Author Archives: cmvisceglia

Writing Today and Tomorrow Final Draft

In my prezi project, Writing Today and Tomorrow, I wanted to look at what is really important when considering the future of writing. Throughout this module, I have come to feel as though the evolution of writing spaces, text and messages, and even writing itself are of secondary importance. These changes are all significant to the cultural and personal development of writers and society as a whole. But what’s more important and most important is that people just continue to write. I think it is more important that writing is valued than where or how or when people choose to write, because as long as writing is valued it will continue to evolve.

 

Final Draft: http://www.screencast.com/t/ueSegxyHou

Reflections: http://visceglia-tfwf2012-reflections.pen.io/

 


Writing Today and Tomorrow

For my prezi rough draft, Writing Today and Tomorrow, I took a look at the issues facing writers in a world that is constantly changing. I also talked about how a world that is constantly changing means that the definition of “writing” itself, as well as who is a writer, is constantly changing as well. Over, I come to the conclusion that these are important things to think about, but they are the wrong questions. What is most important is that humanity continues to find significance in writing, reading, and language.


A Week Without Facebook

I sit at my laptop, staring at the screen for a moment thinking: Now what? 

After a long day of school/work/etc., I need to vegetate. I have mindlessly checked my e-mail, Twitter, the news, and the fake-news. Usually right now, I’d be browsing the latest amateur photo-shoots or stupid memes hand-selected by my friends on Facebook. But I’m forbidden to traverse those addictive pages.

I close my computer, and read a book instead.

Going a week without Facebook was an interesting experience to say the least. Before I signed off, I left a message explaining the experiment, and telling my friends to find me on Twitter. Only one did. I know my friends aren’t big social media buffs, but it was a little disappointing. After being required to Tweet three times a day, especially after being deprived of Facebook, I was (and am) starting to enjoy Twitter the more I use it. It’s fun and challenging as a writer to be witty and meaningful while being concise. Going a week without Facebook pushed me to use Twitter even more, which led me to appreciate it more than I already did. 

In terms of being a professional, going a week without Facebook was good for me. At the start of this semester, I felt like creating a Twitter account was the equivalent of selling one’s soul (in fact, I put that in a Facebook status.) But having no other outlet to communicate with my peers for a week, I now feel more comfortable with Twitter. I’m delighted with this, because I am starting to see more and more how Twitter is and will continue to be a necessary tool for anyone who wants to have a successful presence in the world of writing. 

In short, One Week Without Facebook Experiment = Success. 


(Still) Getting Used to the Evolution of Writing and Tech

Before I was required to create a Twitter account for Intro to Writing Arts, I was required to do so for Internet and Writing Studies (IWS) with Professor Wolff. Now, we are also creating LinkedIn, Flickr, Diigo, and separate WordPress accounts in IWS. All this is for our “Integrated Social Media Presence” project, a project aimed at helping us create one pervasive, yet consistent, professional presence across the web. I’ve never even heard of Diigo, and I’ve never been on LinkedIn’s or Flickr’s websites. I was just starting to catch up in Intro, and now the overwhelming sensation of existing in the wrong century is starting to creep back.

In reality, I know it’s not all that bad. No matter what your desired profession (creative writer and library-science-guru, for me), having a professional online presence is essential. At least, that’s what they keep telling me. I’m still trying to convince myself that it’s true, not because I don’t honestly believe that it’s true, but because attempting to run all these webpages in a professional, coherent, and attention-grabbing manner terrifies me. I’d much rather just sit here writing (with pen and paper), or reading a book (printed and bound.)

So I must say, while I truly am frightened by the upcoming weeks and the new skills I will have to learn, I’m also excited. I want to be able to join this group of elite, tech-savvy geniuses who have their online presence ironed out perfectly and wrapped with a bow. Authors are now required by publishing companies to create and maintain their own websites. Self-publishing, particularly on e-readers, is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to sell one’s work. I want to know that these are things I am capable of doing myself.

I suppose it’s finally time to just put on the work gloves and get to work with the internet.


Are Game Designers Responsible for Video Game Addiction?

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Video game designer David Perry claimed in a TEDtalk he gave in 2008 that rather than improving the visual and audio aspects of video games, game developers were focusing on “emotion, purpose, meaning, understanding and feeling. …can a video game make you cry?” Their goal, according to Perry, was to create a gaming experience that mimicked, and even surpassed, real life. If you were to take a moment to step into the universe of World of Warcraft, The Old Republic, or a non-MMO such as Diablo or Call of Duty, you might argue their goal has been achieved. The question is: at what cost?

Perry’s own presentation included a 8-minute video description of life as a video game addict titled “As Real as Your Life” by Michael Highland. I found it incredibly interesting that as a game designer himself, Perry did not directly address this as a social issue. Many people still don’t believe that video game addiction is legitimate, but in fact the American Medical Association determined that 15% of America’s youth (or 5 million kids) may be addicted to video games. This is to say nothing of the 20-30 something’s, who are in fact the average-age gamers.

WebMD describes video game addiction as an addictive behavior, akin to gambling. Criteria to meet the addiction include:

“1. The person needs more and more of a substance or behavior to keep him going.

2. If the person does not get more of the substance or behavior, he becomes irritable and miserable.”

In 2010, a 16-year-old in Philly beat his mother to death in her sleep because she took away his play station. Obviously, not every gamer becomes so obsessed as to lose their grip of right and wrong, but there is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to those who have. So while gamers become more and more immersed in fantasy worlds and characters developed for them by designers, are the designers to blame when things go wrong?

As the creators of this new phenomenon, I think the game-designing community should at least acknowledge this growing addiction and its negative effects. For example, the fact that Perry showed that video to the audience, and then glossed over it, implying that he only hoped to create more addicting games in the future (and even stating he hoped his daughter would enjoy games) seems odd and irresponsible to me. They didn’t create this monster on purpose, but it’s still been created. Someone has to do something about it.


Twitter, Facebook, Spaces, and Limits

Twitter has always seemed to me to be the height of egocentrism. Why would anyone, even my close friends, be interested in what I’m thinking 24 hours a day? That’s why until this class, I fervently stuck to Facebook alone, and even then I went months at a time without logging on.

I told myself Facebook wasn’t like Twitter because there were so many more ways to interact with people. But really, instead of Twitter being a boiled down Facebook, I think Facebook is a glorified Twitter. For the longest time imaginable (until about two weeks ago) I absolutely refused to believe that any sort of serious writing could take place on either one. I’m willing to admit I was wrong.

I once took an autobiographical writing class in which we had to come up with a “Six Word Memoir” that summed up our entire lives. Mine, appropriately enough, was “wrong many times, admitted it once” (though, now I suppose it’s twice.) Trying to summarize my entire life in six words was one of the most interesting writing projects I’ve ever encountered. This is one of the biggest advantages of Twitter, and I would say the biggest disadvantage of Facebook.

Twitter forces you to be concise. Anyone can do that, but as a writer, you must also find ways to be witty, original, and provocative. You should make every Tweet meaningful and as intriguing as a six word memoir; even though your writing is confined, it should be crafted well enough to gain followers.

Facebook doesn’t place this limitation on you. You can ramble on for ages, and I must admit, the moment I see someone has posted something longer than a paragraph, I typically check out. Because of this lack of limitation, Facebook is a breeding ground for false information (way too many of my friends post way too many chain letters.) The one place I have to give Facebook credit is the Notes section. The ability for a writer to share a piece of creative writing, a personal story, or just some information with specific people is a great tool. You can draft, edit, repost – it’s a miniature blog on your Facebook, except most people don’t post consistently, and instead of trying to get followers, you decide who you want to see it by tagging them. This is the one advantage Facebook has over Twitter, the ability to share longer, drafted and revised works with a carefully selected audience. Twitter is challenging with its 140 character limit, but there are times when larger spaces are needed.


Do People Still Read?

“People just don’t read books anymore.”

I was walking down South St. with a friend, and my legs had stopped moving. Atlantic Books was utterly empty. Abandoned. Immediately, I pulled out my smart-phone and – attempting unsuccessfully to guard it from the rain – I googled “Atlantic Books”. The whole chain went under a year ago, apparently while I was buried alive in some used bookstore somewhere. It may sound like an extreme overreaction, but I began to panic. How did I miss this? Who will sell books down the shore? Is B&N next? I’m all for indie-shops and second-hand, but they have to come from somewhere.

“What’s wrong?” my friend asked.

“I didn’t realize Atlantic Books closed down,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said, “People just don’t read books anymore.”

Is he right, do people not read books anymore? After I graduate with my degree in Writing Arts, I’m going for Library Science. I’m going to spend my life writing and caring for books.. or at least, I thought I was. Can I still do that if only a few select others care about them, as well?

My friend later clarified to me that he meant only paper books. But whether he meant people don’t read anything anymore, or people only use e-readers, the fact is it’s just not true.

The Pew Research Center found in April, 2012, that “80% of Americans 16 and older say they read at least occasionally for pleasure.” USC Dornsife in conjunction with the LA Times also concluded in April, 2012, that 86% of Californians who owned e-readers still read physical books, and 4 out of every 5 Californians had read a book for leisure in the past month from the date of the survey. Oh, and people must still be heading to their local libraries for paper books, because the majority of US citizens aren’t aware that you can take out e-books now from most locations.

The e-reader is a fantastic technological and social leap, which is increasing in popularity. But paper books aren’t going away quite yet. The important thing is, whether you’re reading from a page or a screen, people are still reading.


Getting Used to the Evolution of Writing and Tech

Before this semester began, I knew very little about Twitter or blogging. From what I understood, unless you were a celebrity or possessed a truly unique skill, keeping a Twitter or a blog was simply the height of egocentrism. I had never considered either Twitter or the blogosphere as participants in the evolution of writing and the materials we use to communicate. But I have to wonder, as Bolter implies in “Refashioning the Writing Space,” if in the past, those who were partial to scrolls felt skeptical about bound-paper books. Progress and change are going to take place whether we want them to or not, so it’s nonsensical to refuse to partake.

Bolter’s mention of the malleability of the e-book particularly struck me. I was given a Kindle a year ago, and still have yet to turn the thing on. E-books are simply not for me, however, I think they are an incredible step forward in the book industry generally. Things can be done with an e-book that could not be done with a paper-book, and vice-versa. Aside from the obvious convenience factors of the e-book, the fact that it’s viewed on a computer screen makes it susceptible to coding. Theoretically, in an e-book you could insert videos, links, .gifs, sound effects, even those computer-generated coloring pages you paint with your mouse/stylus. The possibilities are entirely endless, and what’s so great about this is that it creates a wholly new, interactive experience. The reader can really become part of the story. How’s that for the evolution of the book?

But as far as “redefining visual and conceptual spaces” of writing and the “changing material and visual field” of writing, why stop at books and the internet? Why can’t writing enter into public spaces? In an article he wrote in 1999, British author Sean Tejaratchi stated “[i]f I see an ad without asking to, it’s [sic] images are mine to reprint and redistribute, with clearance neither granted nor requested. ..Why should I ask my assailant’s permission to keep a rock he’s just thrown at my head?” (Tejaratchi) I think this sentiment summarizes the way writing should evolve in the public square, particularly as a way (for those who so desire) to contest the constant avalanche of lies, hidden-truths, and advertisements we receive from politicians, news distributors, and corporations. This of course is where copy-write and libel come into play, but I suppose that is exactly what I’m talking about. The evolution of writing into new materials and new spaces is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to guarantee continued and deepened freedom of speech and thought, both of which are absolutely indispensible to writing if it is to evolve at all.

Works Cited

Tejaratchi, Sean. “Reciprocity in Theory and in Practice.” Crap Hound Jul. 1999: No. 6. Web. 13 Sept. 2012.