before you start, you must brainstorm.  Brainstorming  is  planning and generating ideas. As simple as that sounds, it is essential in developing good work. Before you can turn on the camera, you have to know what you want to film, what you want your audience to gain by your film, and how you are going to achieve this. Anything that is considered a great piece of work requires immense preparation. Brainstorming is the first step in this preparation.

Brainstorming Techniques: 

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Sticky Notes are a helpful brainstorming technique because it allows individuals to easily add and take away from their lists.

Sticky Notes-  Write down anything and everything that comes to mind. You can use sticky notes and post them around your workplace, home, or anywhere else you will see them. Seeing your notes regularly will spark new ideas as well as allow you to easily get rid of the ideas that will no longer work.

Lists– Write lists of everything you want to accomplish through your work and everything that relates to it. By writing what you want to accomplish you can figure out how to achieve it, and writing what relates to your topic will spark new ideas.

Phone– When you are in the car, on the treadmill, or walking around the mall and a new idea sparks use the notes section of your phone or send a text to yourself to remind yourself of this idea. When you are not thinking about or stressing over coming up with ideas, usually the best ideas spark. Our phones allow us to keep these ideas for safe keeping until we are able to look back on them later. This method is helpful because it does not require you to carry around a pen or paper.

Brainstorming is extremely helpful when you do not  know what to write about, because it allows individuals to dig deep and truly think. Brainstorming also helps filter information when you have too much to say. Brainstorming allows one to step back and decide what is truly important.

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What are the most popular Fad Diets?

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Nutrisystem, Atkins diet, and gluten free diets are some of the most popular fad diets, but they do not result in healthy, long term weight loss.

 

Fad diets, as we all know, have been around for centuries. However, it seems they become more and more popular each year, especially at the beginning of the year when New Year’s resolutions to loose weight are still on everyone’s mind. The following, are among the most popular fad diets.

The Atkins Diet

A typical meal on the Atkins diet focuses on protein and limits carbohydrates.

 

The Atkins diet is a plan that limits carbohydrates and focuses on protein and fat. Dieters on this plan begin with only 20 grams of carbohydrates a day and then slowly increase the amount each week.  On the Atkins diet you do not have to worry about portion control. Many believe that this helps people stick with the diet longer. However, the Atkins program does not allow for a well balanced diet and leaves  many individuals dehydrated due to the lack of carbohydrates.

Nutrisystem

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On Nutrisystem, a variety of prepackaged meals are provided to dieters.

Nutrisystem is a weight loss program that requires individuals to buy pre-made meals. The meals are individualized  based on weight, sex, and age. The main focus of this program is portion control. The meals are already prepared by the time you get them. Individuals are not tempted to eat more, simply because they do not have more. The typical cycle for Nutrisystem is 28 days, meaning one cannot eat on the system forever. Although Nutrisystem can help people understand portion control, this program is costly and cannot be used for long term weight loss.

Gluten Free

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A typical meal for dieters on gluten free diets relies heavily on fruits and vegetables.

Gluten free diets seem to be the new craze within the dieting world. These diets are important for individuals dealing with Celiacs disease or a gluten intolerance, but this only affects about 1% of the population. Now, people are using this diet as a way to loose weight.  Gluten is a protein source found in wheat, barley, and rye and is important to have as a part of a well balanced diet. Gluten is not bad for you, and removing it from your diet will not lead to healthy, long term weight loss.

It is important to take into account that no diet that makes its dieters give up specific food groups is going to last. Although they may result in short term weight loss, only healthy lifestyle changes will result in long term success. In my next post, I will introduce some of these lifestyle changes.

Thanks,

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Image Credits: Nutrisystem Photo, Atkins Photo, Gluten Free Photo

Aesthetics in Digital Media

Aesthetics can be defined as the philosophical study of beauty and taste. Aesthetics  is arguably the most important concepts when it comes to the visual aspects of digital media. This one aspect decides whether or not  someone will be drawn in to look closer at a piece of work, or if they quickly move on to something more appealing.

 

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

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Every individual has a different opinion on the beauty of this painting, based on the individual’s definition of beauty.

Beauty is a concept that is present in all aspects of society. Whether I am discussing fad diets and their popularity with young women or digital media and advertising, beauty is an important factor.  In digital media we view the “beauty” of an image, format, or blog through the idea of aesthetics. How visually appealing something is contributes to its overall beauty. However, beauty is individualized, no person views it the same.

Taste is in the eye of Experience

The concept of taste is a broader idea. Taste is not an individualized interpretation, taste is developed through experiences and culture. Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright explained in Practices of Looking, An Introduction to Visual Culture, that taste can be shaped through their aspects of identity including class, education, and culture.  Having “good” or “bad” taste can be indicators of a person’s societal class and education levels.

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Chainsaw Suit shows that companies continuously stress the importance of taste when it comes to advertisements or news stories.

Many Companies spend both time and labor making sure that their advertisements are seen as tasteful. In 2013 Pinterest launched advertisements on their popular site that allows people to pin whatever they like online to their numerous, individualized “boards.” One of the main focuses Pinterest  had during this campaigns was to ensure their users that the advertisements found on their site can be seen as tasteful, or as they put it no “flashy banner ads  or pop-up ads.”

Aesthetics is an important part in digital communication.  It contributes to the overall quality of a piece of digital media. When deciding on an advertisement campaign it is important for firms and individuals to consider the tastes of their intended audience and develop something that can be seen as beautiful to a wide range of people. In the aesthetics of digital media, one has to be general enough to relate to a variety of people, but specific enough to fully engage these people.

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Fad Diets and their Prevalence in Society

While walking to class a couple weeks ago, my friend told me about her new 21-day diet that was guaranteed to make her loose 15 pounds or more. This was after her no carbohydrate diet ended three days in. And then it hit me; almost everyone I know has been on a fad diet at least once during their life and yet they are still unhappy with their body.

Why are “fad diets” becoming more and more the norm of the female, teenage diet? Why are we subjecting ourselves in order to achieve society’s idea of “skinny”? If these diets don’t work, then why do we continue to do them? These are the questions I hope to further investigate and analyze throughout this blog.

What are Fad Diets?

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Women have been struggling with their weight for decades.

A Fad Diet is any weight loss program that promises rapid, dramatic results or allows you to eat only a select number of foods.  They all have a plan for a certain number of days, but do not tell you what to do once those days are done. This is why they never seem to work long term.

Fad diets have been around for centuries, however Lord Byron (1788-1824), can be considered the father of these diets. Horrified with fat, Byron kept himself on a series of strict, low-calorie diets. He even used cigars as appetite suppressants. The Lucky Strike cigarette company used this same idea when advertising in the 1920’s.  The company sought to attract young women who wanted to loose weight by suppressing their appetites. Although Byron’s idea of diet and fat were uncommon back then, in today’s society Byron’s ideas have become the norm.

Fad Diets and their growing popularity

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Fad diets leave us feeling hungry and deprived.

We have all heard for years that the only way to loose weight is to eat healthy and exercise, so why do new diet crazes come out every week? We live in a world where there is a need for instant gratification, and these fad diets promise rapid weight loss. However, they do not promise that the weight will stay off. True weight loss takes time and requires patience.

Although many of us want to loose weight as quickly as possible, fad diets are not the answer. They can have negative effects on our health and, as Psychology Today explains, leave us heavier than we were before. In the weeks to come I will look at the most popular fad diets and offer healthy  alternative to these dramatic diet plans.

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The Move to Digital Media

As the age of digital communication continues to rise, the traditional definition of journalism seems to be graying. When I think of the word journalism, I envision someone with pen and paper interviewing the witness of a crime. Today, however, the witness is the journalist. Regular citizens are now involved in both shaping and distributing hard hitting news stories.

Brian Carroll, author of Writing and Editing for Digital Media, defines journalists as those who “gather and share information, applying a discipline of verification in order to maximize the truth, minimize the harm, and to provide a fair and comprehensive account.” Everyday people are “journalists” without even knowing it, and their stories are the ones they post on social media including blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Newspapers are becoming a thing of the past.

So if more and more citizens have access to become journalists on a variety of blog sites and social media, what does this mean for news papers? According to the Pew Research Journalism Project,  journalism and editorial jobs are significantly declining, while digital journalistic jobs are on the rise. In order for newspapers and other print sources to keep up they will have to make some changes. Brian and Carroll suggest gearing stories towards their audience, the elderly, or making the move from print to digital.

Digital Media: the Good and the Bad

As more and more print news sources transition into the digital world there are both pros and cons to consider. First let’s consider the benefits digital journalism provides us.

  • Instant Gratification – We all want to know what is going on, who is involved, and why it happened as soon as the event occurred. We, as society, do not have the patience to wait to see what  tomorrow’s headline in the newspaper will be. We want it now.
  • Engagement – Comment and twitter feeds allow ordinary people to get involved with the conversation. This lets citizens feel like they are contributing to the journalism process and helps articles spread. When someone decides to share on Facebook an article they saw on ABC, all of that person’s followers will see that same article on their news feed. This cycle continues and each time the number of views on that article increases.
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Digital Media makes information available at the touch of a button.

In short, digital media allows news to be seen and distributed quickly.

Now lets take a look at the negative effects of digital media

  • Quality – The quality of the article may decrease because trained journalists are not writing the  full story. Journalists are trained in ethical codes as well as checking for accuracy. . Regular citizens do not always take this into consideration and therefore inaccurate and biased stories are commonly distributed.
  • Comment Feeds – Comments on articles can spark unnecessary arguments or hurtful remarks towards a group of people. These comments can end up shadowing the article itself and decreasing its credibility.

The Digital age is upon us and whether we like it or not, print is becoming a thing of the past.

Thanks,

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