Project Writeup

The Darker Side

How It Started

I was excited to start this five week project because of what I chose as the topic. I chose to write a blog about supernatural topics. I wanted to choose a subject that would have lots of possibilities and also one that would be really interesting. I wanted my posts to entertain the reader. They might also learn something from the posts, I know I did. Some of these topics have historical value. These are stories that have been passed on for years and years. It was really interesting to see that and do research on these topics.

This project will be to create a blog that shares posts about supernatural topics. The purpose of the blog will be to educate and entertain the reader on these particular topics.

How It Went

This project didn’t feel like a normal assignment but what I realized shortly after starting, was that it would be harder than what I first thought. Some of the topics were not as easy to find information on than others. There also wasn’t as many academic sources as I thought. A lot of the most interesting information came from other blogs or articles. I was surprised to find some good websites that actually had a lot of information on some of these topics. For example, in my post Bigfoot, I got a lot of interesting information from Animal Planet. Another example is the History website. I found a lot of good information for some of my posts on there. One of these posts was Roswell UFO Incident. The blog was more work than what I originally thought so I had to make sure I had enough time to work on my posts. I started making a schedule every week and picking my topics ahead of time so that I stayed on track.

I think that as I wrote more, I got more comfortable with it. My posts felt like they flowed better and I also started incorporating some personal stories and things like that. I never said anything about if I believed in what I was posting about. It wanted it to be about educating the reader and entertaining them. In the end I wanted them to decide for themselves if they believed any of it. I wanted to get them thinking about things. In the feedback I got from my classmates and others who have read my blog, it seemed like they enjoyed that aspect of it. They wanted to read about it and wanted to think about the possibilities so they could form their own opinions. I didn’t have a lot of visitors but I had more than what I thought I was going to have, which was nice to see. When I looked on the stats, my most popular posts seemed to be focused on aliens and the more scary topics. I’m not really surprised by that. These posts included Roswell UFO Incident, Men in Black, Werewolves, and Hell’s Gate Bridge. These topics were fun to write about but one thing I learned was that I shouldn’t choose a really scary topic about to write before I went to sleep. I tried to write those during the day.

I kept the blog organized. The posts were on the main page by date. I kept them categorized by what I considered them to be; myths, legends, folklore, or historical. I also kept an uncategorized category for the stories that were not really specified. They could be considered multiple categories or none at all. It was for the more stranger posts. This included my posts about extra-terrestrials.

One thing I decided to add to my blog was a weekly feature called Ghost Stories. I posted five of those. I got to add more of my personal experiences which made them fun to write. In my last post about that topic, I even posted a personal story and included a picture. That one was Ghost Stories: Part 5. In that one I talked about how some towns seem to have “resignated haunted places.” I shared the one from my hometown and included a picture of it. In my post Ghost Stories: Part 3, I also included a personal story that I thought made the post interesting.

How It Ended

This past week I had fun writing up these posts. I was a little sad because I knew the project was coming to an end. Some of the newer things I posted about were Werewolves, the Mothman, Ouija Boards, and Friday the 13th. The last week and a half I thought would be worse than it was. I thought I would feel burnt out or unmotivated. It was almost the opposite. I think some of my last posts were my longest and best written. I found some pretty interesting information on them which made them fun to write. Some of the posts I’m particulary proud of would have to be Werewolves, the Mothman, Shadow People, and Ouija Boards. I thought they would be really entertaining to the reader. My posts about Ouija Boards and Shadow People contain a lot of interesting information about the history of them and how they became what they are today. My post about Werewolves had some good information and also contained a lot of links to things that the readers would probably be interested in. I saved the Mothman for last because I thought that was a really interesting topic. There was even a movie made based on that legend. That posts tells the whole legend of the Mothman, how it started to how it ended.

I chose to write 4-5 times a week with my posts being 500-1000 words, not only because it was in my contract but also because I felt I had to, to do the blog justice. I don’t think these posts could have been under 500 words. Some couldn’t have been under 1,000 words. There was just too much to important information that was crucial to their stories.

I will be contracting for 250 points. I will be posting 4-5 times a week. My posts will be 500-1000 words. Each post will have a new topic. These topics will be well researched. These posts will contain links to the online sources I used and also possibly to other relevant information on the web. The blog will be well focused and organized.

Overall, I had a really fun time with this project. It helped me realize how fun researching can be. I think I have gotten better at that which will help me through out my career. Another thing it helped me realize is that these topics may not be factual but they are still important. These stories are a part of history. They are an important part of culture. These stories have been passed down generations. They have been inspirations to books, movies, tv-shows, websites, comics, etc. They offer an “out” of the world we know. They might not be factual but they inspire people to think about the possibilities and all that exists beyond what we know. These stories also contain a lot of different subjects, like science, history, and literature. I learned a lot from researching these topics and I think the readers will learn a lot too. I also think they will be entertained because I really enjoyed writing these posts. I plan to continue writing the blog about once a week because I really enjoy it and I think it will make me a better writer.

 

 

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Weekly Report #5

This week I worked on a few different things throughout my blog. I did my usual 4-5 posts but also went back and looked at my older posts. After looking at the feedback I received from some of my classmates, I turned to my blog to adjust some things. It was brought to my attention that in one of my posts I didn’t add links through out it, just at the end. I actually forgot to add them in. I’m really glad Kendra noticed and put it in her post. I was worried that I had forgotten other things so I went back and looked at all of my posts. I am glad I did because there was a few times I missed things. There was also grammar mistakes and things like that, that I missed the first time around. I also added in a few more pictures that I thought would add to my posts. It was nice to read some of my posts. I think they improved a little bit as I’ve posted more. I’ve noticed that writing them has gotten a lot smoother for me because I feel more comfortable posting on my blog. I think I have also found more of my voice, compared to when I first started.

This week I enjoyed writing my posts a little more because I included more personal stories in them. I think I am going to continue to add some personal stories in. I think it helps the blog and gives it a good balance so that the posts don’t sound overly serious or too formal. In my post Ghost Stories Part 3I talked about a place I’ve actually driven by and that is in Minnesota so I enjoyed that one. That post is also one where I included one of my stories.

Another topic I posted last week was Shadow PeopleI also had some fun looking up information for that one. There was just so much more to it then I had expected. I learned a lot of new things. There was a part about some of the brain’s functioning that I thought was interesting. I wrote a paragraph about that because I thought it might be interesting to the reader. I found a video posted about the topic on Youtube too. It was by a pretty popular blogger that I used to watch so I put that in the post as well.

My first post of the week was Men in BlackI thought this would be an interesting topic because of it’s popularity. There is even a film franchise with Will Smith in it. I remember watching the movies growing up so I thought it would be fun. It was a pretty interesting topic. I found out there are all kinds of people who believe in things like this. One of those people being Dan Akyroyd, from Ghost Busters.

My last post of the week was Bloody Mary. This was another post I included a personal story in. I remember this particular topic being pretty terrifying when I was growing up so I wanted to add something to balance this post out. I didn’t want it to be too creepy. In this post I also found out some information that I wasn’t expecting so that is always interesting. It makes researching the topic more interesting and enjoyable sometimes.

Overall, I enjoyed posting this week. I have more topics I want to write about so I am going to plan them out for the remainder of the semester. I know what I want to post about and I’m looking forward to doing some research.

Weekly Report #4

I think this past week of posting went better than the last. I posted two topics that were related so I think that helped with my organization. When I was researching for those topics, I could use similar sources. So far I have found a few websites that hold a lot of good information for some of my topics. I have used the sites Ancient Origins, Live Science, and Animal Planet multiple times as Roswell UFO IncidentRoswell UFO Incidentources of information. I also use Wikipedia a lot too. I use Wikipedia to get an exact definition of my topic first. That is how I have been starting most of my posts.

This past week I also started something new. I had an idea, that I could post some kind of ghost story every week. I made my first post for that– Ghost Stories: Part One. This way I will have a sort theme to post once a week. Besides this post, I will still be posting other random topics having to do with the supernatural.

I’ve found that after you get used to posting frequently, it gets a bit easier. For me, my researching and writing for the posts seemed to flow better. I think I was more efficient. I have a better idea of what kind of sites I want to look at for research and also where to get pictures for my posts. I also know how I like my posts to be set up. I have more of a system down now then when I first started. I started going by a schedule. I chose what topics I wanted to write about this past week ahead of time and I think that really helped.

One thing I think I should do is pick out more topics ahead of time. I know this is a pretty broad category so I want to make sure I get enough topics for each category on my blog. I also want to make sure I get enough information on each post so they don’t seem empty or leave the reader confused. At first I struggled with finding some good sources of information but I think things have gotten a lot better. There are some sites I will go to first to find information. The only problem is if my preferred sources don’t have enough.

Two of my topics this past week– Area 51 and Roswell UFO Incident weren’t exactly found on some of the main sources I’ve been using but I could still find some decent ones. Overall, I thought they were pretty interesting and entertaining topics to write about so I think the posts for those went well.

My other post for the past week was the Jersey Devil. That was also an interesting topic to write about but it was a little harder to find decent sources for. Either way, these topics  are not popular because of a factual basis, it is because of their interesting stories. My goal is to tell these stories on my blog based on what I read about them from other sources. My goal is to entertain the reader but I would also like to do that as accurately as possible based on the original myth, legend, etc. This has been a bit of a challenge but so far I have enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to posting more of these topics to my blog. I’m also looking forward to doing the studio tours this week as well.

 

 

 

Week Report #3

This past week I had some fun posting about new topics. I posted about The Loch Ness monsterHell’s Gate BridgeESP: Extrasensory Perception, and Siren.

I didn’t really run into any problems. There was just a few issues I kind of noticed. When writing about certain topics on one blog, I know that it is important to be consistent. I noticed once or twice that wrote things slightly a bit differently. For example, the works cited part of my posts. So I had to go back and change things to make sure they were generally the same. I want every post for the most part, to be about different topics but be consistent with the format of each post.

I also noticed that a few topics were a bit harder to find information on than others. Hell’s Gate Bridge was a post that took a little more time to research because it was hard to find different information. The majority of sites had the same information and there wasn’t a lot of information on each one. I had to search in the comments section of a site to really get some stories and background on the topic.

One other thing I noticed with my post Siren, is that there are websites with different information. Sometimes when researching, different websites have information that contradict each other so it was a little bit of a struggle to figure out how to incorporate it into my post. With a lot of myths and legends, their stories have been told for years so it would make sense that there are different versions and that people believe in different things. As long as I made sure to keep the information straight and also put in the post that the information can differ it worked out fine.

I didn’t have all of my topics picked out time this week. I don’t think this was too big of an issue but I do think that they would have been better if I had chosen them more ahead of time. I had to look up some ideas for topics at one point. In the future I want to avoid this. I think I will have more time to research it I pick these topics ahead of time; therefor making a better post.

This week I plan to follow a more strict schedule and do some research on the topics ahead of time to make sure that I can post about them in a way that will be entertaining and not overly time consuming. If there is a decent amount of information on them and the information is clear, I will continue research and start writing the post. I look forward to continuing on with my project this week and also seeing what my classmates have posted so far.

Weekly Report #2

I realized that I was supposed to post this report on Monday and for that I apologize. I was coming back from break and I missed it. Over the course of that week I had a lot of fun choosing different topics. One thing I did realize is that it was a lot more work than I had imagined. It takes a decent amount of time to do the proper research and write up the blog post. Not to mention citing the sources, organizing the post, and finding decent photos.

That past week I wrote these blog posts:

Bigfoot

Wendigo

The Banshee

The Leprechaun

One thing I decided to do was use Wikipedia as a starting point for most of my posts. If Wikipedia has a defintion on my topic, I put that first to sort of explain what it is. Then I continue on with more information from other sources. I think this has been a good introduction to some of the topics I’ve been writing about. They are not exactly the most factual or scientific topics so I think it helps to be able to post a specific definition. Especially from Wikipedia, because a lot of people have contributed to these pages so there is a lot of information added over time. The topics have been researched and this particular information is up-to-date.

I had fun posting about these topics this past week. I found out that Animal Planet actually had a lot of information on Big Foot. I was happy to find a good, well-known source of information. I was really surprised by a lot of the sources I found. When I was researching Leprechauns I actually found a website that had a live feed going. It was connected to a camera set up in a field of Ireland. I think the creators of this site were hoping to catch some supernatural footage. I used the same site for my post about Banshees and the Wendigo. It was nice to be able to use a source I was familiar with for two topics. I think this made it easier for research, it might have made it more time efficient. I have an idea of some of the topics I want to post next week but I might see what this particular site has on it first. I might try looking at some of the topics some of my other preferred sources have shared information on. I think this could potentially make my posts better.

I think I mostly just need to make a weekly schedule of when I want to post. Some topics take more time so they need more than one day. Some topics also need more sources than others just like more topics take more research time. I plan on picking topics in advance based on those factors for certain days of the week because some days you just have more time than others. I don’t plan on missing any weekly reports from now on. I will put reminder on my phone just in case. I am looking forward to continuing on with my project and reading what my classmates have posted so far.

Weekly Report #1

This week I started my blog The Darker Side. I really enjoyed setting it up. I liked getting to choose the theme, color scheme, and font. I had a little trouble setting up the menu the way I wanted it to be. When I went to edit it, it showed the other categories I had on the menu but then when I went to visit my site they didn’t show up. It was a little frustrating but I think I figured it out. WordPress isn’t a super confusing site but I think if I hadn’t already created a blog on it at the beginning of the semester then I would have had more problems. I probably would have been a lot more confused. I wasn’t really sure how I wanted my blog to look exactly when I started. After experimentin a little bit with the different schemes I finally made a decision. I think the decisions I made will compliment my blog topics well. I wanted it to give off a certain vibe and I think it does that.

I made two posts so far. One was just to introduce myself and talk about what I want to acheive with this blog. I wanted the readers to know that I don’t actually believe 100% in the topics I’m writing about but I find them very interesting. My main goal is to entertain and also share some information on these interesting topics. The other was my first topic post, which is Bigfoot. It took me awhile to look up information but I had fun with it. I was surprised to find that Animal Planet had a good article on it. The article had a lot of good, interesting information in it. I hope people find the post entertaining. I know I found the research part entertaining. It is work but I did enjoy it. I think it’s better when you are really interested in the topics you are posting about. I think I had more motivation because of this. It didn’t really feel like normal homework. I wasn’t dreading it like I would a math assignment or chem lab homework. I plan to post three other times this week. I already have one finished but I have two more left to write. I already know which topics I will be writing about though.

All in all, I enjoyed starting my project this week. There was just a few minor difficulties but for the most part everything went really well. I think the process of posting will also get better the more I post. I’m still getting used to how it all works and how I want my posts to be organized. I’m still wondering how I should be doing the works cited part of my posts but I have a pretty good idea on what I would like it to look like. But I’m looking forward to learning more and continuing on with my project this semester. I’m also looking forward to looking at the blogs my classmates have created.

Wikis

I think the assignment to take notes on my wiki went decently well. I took a class last semester and we used wiki so it wasn’t an entirely new thing to me. I don’t think I know enough about them but I know enough to get my work done. I think that is why I liked this particular assignment because I got to learn about them a little bit more.

I think wikis are extremely useful. I think it’s cool that it is kind of a community thing. People can add information to a page and it helps people gain knowlege on a particular topic. I’ve heard from a few that wiki isn’t always a reliable source for information but I learned after reading some of those articles and posts that it is actually a lot better than some people might think. Wiki does have rules and regulations. Some wikis are monitored. It’s not about strangers typing in random information. These pages teach and have value.

I appreciate how wikis are set up. They are definitely a different kind of writing. I like how the text is seperated into sections by headings. I like that there is a little more free range with form and style. The headings don’t have to be so boring. They can ask a question, for example. I also like how there are pictures through out. I think this keeps it interesting and also compliments the content.

After reading this assignment I definitely learned more about wikis. I don’t think I know nearly enough but I’m looking forward to learning more.

What do you think about wikis? How often do you use them to get information?

 

A Long Weekend

This past weekend I left Bemidji and drove all the way to Chicago for a few days. A friend of mine that I have known since the first grade had her 21st birthday so I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I promised her years ago that I would be there for it. I packed up my car early in the morning and left for the windy city. About 11 hours later I arrived. It was probably one of the longest days of my life. Even though the drive was long and boring, the trip was well worth it. I drank a good milkshake at a diner down the block, played pinball at a cool bar called Replay, and ate some deep dish pizza. This was the second time I have been there in my life and it probably won’t be my last. I’m glad I went for the weekend and I can’t wait to plan my next trip there. It was kind of a bummer driving back on Sunday, knowing I was coming back to school and other responsibilites but it also feels good to be back. It was a nice break from everything but now I’m ready to start the week and tackle all of those responsibilites.

 

Stella's

 

Social Media and Your Voice

I was reading Danah Boyd’s article “Am I a Blogger?” and it really had me thinking about things. Boyd talks about how having a blog is a really great thing because it can give you a voice.

What my blog is to me and to others has shifted tremendously over the years. For the first five years, my blog was read by roughly four people. That was fine because I wasn’t thinking about audience. I was blogging to think, to process, to understand. To understand myself and the world around me. – Danah Boyd

She said it helped her because she could express herself and organize her thoughts. Her blog started out as something she just did for herself. She didn’t try to connect with others or really join the blogging community. She blogged for herself. Then her blog grew and it became an important one in the blogger community. Blogs can be important and useful to others. It can provide good information and also connections. Blogs are not only good for the readers but also for the bloggers themselves.

I’ve spent the last decade studying teenagers and their relationship to social media — in effect, their relationship to public life. Through the process, I’ve watched many of them struggle with what it means to be public, what it means to have a public voice — all in an environment where young people are not encouraged to be a part of public life. – Danah Boyd

It is good for people to have their own voice and be able to share their thoughts however they wish to. Blogs and social media are great ways for people to have a voice but in their own way. They can choose what they want to share and who their audience is. They can put their accounts on private or only add certain people to be connected to their accounts. They can share pictures, videos, and posts about whatever they choose. They choose what they want to show the public or their “audience.”

Participants have a sense of audience in every mediated conversation, whether on instant messenger or through blog comments. This audience is often imagined and constructed by an individual in order to present themselves appropriately, based on technological affordances and immediate social context. – Marwick and Boyd

There are tons of places online where people can share their voice. There’s Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Word Press, Tumblr, etc. In Marwick and Boyd’s article “New Media and Society,” they talk about how people often post for a specific audience in mind. This particular audience may not even see or read the post but it can still be helpful to the person who is posting. People can feel like they are getting their thoughts and opinions out. They are sharing what is important to them, which can be benefical to them and even therapeutic at times.

Vine used to be a part of the social media community. People could post six second videos. A lot of people would share snippets of their life, a lot of these things would be considered comedic. A lot of the people posting on vine became sort of famous in a way. I watched some interviews of people who got some fame from posting their videos on vine. A lot of these people said they were just kids trying to share they humor with the world. They said they didn’t have a lot of friends so this was their way to connect with the world. There was a lot of positive feedback and it made a great impact on their lives. They got the chance to share their voice with the world and they were bettered from it. I think that is pretty cool. One of these Vine stars is Liza Koshy. She is pretty famous now and her career has really taken off after she started posting on Vine a few years ago. Another one of these famous Vine stars is Logan Paul. Although he was involved in a recent scandal which you probably heard about on the news, he has had a pretty successful career after being able to share his voice on the web.

Does you think it’s beneficial to share your voice on the web?

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