Multimedia Elements

Multimedia, when broken down, is the use of two or more forms of media to convey a message or enhance artistic expression, but how does it enrich our messaging practices and capabilities? The utilization of multimedia in items such as a blog take the standard written page and illustrates it in new ways, making work come to life with various visual elements that further emphasize the content of the textual material. It oddly reminds me of Harry Potter and the moving photos in the Daily Prophet. Though our current paper-based newspapers fall short of such liveliness, in a sense, we can achieve moving news through the use of online multimedia.

Commonplace media choices are images, like photos or infographics, because after all, a picture is worth a thousand words (Smith, 2013, para 9). A photo can convey more than any written word can like this one, the iconic 1989 photo of the unnamed man who in an act of defiance stood before a force of Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square (Widener, 1989).


Videos and slideshows can be effective when wanting to disseminate a longer message or a greater amount of material. Oftentimes slideshows are used when there are numerous photos involved as it greatly decreases the amount of space needed on a page to showcase all the images (Smith, 2013, para 12). If given a choice between reading and watching a video, most people would choose the video, which is why this choice of media, if done right, can easily make content much more visually appealing (Smith, 2013, para 13).

Another great tool is audio, like podcasts. Audio media affords the continuous flow of information regardless of local. Driving commutes and work schedules can make it difficult to experience other forms of multimedia that require visual attention. Audio content can also appeal to demographics suffering from vision disturbances and disabilities (Smith, 2013, para 16-17).

Everyone is a different style learner just as everyone has different esthetic preferences, therefore there is no one right choice of medium as different multimedia techniques will appeal to certain masses over others. Since I am a sucker for a good crafting blog, lets use one of those for example. While some can understand a text-based step-by-step guide, for instance, a crochet pattern, others may prefer the implementation of multimedia elements such as photos, audio clips, slideshows, or videos in order to help enhance the understanding process and learning experience all while appealing to different learning styles such as visual, kinesthetic, and auditory. In order to select the most effective multimedia tools one must bear in mind their audience, their message, and their ultimate goal in order to choose the best elements that harmonize the media with the content.


Widener, J. (Photographer). (1989). Tank man [Photo]. Retrieved from:

Smith, M. (2013). Why multimedia blog content is good for your site. Retrieved from:


Blogging “Best Practices”

This week I have chosen to analyze the functions and substance of Seth Godin’s blog as a form of writing and information delivery. Seth Godin is a best selling author who writes about marketing, the way ideas spread, quitting, leadership, and changing everything (Godin, 2015).

I love Seth’s blog as it serves as a personal daily inspiration for me to get up and go make something happen, instead of waiting in the recesses with my hand impatiently waving in the air for someone to finally pick me. But what makes his blog so great?

In my opining, when creating a blog, the “best practices” to utilize in order to ensure appropriate form, function, and substance like Seth’s are:

  • Creating Relevant Content (not perpetuating hate speech or other unproductive substance; keeping content in align with the purpose of the blog, adding meaning)
  • Establishing Authority as an Author/Blogger (show you know your stuff!)
  • Consistency and Frequency of Posts (the more effort to maintain content regularly will help produce a regular audience)
  • Timing (producing content relevant to time such as specific holiday ideas)
  • Ethical Practice (heed professional publishing ethics/guidelines)
  • Writing Style that melds with Subject Matter (keeping the material entertaining, informative, and understandable)
  • Engaging with Readers (not just answering questions and comments, but incorporating your readers wants and needs)

Seth Godin’s blog meets these personal “best practices” through his excellent use of consistency and frequency, creating content relevant to his brand and authority, all while engaging readers with short, beautifully articulated and ethically written, daily posts that are geared toward self-improvement and responsibility.

In reviewing my own blog after determining my stance on best practices, I feel my blog is slightly lackluster. Though I am creating relevant content (fulfilling graduate assignments) and adding in the element of self-reflection often. My consistency lacks as well as my authority on the subject matter because I’m still in my infancy of a solid communications education. I currently lack readership, therefor I lack engagement. My writing style fluctuates, which has its pros and cons; sometimes harmonizing with the content, other times distracting. Quite honestly, I could stand to improve upon all of my personal “best practice” opinions.

As a blogger, when posed the question: If there were an official “Blogger’s Code of Conduct” would you read it, follow it, and find it useful? I’d like to think that I would. But one never truly knows what they will do in a given situation until they are faced with it. I wish to avoid legal troubles as well as unethical contributions to the world. That leads me to believe I would follow such guidelines. However, I am also an out-of-the-box type thinker and doer, which could potentially lead me to make certain choices that challenge the system, instead of following it.


Godin, S. (2015). Bio. Retrieved from:

Testing New Media Tools

This week I was challenged to choose three New Media Tools I have not used before and try them out…Emphasis on the challenge of trying to find one that I have not used! Turns out, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought.

My first tool tested was: Zeemaps

This app is considered a mashup, combining data from more than one source into a single tool (New Media Tools, 2013).

My Experience: I chose to make a map personal to my own story, starting in the location of where I was born to all the places I have lived so far in my life. I called my landmarks “Stepping Stones” then linked all of them together to give me a better visual. The free version of this application is fairly basic allowing you to add plot points one at a time, while a paid membership affords luxuries like group editing. I realized I made an error in my naming of plot points and I had to go back one at a time…all 12 times…in order to fix them.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 3.48.11 PM

(a lot of homes along the way!)

I think audiences that want to better visually make location connections or visibly show reach, this is a neat application, however, I don’t see this app as “shiny and cool” or useful for the majority of the online media application community as its functions are limited.
My next tool tested was: Vine

My Experience: Agitation quickly set in as signing up for Vine on my computer was no simple task. Perhaps user error…Most definitely user error. (I consider myself rather technologically dis-inclined!) I ended up having to grab my iPhone and sign up via the apps on my mobile device, as it was proving impossible for me to figure out my computer’s major malfunction. But once I figured out the sign-up process rainbows exploded from my computer screen as butterflies wafted about.

To test, I made my very first Vine! A ridiculous video featuring my ferocious princess, Lexi, who maintains the most priceless expression of, “What the heck are you doing, mom?” as I oddly question what she is staring at. It certainly made me giggle watching the Vine loop a few times, but it serves no “real” purpose, other than to amuse me now. Take a look at the Vine here, if you so dare. Fair warning: You should probably turn down your volume a pinch and a half, it can be surprisingly loud!
While my own Vine may not prove to be useful for much, this application has the capabilities of benefiting multiple audiences for multiple purposes. This app has time-lapse capabilities, affords for the creation of content, character and/or story in short, six-second clips. With such a short timeframe to deliver a message, I find this application very unique as one can say so much with so little, and this tool captures that concept.

My last tool tested: Instagram

Social networking site where photos can be used to share and convey a variety of messages, market products and/or people, among other new media applications.

My Experience: Like with Vine, I had some technical glitches trying to sign up on my desktop and had to resort to the cellular device to work my way back-front-sideways around the problem. I created an account, took a couple of photos and played with the filter settings, but chose not to post anything yet to this particular site. Instead, I chose to find some people to follow that suited my current interests: crocheting!

Find me on Instagram here.

Not only can Instagram afford one the opportunity to share their personal journey through various rose colored glasses, I mean filters, it can also share and promote goods such as various monthly subscription box programs that give fans the chance to earn prizes while participating in social media contests, creative challenges, and other means which generate audience participation; A great marketing tactic!

While these were fun new tools to try, I do not foresee myself becoming too attached to them anytime soon.


New Media Tools. (2013). Retrieved from:

Oconee County Observations

This week, I’m evaluating the quality and credibility of the Oconee County Observations website and blog which can be found here.

This site is authored by Lee Becker (2015), who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in Mass Communication, as well as a Masters in Communication and a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Kentucky. Due to the amount of education Mr. Becker has, as well as his thorough work with the Oconee County Observations website, I would consider him a professional journalist.

This blog is one of Mr. Becker’s hobbies, as he notes in his Blogger About Me section. Having lived in Oconee County since 1997 with the expectation to retire there as well, Lee Becker has a vested interest in the area; so naturally, I feel there is the potential for bias. However, I feel he does a fantastic job of delivering a balanced perspective on county news and information, striving “to be accurate, fair and transparent (Becker, 2015).”

The writer of the Oconee County Observations website does well to adhere to the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Code of Ethics. Not only does the author take steps to verify information through multiple sources and references, he does so on a very professional level. Becker (2015) states, “I want to tell how I learned what I have learned and be clear about any role I have played in what is being presented.” To me, this is transparency and truthful reporting at its best, playing right in to the SPJ’s guideline of seek the truth and report it (2014, September 6). The author identifies sources clearly, takes responsibility for the accuracy of his work, provides relative context and access to source material, and does well to not distort the facts, making Mr. Becker’s contributions to the digital world professional, reliable, and credible.

There are unprofessional professionals and professional non-professionals. So do I think it really matters if someone reporting the news is labeled a professional or not? No. But I do think anyone who chooses to report the news, from Brian Williams to Joe Schmoe sitting behind his computer blogging, should still uphold themselves to certain ethical and professional standards. For instance Mr. Becker’s intention is “…to offer a balanced presentation that recognizes different points of view and portrays the people involved with respect (Becker, 2015).” Mr. Becker is guided by professional principals in his practice, and it most certainly reflects in his work.

To a point, I do think everyone should be held to the same ethical standards regardless of their professional classification in order to maintain a more “professional” and empathetic society. At the same time, could you imagine enforcing those ideals!? Those who do not adhere to ethical standards, I feel, will root themselves out eventually, ruining any credibility the author may have had.

The rise of citizen journalism and bloggers has indefinitely changed the way in which we send and receive knowledge. Freelance entity sources such as these can offer instant and/or differing perspectives on a given story, often without the agenda of large scale broadcasting companies like CNN or those in power, as well as touch on aspects of a story that may or may not have otherwise been considered.

I wouldn’t be surprised if twenty years ago the infamous inside joke of “Everyone’s a writer” existed. With the development of the Internet, now anyone with access can be. This capability affords a great amount of advantages, but also disadvantages. Often with new or “non-professional” writers, they can offer fresh perspectives, ideas, and resolutions. That’s not to say professional writers can’t do the same thing, but many new writers come to the table almost as a blank slate, especially those with no formal education in writing or journalism. While a blank slate can be great, it can also be a disadvantage as bad habits can be picked up just as easily as the good ones if not careful. I also think new writers may be more likely to push the envelope, reminding us that we are all human and make mistakes. In some cases, a little push is needed, but when not tempered by professional and/or ethical standards like those set forth by the Society of Professional Journalists, writers can just as easily go too far and dig a proverbial hole that can be difficult to escape.

Like starting out as the low man on the totem pole, establishing credibility is a climb. “Non-professionals” have the same choices to make as “professionals” in the realm of reporting, i.e., showing good judgment, assembling information for balanced stories, not biased, and following certain ethical practices that give authority to an individual. By avoiding amateur reporting devoid of conscious, the “non-professional” can quickly find himself or herself in the “professional” category.


Becker, L. (2015). Oconee County Observations. Retrieved from:

Society of Professional Journalists. (2014, September 6). SPJ Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

“Report Now, Apologize Later”

After reviewing the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics, I do think today’s modern trend of “report now, apologize later” by news agencies is a violation of these professional guidelines.


I also understand that a story can evolve over time thus altering previously published news on a given situation. The problem is, I feel, some news sources try to use that to their advantage and tend to be more complacent with their reporting from the get-go, knowing that they can just type up a new document correcting information, redacting other information (with a note of “My bad! I fixed it…here’s the real story.”).

It’s strangely feeling like George Orwell’s ‘1984’! Why are people not more terrified by this!? <shudders as goosebumps appear>

According to the SPJ, journalists should: Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work, verify information before releasing it, and use original sources whenever possible. Journalists must also remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy, according to the Code of Ethics. By “reporting now” and “apologizing later” news agencies are fostering a reporting system based on urgency instead of truth.

The question that remains is as a society, should we expect, nay, demand more evidence to verify information before it is reported to us? Should we demand truth over urgency and immediacy?

I’ve always felt that responsibility is doing the right thing for the right reason, even when no one is looking. That’s not to say I haven’t made my fair share of oopsies! No one is perfect, but overall I feel we’ve lost sight of personal responsibility and accountability here in America. (Quite frankly, it’s a humanity-wide problem, not just culture based.)

Quantity vs. quality is unfortunately our current society trend, placing the highest value on ratings and number of followers generated above all else. With the Internet giving anyone with access the capability to be a “journalist” in some fashion, it has become a rat race to respond to accident scenes and report the footage as though second graders trying to compete for the first spot in line. It’s quite disappointing.

It seems the inclination of “first responders” now is to take pictures, tweet, instantly broadcast an accident scene (and other varying types of situations like live tweeting airplane shenanigans) instead of offering aid or calling for emergency assistance. It’s as though there is an absence of thought on the potential ramifications of hasty and/or negligent reporting and as a society we should expect more from ourselves, and one another, in order to alleviate this current trend.

There’s no one person at fault for this situation. In a sense, all who participate in media, whether creators or consumers, are to blame for this situation. <Raises hand incredulously> The beast [media] sets the bait , the bait hooks us, and we feed the beast. Technology has afforded us the opportunity to report in new and immediate ways and users have taken advantage (sounds Tronish), fostering an “immediate gratification” society with shortened attention spans. As citizens, we should demand more from our news agencies when reporting, but ourselves as well, as we have the power to influence one another. We’ve created a perpetual cycle of “report now, apologize later” and whether it’s due to desensitization or a failure to care, we’ve implicitly accepted this reality by feeding the frenzy.


Society of Professional Journalists. (2014, September 6). SPJ Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

Sources, Credibility, and Social Media

This week in graduate studies my eyes have crossed ten times over due to research, covering the breadth of the First Amendment, discussion boards on the First Amendment, research, a paper on ‘Freedom of Expression’, more research, a journal assignment with the topic of the development of freedom of expression…

I’m freedom of exhausted over this week’s topic coverage.

While that’s just my ethics class (“But wait…there’s more!” Billy Mays, may he rest in peace), my Knowledge & New Media class has me focusing on credibility of resources via my newfound favorite assignment…a blog post!

I chose an article from The Huffington Post titled ‘Sea Levels Along The Northeast Rose Almost 4 Inches In Just 2 Years: Study.’ Written by James Gerken (2015), this article is packed full of data from multiple sources detailing the rise in coastal waters and the call to action to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, with the estimated threat of a rise in water by 6 feet by the end of the century, which could cause city-wide flooding issues in locations such as New York.

Now, it’s time to determine the credibility of the sources referenced, and subsequently, the information.

Gerken does well to express his authority on the subject matter presented in the article, rightly so as he is the Green Editor at The Huffington Post. The article references over a handful of sources to back up the authorial claim, or in this case, call to action, which include the University of Arizona and the National Oceanic and Atmoshperic Administration, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate, Mashable, Nature Communications, New York City Panel on Climate Change, and study coauthor, Jianjun Yin.

Wow, that seems like a lot…I think the author may have been trying to make a point!

University of Arizona. Credible? Check. This is a professional educational institution poised to deliver trustworthy facts. Then there are sources that can be considered special interest groups, for instance, the New York City Panel on Climate Change and therefore tend to be biased. However, there is a good balance of source types utilized by Gerken; all supported by thorough data obtained through a study conducted by researchers from a well-known and respected university.

While this article is tied to The Huffington Post, a fairly trusted news source, it is not the only means in which to get reliable information. The Internet is an information goldmine that offers a nearly unlimited supply of knowledge, created by professionals and the novice alike. Which leads to a question posed this week: Do you trust information originating from “non-professionals” such as bloggers?

Perhaps a better question would be: Do I trust information originating from professionals?—given the latest scandals like those involving Brian Williams.

Let’s re-rail this train and get back to the point.

My answer: In many situations, yes! I’m a closet crafter (i.e., my embarrassingly obscene amount of crafts sit in a closet until a whim hits me to finally make something with them) and my latest kick is knitting.

Loom knitting (an apocalypse of yarn would take place if I attempted to use needles as well as unnecessary screaming and crying), to be precise.

I frequent several different knitting blogs and YouTube channels, some run by “professionals” others by every-day people just wanting to share their hobbies in new, expansive ways. The same can be said for blogs that cover different lifestyle diets like Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, etc., the content creator may not necessarily be a professional, but that doesn’t mean that the information provided is worthless, in fact, I’ve found some great recipes and dietary information from the quaintest of blogs.

With the frequency of inaccurate news media reporting, even information from credible sources can be untrustworthy. That’s why I feel it’s more important to approach material using media literacy skills in order to determine whether or not information is relevant, instead of automatically trusting or distrusting a source.

A tool that has helped influence the spreading and receiving of information, though arguable whether it’s for better or worse, is social media. Many Americans check their social media accounts multiple times a day, making them a perfect captive audience to ads, memes, posts, news links, and photos on a frequent basis. The Internet gave us instantaneous capabilities; social media gave us endless possibilities.


Gerken, J. (2015). Sea levels along the northeast rose almost 4 inches in just 2 years: study. Retrieved from:

Examining Media Use and Influence

Starting with the sound of an alarm on my iPhone, invariably at 6:00am, 6:10, then every five minutes until 7:30 am, I begin my day with a repetitive snooze via my mobile device. As irritation surmounts due to more alarms going off I wonder to myself maybe I have a problem. Sleep fades from my eyes and alertness takes over, but vertical is not a position I want to be in, so like clockwork I type in my passcode and surf some of my favorite apps to further delay my interactions with the rest of the world. Feedly is my go to, followed by Tumblr (maybe George Takei posted something hilarious so I can begin my day with a laugh), maybe a little Words with Friends if it’s my move, if not, I’ll nudge my opponents Hey, I’m waiting here!

Another rogue alarm sounds…okay, I’m up.

To the shower I go with Pandora, usually my favorite Breaking Benjamin station, but sometimes Yanni, Dubstep, or if I’m feeling particularly brazen, Narcissistic Cannibal Radio. There may or may not be the occasional Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Adele, or other girl power music woven in the mix…<contorts face awkwardly as I stare up at the ceiling avoiding figurative eye contact> I exercise my shower singing skills to their max. Thankfully everyone has already left the house; their ears and sanity are saved. Another alarm sounds…How the? This needs to stop!!! End the madness! I hate technology right now! I rush to exit the shower and turn off every alarm ever set on my phone, I’ll turn them back on before I go to bed so the cycle will repeat…pfft. 

There’s one more song I want to hear before I blow-dry my hair and get to my day, so to YouTube I go. I love technology right now! With a snap I’ve forgotten already the self-created annoyance of perpetual alarm clocks because I have music on demand. With my morning routine complete, it’s time to make coffee and get to “work” (I’m currently a graduate student and stay-at-home mom). I find my designed spot in front of the computer—my coffee finds its designated spot on a mug warmer I got for Christmas that I can’t imagine ever living without—and with the tap of the spacebar the screen comes to life.

I should snapchat my coffee mug with some witty phrase before starting anything major. I don’t give into the distracting thought. Though something ridiculous like “Breakfast of Champions” seems fitting.

Email, homework tasks, personal projects, oh, I got a text let me respond, academic research, and job hunting occupy me for hours before I realize I haven’t eaten—perhaps I should set an alarm for that—and it’s almost time for the kids to get home from school.

On an average day, this is my exposure to new media. Once upon a time, over half a year ago, social media was included, as was an embarrassing amount of television consumption and candy crushing. Then, one day out of the blue I decided those forms of media communications were no longer palatable to my personal tastes and I made drastic changes. Most days I feel archaic, but am overall satisfied with my self-limited exposure to new media technologies…however, when Jarvis and affordable cleaning-lady robots become available on the market, I may fold.

I have a love hate relationship with media. (I’m starting to notice a pattern…) I love it when it entertains me and I hate it when it’s riddled with bureaucratic shenanigans. My empathetic nature usually can’t stomach much of what media, especially the news, has to offer. Even though I practice a lot of self-limitations, it does not make me impervious to indirect sources. For instance, I would have never known that NASA wanted to recruit candidates for a 70-day head-down tilt bed rest study were it not for my mom texting me a link to an article on Inquisitr. Then she told me they were paying $18,000 to participants and that I should look into it. The health nut and former massage therapist in me is saying, “Oh. My. The atrophy…not a chance!”

On days that I finally drop my hermit act—which could be misconstrued as bordering agoraphobic level extremes—and step out into the world to run vital errands, the radio becomes another means of inadvertent media bombardment. I usually get irritated quite quickly, so Pandora radio takes over. After two or three songs I’m reminded that I have the free app as ads and trailers play for different products.

As much as I would like to say media does not influence my perspective on world events, it does. In in many cases, without traveling directly to the source, media is the only means to obtain certain information one must digest in order to formulate a stance. Personally, the media coverage surrounding the devastating 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York played a great role in influencing my perspective. At the time I was a sophomore in high school and a captive audience; eyes glued to the tube with marginal media literacy skills. My perspective then and my perspective now are different in many respects, but both stemmed from the same source: Media.

When posed the question: Do you believe that the media has the power to tell you what to think about, but not what to think? My immediate response is I think it can inevitably do both. Media may not tell you directly what to think, but it can be a very powerful tool of persuasion, acting as breadcrumbs to a particular conclusion that the media set up like candy for Hansel and Gretel to their certain demise. Sweet, sugarcoated illusions.

The Role of the Media in the Construction of Public Belief and Social Change, a journal article written by Catherine Happer and Greg Philo (2013) published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology notes that media plays a central role in informing the populace about world events, and as such can shape beliefs, especially among individuals who lack knowledge or experience on the subject matter. A weatherman may report that there is a storm among storms blowing in from the East and to prepare accordingly. Many times I have seen pictures of store shelves emptied of food and supplies due to such impending threats, then the weather remains relatively normal. (In the end I guess it is better to be prepared than not, right?) The weatherman, generally viewed as a trustworthy source, can create and shape beliefs based on what and how he or she presents their report. The same can be said for news anchors and other forms of media.

The question remains are these positive or negative influences that help to shape beliefs? Well, they’re both. Just as violence in video games, television, and movies can be argued whether or not it has the capability to turn its viewers violent, exposure to such material can shape beliefs in regards to social acceptability, personal opinions, or in extreme cases, possible utilization of force. I feel most outside sources/stimuli have the potential to influence, but it is how each of us interprets the information that makes the influence positive or negative.

Perhaps the most notable information revolution began with the Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press. Authors Kovach and Rosenstiel of Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload (2010) discuss at length the component that led to an explosion of writing and reading, and ultimately a boost in practical thought, resulting in the transformation of Europe, the Renaissance, and Reformation (p. 15). Advancements such as the newspaper, radio, and television became means in which information could be disseminated and reach a sizable demographic. Similarly, the introduction of the Internet gave birth to a digital information revolution. As these informational routes have increased so has the power of media, having the control to inform, entertain, and influence on a global scale. With conceivably more individuals affected by media’s reach today than of fifty, thirty, or even ten years ago, our knowledge base has grown. Technological strides bridge access gaps and create new means to share and learn information while humanitarian advancements help us discern media with literacy and allow us to actively play a role in the creation of a global society.



Happer, C., Philo, G. (2013). The Role of the Media in the Construction of Public Belief and Social Change. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1). Retrieved from:

Inquisitr. 2015). NASA will pay you thousands to stay in bed for 70 straight days. Retrieved from:

Kovach, B., and Rosenstiel, T.  (2010).  Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload.  New York: Bloomsbury.