Wow. That was an intense three weeks. Some parts were incredibly rewarding, some were severely tedious.
And now to my final reflections.
I struggled to figure out how to best format this summary. My mind tells me to give a synopsis of each assignment, or use strong headers to break out different concepts, but the word “weave” gets thrown around a lot in this class so I think it’s best to just have it all together. Let’s get into it.
We learned how to work with audio, graphic, and video media. We learned how different goals result in different designs for all of them. We then learned how to host them and how to weave them together in a blog, and something about twitter.
This last, twitter, was a struggle for me. I did it to the absolute best of my ability (58 posts, average ~3/day for 19 days), but I was never comfortable with it. I really did try to – even trying to post some off-topic, more conversational things to get the feel of it. Overall I’ve never appreciated the social aspect of the internet – I think in general (there are certainly exceptions) people use it as a platform to hear themselves talk, and while I think everything I say is absolute gold…I don’t have a punchline for that joke, but the setup was good enough to leave it. I did however see the quantitative value of twitter. It was a small sample size, and I wasn’t rigorously collecting data, but I found that if I spaced out my tweets and added interesting images along with links to whatever post I was plugging, I got more traffic. Again, tiny sample size so who knows.
YouTube and SoundCloud were kind of middle of the road. I never felt compelled to go through and discover new music on SoundCloud, and I never felt like browsing YouTube. I watch stuff on YT certainly, but its usually a video someone sends me or I find because I know what I’m looking for (documentaries inside North Korea are a guilty pleasure, which is funny because they’re all the exact same tour lol). For both platforms it feels weird posting, for much of the same reason as twitter, I just don’t like sharing too much of myself with someone I don’t know.
Flickr is the only one of the four I think I’m going to keep. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s all static media, or that it’s really unobtrusive, but I don’t mind it. Again, I never really felt the urge to go look around at all the other stuff, but I really have found it pleasant to work with. Bummer of it is that you gotta pay for it to see the good stats, so I feel like it would be hard to optimize. I’m also not sure whether post views with an embed count towards views, so if I were to really get into Flickr, those are things I’d want to know.
As far as this blog itself, it was the most enjoyable. I like writing a lot, and it was great to have an excuse to do so. What I enjoyed most about using WordPress though, was using WordPress. I really like to figure stuff out, though it’s definitely stressful when I’m on a schedule. But yeah, getting to research different plugins and figure out how to change small details and getting to play around in code editor were all really rewarding. While I may take down the subdomain, I’m going to use a lot of what I learned to work on my domain-proper. I intend to use it as a virtual resume type of thing, showing the stuff I’ve made (and hosted albums of in Flickr), and maybe a few of my presentations or interviews or something. I’m not sure, I’ll get to do it languidly and really just enjoy that experience.
In linking them all together…well, I still have no clue why I tagged stuff (other than because I was told to). I did see on the Daily Create pages they had running feeds that I assume were using the active #tdc tag, so I get it from that point, but it just seemed like a lot to keep track of for little reward. /// I realize of course that it’s not a lot to keep track of, I just specifically wasn’t good at it. I do, because I’m competitive and I feel like now is the time to take credit for it, want to point out that on the leader board, the account @Henry(numbers) was me before I changed it to @I8_Henry, so as of now I’m tied with @summers_ginny for the most TDC’s from our class.
Let’s get into some media. With ALL the media, you, or whoever chose the prep material, went 4 for 4. The David duChemin tips were concise and straightforward. The Vignelli Cannon was passionate and coherent, and is itself an example of great design. Ira Glass (I didn’t like the other guy as much) was witty and insightful. And Roger Ebert really changed my mind that all critics are garbage. Now I believe it’s only most, but certainly not all. As far as my experiences working with the media, let’s start with the misses.
I never got the hang of audio. Specifically with the analysis. I think I did a good job with the Moon Graffiti assignment, but with all the audio analysis-type assignments, I only ever saw (heard, whatever) the same concepts so I felt like I was missing something. As far as creating audio, I think I did OK. It always seemed like my product wasn’t commensurate to the time I put in. Which is exactly what Ira Glass talked about in his video, so I can still sleep soundly (get it? lol).
There’s a second joke there: I never sleep soundly.
Moving into video, I believe this assignment period produced my single best work. That piece included elements from all the other assignments in what I think was a smooth and appealing way. It was similar in that way to the video I made for the final assignment, but the final’s video had to be a part of a larger narrative so I didn’t have total freedom to just do whatever (another lesson of the overall course). Roger Ebert’s How to Read a Movie was also my favorite of a lot of really awesome prep material. I gush about it here, but it was just great.
Despite how much I enjoyed the video portion, I think my best overall section were the visuals and design. They were early on in the course so I wasn’t as worn out as I am now (I’m being dramatic, I’m fine, just not as fresh), and I really jumped in with both feet. I think my design analyses were well thought out and correct and I think the things I produced were the best on average, like this gem
As far as some of the general stuff goes, there were ups and downs. I’ve complained about tagging way too much at this point so I’ll let that horse be dead in peace. The formatting of the activities was a love/hate. When I didn’t feel rushed (which was usually my fault anyways), I really enjoyed coming up with stories to go with the assignments, but when I felt rushed, not only did I not want to do it, but pressure kills my creativity, so it became harder for like six mutually supporting reasons. As far as the reflections, they were just pure joy. They were so much more than stating what I learned, because the act of stating it taught me new stuff. It got to be difficult to finish writing reflections because the more I wrote (and reflected) the more nuggets of information I would discover for myself. The last bit of the assignments, the tutorials, were another love/hate. I enjoyed learning how to make the tutorials (I went through three different screen recording programs) but I never really enjoyed actually doing it. With the reflections I would learn as I reflected, which I’m guessing is the point of the tutorials as well, but I never got the sense that that was the case. I know the best way to learn something is to teach it, so I see why they’re in there, but in my experience they just didn’t contribute that much to my understanding.
The last bit I want to talk about is the social aspect. I realize it’s like, a third of the class, but I don’t think it jelled. Again, I think the internet is overhyped as a means of creating relationships, and trying to use (in my opinion) a substandard methodology and only giving yourself three weeks is tough. In the class, there were about five or six of us that regularly contributed to each other’s work which is great, but it was still tough. The counterpoint to my argument actually comes from outside the class. The TDC folks that aren’t enrolled seem to have a pretty decent amount of chemistry with one another. That goes against my assertion, but I know I can be wrong (unless I’m wrong about that, in which case I’m right about that…uh oh). But yeah, I realize how important it is, I’ve just never had faith that I personally can make or maintain a healthy relationship without face-to-face interaction.
The only Heading: The End:
When I signed up I did so because I really liked my CPSC110 course with Ian Finlayson, this filled a gen-ed, and I could do it in three weeks. I didn’t read the course description so I thought I was going to learn animating or something, and when you (Dr. Polack if someone else is reading this) sent the “Fair Warning,” I gulped because social media, but stuck with it and I’m glad I did. I think I learned a lot of things that I would have considered trivial, but will be those things that come in handy down the road in some way I wouldn’t have guessed. I also learned how to really balance two heavy, short-term demands on my time (I’ve got a research paper I’ve been writing and revising due in like, 5 days). The only suggestion is to teach people to use Tinder, because that would be a gift that keeps on giving and God knows I’m awful at it.
I would also thank you for putting up with my humor, which only works like half the time in person, and I know more than that gets lost in text. At least that’s what I tell myself because no one on Tinder thinks I’m as funny as I do.