Week One: Final Project Reflection

Before I started my final project, I was really struggling to find something that I thought that I could write about for a month (without getting bored with it). I was thinking about a range of topics for a week before I thought of writing blog posts on different factors that play in creating a healthy lifestyle.

This is a topic that I have really wanted to learn about, especially as a college student. Ever since I started college, I have wanted to live a healthy lifestyle and to not gain the Freshman 15 at all costs. I thought that writing a blog about workout tips, eating tips, healthy recipes, and self-love would help me educate myself and others about the things that help create a healthy lifestyle.

I was right. I do love this topic.

Since starting this project on blogging about the factors that make up a healthy lifestyle, I have learned things that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have this project.

I had a lot of fun writing the Every Little Thing Matters blog post, because I have always struggled with expecting to see results right away and it was nice to learn tips that would help keep me motivated throughout my fitness journey. I loved finding articles upon articles to help me think about what I wanted to include for this weeks section of workout tips.

I also loved writing the Burgers and Fries and Carbs… Oh, My. blog post, because I could really relate to the struggles that college students deal with when their only options for food come from the campus food outlets or the campus cafeteria. I loved learning about things that I could do to eat healthy while living on campus and why colleges don’t tend to provide a lot of healthy eating options. This blog post was really interesting and I really liked the information that I got out of it. I thought the topic this week was very educational.

One blog that left me disappointed was the Mac and Cheese: The Healthy Way blog post. I was so excited to try out this recipe and I thought that this project was the perfect time for me to try it (after having it saved for months). I ended up not liking the recipe at all and was disappointed that I spent so much of my time on something that I didn’t enjoy. That’s the one thing I learned this week… I’m not going to like all of the recipes that I like, but I love that I’m trying them out.

The Just Love Yourself… Is It Really That Easy? blog post was really hard for me to write because I sometimes find it hard to like my own self image. I thought that it was nice to learn more about why people think negatively about themselves (hint. hint. selfies) and find articles that made you feel okay in your own skin. I really liked learning that the definition of beauty is always changing and that there’s no set definition. It made me feel more at ease about myself, because I learned that I was probably just being hard on myself. Overall, this blog post was very therapeutic in a way and is one that I am looking forward to blogging more about this next week.

I really liked the first week of this project and found all of my blog posts to be very fulfilling, as I educated myself a lot on things that matter to me. I can’t wait to see what this next week will teach me.


Write it All Down … Wiki Style.

When we first were told that we would have to write on our Wikis, I was kind of excited. I had learned how to use Wikis this last semester in my Technical Writing class. Without learning about how to use them then, I probably would have struggled a lot more. Especially with the headings. Though, I am proud to say that I successfully used my Wiki quickly for this class’ assignment.

My Wiki might not be as pretty as my Weblog, but it sure gets the work done fast.

What do you think about Wikis? What do you like or dislike about it in comparison to the blogs?

Why Do You Blog?

Sometimes I wonder what a blogger is and how people ever got that title and it wasn’t until I read Danah Boyd’s article that I really thought about it.

Boyd talked about how the things that she had blogged about when she first started writing changed as she got older. When she was younger she wrote for herself, instead of writing with consideration of who was going to read it. In the article, Boyd wrote:

 I was blogging to think, to process, to understand. To understand myself and the world around me.

I can relate to her change in blog topics or posts in general. When I was younger I would write about anything that I pleased to without really thinking about what might come of it and that other people could view it. Now that I am older and have had more practice with using the internet, I limit how much I post on my social media and what I post on my media. When I was younger I would post stupid and random things, like song lyrics, and now I post about my successes and important memories that I want to share with my friends and family.

In addition of blogging for her own enjoyment, Boyd also talked about how writing online can make people vulnerable. She talked about how when she was speaking at a public event that people were critiquing her on social media and how since she was in the public light that she was being judged by everything that she did. She also described how younger people are running into this same problem.

 Over the last 30 years, we’ve systematically eliminated young people’s ability to participate in public life. They turn to technology as a relief valve, as an opportunity to have a space of their own. As a chance to be public. And, of course, we shoo them away from there too.

Boyd brought up a great point, reminding us all that most kids use some sort of online platform as a way to escape from their hectic lives and to have a ‘public’ online presence. Personally, I’m not sure if it is a good thing for young people to depend so much on technology, but I see why they find comfort in technology. It seems easier to them. I know when I was younger I was always so attached to my phone or computer and I thought that those were some of the most important items that I could have where I would have a voice to say what was on my mind. I know now that it’s not important, because I’ve seen how obsessed others are with social media and technology. I do like the fact that these individuals have an easier way to express themselves, but I also think that distancing oneself from social media every once in awhile to socialize in person.

People post online for many different reasons. To inspire. To learn. To be heard.

I write to express myself. Why do you blog?

Do We Represent or Present?

When I first heard this question, I really had to think of an answer. I really didn’t know the difference between representation or presentation when it came to a person. After reading Jill Walker Rettberg’s article it really opened my eyes on how people use social media and how they portray themselves in the process. Below are definitions of representation and presentation as used in this article.

Rettberg defines representation as:

An object, a sign that is seen as constructed in some way, and that stands instead of an object to which it refers.

Things can be represented by sounds, word, images, and objects. Rettberg also brought up Stuart Hall’s book Representation, describing that people believe that representation can only be of three things: reflective, intentional and constructive. These representations can be also be interpreted differently depending on what platform they are posted on. An example of this could be if a picture posted privately to a social media account or if a picture was posted on a public platform like a newspaper.

Rettberg also went on to say that every representation has connotations linked to it, that is, ideas or meanings that are laced within certain aspects of a picture.

Rettberg also defined presentation as:

An act, something a person does … Allows us to analyse the way that the person acts to present themselves.

I also looked at this Huffington Post article and it got me thinking of how these terms play a role in how individuals use social media. This article talked about how people want to portray their ideal self instead of how they actually are. I think that this could potentially be accurate because I know that I don’t portray all of my characteristics online and I usually only highlight a few characteristics that I like. Specifically, the article went on to say that one’s actual self is their actual characteristics and that one’s ideal self is what a person feels that the should be.

I know for me, that I tend to sugar-coat my life when it comes to posting online, especially when it’s posted publicly. I have noticed that when I post onto places like Facebook, where I stay connected with my friends and family, that I am more open to posting different things about my life that maybe I’m not super happy about.

Now, looking at social media more closely (particularly at blogs) I have noticed that I’m more open in terms of my tone and different things that I talk about that I wouldn’t usually on other social media platforms like Facebook.

Personally, I think that I present myself on my blog, rather than represent myself. When most people see me they think that I’m quiet and shy, but online I represent myself as a talkative person that could joke with strangers. Now truthfully, I am talkative (people who know me know I don’t shut up) but having a blog to express myself and my identity has helped me show that side of my self more than I would have on other cases or in real life.

I don’t change who I am on social media. Sometimes I don’t talk about things that I don’t want to share to the world. Sometimes I find it easier to express how I really act and talk in my blogs.

What about you? Does social media change how you portray yourself?

Social Media as Literature? Really?

When originally thinking of social media I thought of Twitter and I didn’t think that the things that are usually posted on there are anywhere near literature-worthy (yes, I’m thinking about all the memes). But reading M.W. Jacobs article made me think.

Jacobs talked about how with social media being so prominent in people’s life, the way in which they are commonly writing is changing. Instead of writing long pieces of work, people are now moving away from the Modernist way of doing things and are paving their own path in the writing world- creating a Minimalist literature.

Jacobs went on to make readers ponder if minimalist poetry could somehow exist, since people today are minimizing the amount of words that they use on social media outlets like twitter and with how they text. Even though people have a decent amount of characters to get their points across ranging from 160 characters to text and 140 characters to tweet, Jacobs goes on to show that they don’t use as much.

Currently, there are many online and social media platforms that have made users’ writing content even shorter. Take Vine for example, when it was still a thing, Vine moved away from writing and used videos instead, but only six second videos.

But it isn’t only social media platforms that are minimizing, advertisements are, too. The current writing generation seems to put less and less words into each post, using concise words to get their point across in a short amount of time.

Being that social media postings are containing less and less words, I don’t believe that they should be considered literary work. I think that social media has allowed writers to successfully get their point across quickly and consistently, but I’m not sure if they portray the same meaning out of the work to their readers as they could have if they had written longer pieces. Specifically, I am thinking of Twitter. They have limited characters that their users could use for each of their posts. In another college class, Web Content Writing, there was an exercise that we had to do where we had to make a passage from a Faulkner book and cut it down 30-50%. Now, to those of us who use Twitter, think that we can easily cut words out to make things more concise, but when we do that we lose the meaning.

I think that social media platforms like Twitter and Vine should not be considered a literary work, but I do think that other social media platforms, like Facebook and blog platforms, that allow people to write as much as they want should be considered literary work, depending on what kind of content they put out. If it’s meaningful or portrays stories or events, I think that they should be considered literary work, but if it’s just Facebook rants I don’t think that should be classified as literary work.

There’s a line between what should be literary work and what shouldn’t and I personally think that it has to do with the content that is put on each social media platform.

What do you think? What is the line that separates literary work from non-literary work?

Is Travel Blogging A Literary Text?

The words ‘travel blogging’ enticed me to read Matt Long’s article on his experience as a travel blogger and the challenges that he faced before he became a professional blogger.

When having to answer whether a travel blog should be considered a literary text, I can’t help but feel like it can. I looked up the definitions of literary text and according to this YouTube video, the literary theory is that anything that can be read is a literary work. Specifically, the video showed that things are literary if they portray a message.

In relation to the article that Long wrote, I believe that he portrayed a message of his hardships and led his readers throughout the story of his life, from a job that he didn’t enjoy to taking a risk and going after his dream job.

I think that since this article is longer and talks about his personal life with examples and grammatically correct writing, that it could potentially be classified as a literary work.

When I first saw that our assignment was to see if blogs and other forms of writing could be classified as literally work, I wasn’t really sure what my answer would be. I mean, blogs aren’t the same as Shakespeare or Faulkner, but it does show the stories of peoples’ lives, which is what some famous writers have done. I came across this post while trying to figure out the answer and it states that blogs are literary work, they just might not be as great as the famous literary works that most people know. Blogs aren’t fictional work, but they use words to tell stories, so I think that anything that has these types of meanings should be considered literary work.

I think that a travel blog is more of literary work than other blogs,  specifically in Long’s case, every place that he goes he has a unique story. I thought that it was cool to see that he wrote a story and illustrated it with his places to allow his readers to learn more about the places that he’s been to. I think that although this is just one man posting his experiences on the internet, I think that readers can learn things from his writing, so it should be considered literary work. I say this, because I personally believe that literary work portrays a meaningful message to it’s readers and that they get something good out of reading it.

Specifically to this blog, I think that it has a good possibility of being a literary work because the writer shares things with people that they might not have known before, and in that thought, readers will learn a more personal experience and information of a certain place than one might find in a text book.

I think that the reason why travel blogs are so popular and can be considered literature today is because it makes us feel something, the same way that Shakespeare’s work had on the people before us.

Commonplace Book

When I was reading Bob Whipple’s chapter on commonplace books and digital self-fashioning, I had many opinions that agreed with him.

At the beginning of the chapter, Whipple discussed how in the 19th Century it was popular to use commonplace books and that it was a place where people had the opportunity to record information that they found interesting or things that they wanted to try in the future.

It went on to talk about Lockridge and the opinion they had on commonplace books, thinking that they were “areas for individual identity formation, reinforcement and negotion” (99). By this, Lockridge simply meant that our writing tells us who we are and can tell and show us what we are interested in. I agree with this thought, because I know when I write, sometimes I don’t plan out exactly what words I will type on the page and then once I am done and go back and read it, sometimes I learn new things about myself and my thoughts on certain subjects that I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t physically write it out.

The chapter went on to state that visual commonplaces came about and resembled a scrapbook. Whipple said that people would post things of what they might want to do, be, or use in the future. I thought that this was interesting, because I know that I save pictures of workout goals that I want to accomplish and quotes of my favorite authors that inspire me to write more.

Whipple went on to talk about the digital commonplace book. This is the part of the chapter that really got me thinking. Whipple mentioned Jen Almjeld’s 2006 thoughts on this book, saying that these books were like blogs. The text went on to point out similiarities between blogs and commonplace books, saying that they both are keeping places for information and knowledge. I agree that these writing platforms are similar, though blogs don’t really hold information for future use like commonplace books do. Blogs usually are written for ‘the now’.

I was really suprised to see the differences of commonplace books throughout time. I shouldn’t have been shocked that commonplace books evolved from physical paper to physical pictures to digital to digital pictures. The same evolution can be said for newspapers, photography, etc. It didn’t click until they made a reference from scrapbooks to digital images that can be found on flickr, etc.

Whipple makes the claim that commonplace books show who we really are, like our passions, interests, and mentality. I agree with him on this thought, because I know that when I write blogs I allow others to know a little more about me each time. I also know that everything that I save, whether it’s a funny video, meme, pictures, or article that it has the ability to show others’ different sides of me, most likely my personality.

I never thought that everything that I saved could describe me (even if just slightly). This article made me think and realize that everything I post allows others to know me.

What do you think about Whipple’s claim?

Weblogs: The Change Over Time



Weblog: A personal and private genre that is available to a much larger group of readers, not all of them known to the writer.

According to Personal Publication and Public Attention by Torill Elvira Mortensen

When I first created my blog, I never truly realized how much history there was behind weblogs. I never thought that there was a time where people were limited to what they could post on their weblogs, or that they would have had to pick one of the weblog spheres.

When I was reading Torill Elvira Mortensen‘s article, I realized that weblogs weren’t always so free in terms of posting anything that you wanted without being labeled. Mortensen talked about how the public sphere of weblogs could be split into a literary sphere and a political sphere. I also thought that it was crazy that women excluded to write in the political sphere of writing, if being allowed to write at all. I mean, I know this is in the past, but I still can’t believe women were limited to what they could write about. Thank goodness the times have changed (slightly). Women were not the only individuals that were limited in weblogs when they were being created, those of different cultures and ethnicity were, as well, because at the time not everyone could afford access to create their own blog.

An example of this political sphere includes academics, which was seen as more significant compared to other blogs. One blog genre is known as commonplace books. This type of genre was popular during the start of Weblogs. Here is an example of a commonplace book.

I then scrolled across Rebecca Blood‘s blog and realized that once blogs became popular and more prominent on the Web, people were coming more open to all of the possibilities that weblogs brought. In Mortensen’s article there was a certain portrayal of who could blog, as it was written, “Now the most common Internet user is still ‘young, white, employed, well-educated, wealthier, and suburban”, but in Blood’s article it is hinted that more individuals of different cultures were able to make blogs of their own (given they had the resources needed to do so ex. access to internet, etc.).

Blood pointed out that Blogger really let individuals write about whatever they wanted to, because unlike other popular blogging sites in 2003, Blogger didn’t have any restrictions of what they could write about. With that amount of freedom, blogs could be about a variety of different things, like one’s thoughts, job, passions. According to Mortensen, these blogs were categorized between being a personal diary and a professional publishing blog. I think I fall into this category, I like the idea of being able to write about whatever I want to. Here is another a site that has a lot of bloggers that like to ‘diary’ blog. With this writing, people learn more about others’ lives more than ever before, though I’m not sure if that is a good thing.

When I started reading all of these articles about the history of weblogs I shouldn’t have been surprised at the restricting writing style that was set up when the first weblogs came about, the usual topics being about academics and other scholarly things. I thought it was cool to see the evolution of what blogs were and what they consisted of. Weblogs went from being controlled and limited to creating opportunity with individuals all over the world! Everything seems so close online, that I sometimes forget that blogs exist from places all over the world. It’s mind blowing how that works and how much I took it for granted before reading about how the Web was when it first started!

Weblogs are no longer for getting certain information out to the Web, it’s now a place where people can publish whatever they want and can communicate with people all over the world. Weblogs have certainly evolved from the time they first started, and I believe they will continuously change as time goes on.






Categories vs. Tags

Before researching categories and tags, I thought that they were basically the same things. I found out I was wrong.

Here are a few differences of categories and tags:

  • categories vaguely describe a post
  • tags describe a post in more details than categories
  • tags are specific
  • categories define general topics
  • categories are hierarchical (relationship)
  • tags are not hierarchical (no relationship)
  • tags create groups of content that apply to many categories
  • categories group similar topics together



Here are the links that I used to help aid my research:

WordPress Support

Amy Lynn Andrews

OS Training

WP Site Care


Reeling Them In

The photo above is mine.


It isn’t every January that there is a nice warm day to go outside and enjoy the weather, but this weekend was one for the books. The unusually warm air (in comparison to the negative temperatures that has engulfed me for the past weeks) led to a great weekend back home out on the lake.

Some of what I caught was small, but I got to spend some much needed time with my family. A win-win? Sounds like one to me!