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Assignment #15 – Final Blog Post Submission

Pheew! The CT101 digital storytelling course has been a fun ride with its own set of peaks and troughs due to other personal engagements. I’ll look back on the weeks and corresponding classes and assignments that culminated into my writing this final blog post with a nostalgic feeling because I would say it was the first time in a long time when I was having fun and learning how to boost my creativity at the same time.

I will try to make this as detailed as possible without boring the reader.

The first weeks introduced me to internet happiness and how interactions in a virtual world can have positive real life effects. Especially when the events in the real world are all doom and gloom.
I learned that in the right space on the internet, we can find wholesome contents which can improve or lighten our moods.

Knowing about internet happiness significantly boosted my expectations for this course. It made me realize that digital storytelling, despite having been around for a while, is a niche that is evolving, that can be tapped into by virtually anyone and that can have a very huge, productive impact on a worldwide scale. Safe to say that I was hooked.

The fun continued with memes and gifs.
Prior to taking this course I had come across various memes and gifs on social media and besides laughing at the very funny ones I never really understood the artistic potential it possessed. This, I learned by reflecting on the question “Are memes art?

I learned the distinguishing factor between memes and gifs i.e memes are still images sometimes accompanied by captions which further enhances it as a tool for storytelling. Gifs are like memes in terms of expressing a particular feeling. However, it involves moving images like short videos. It can be used to express happiness, excitement, disappointment et cetera.
In the course of learning about gifs and memes, I learned how to find the precise meme or gif that best suited the thought or feeling I wanted to portray using various online sources, notably Make a Meme, Giphy and Imgur.

Going further, we were introduced to DS106 Assignments, a repository from where we chose two different assignments to replicate. I went for “Pop Star Out of Place.” I used Photopea to accomplish this. Photopea is like an online photoshop that allows image manipulations. My second DS10 project was to choose an unregistered company and brand their logo. I also achieved this using Photopea and Publisher.
The skill acquired here would come in handy in various aspects of digital storytelling because with it I can easily apply various images to tell any story I want to in a way that best shows my perspective.

The story of Aaron Swartz, The Internet’s Own Boy was very introspective and I frankly learned a lot from it. It delved into his strength of will and resilience to make the internet as democratic as possible. It also talked about the unending legal troubles he’s had to face in this quest.

By the midterm of the course we had already been taught how to setup a website using WordPress. The process was pretty straightforward.
First was to find a domain name that best reflected what your website was all about; it had to be something users could recall easily and it had to have very little or no resemblance to existing brands.
The next step after this was to register the domain name with a hosting company, for mine I used Reclaim Hosting. Then I went on to the WordPress dashboard to customize my website’s look on the front-end.

With the website all setup, we were taught how to add some more functionalities to it by using plugins.
I learned how to secure the contents of my website by simply installing and activating the “Really Simple SSL” plugin which changes the protocol from http to https.
I also learned how to display contents of my social media channels on my website.

For the next class we were asked to share and also look at our classmates’ websites. I looked at a handful but the two websites I talked about were macdeesauze.com and raaiwlou.com. You can find the detailed post about those two websites here.

The Vapor Wave aesthetic was the next stop in what’s been a fun road trip. We were introduced to Vapor Wave an art form that started in the early 2010’. Vapor Wave as a visual art style is an integration of several art forms which include; glitch art, anime, 3d renders of images, pixelated images and significant attributes of retro artworks.
The Vapor Wave is a daring art form which is basically what I liked about it but I was not impressed by the fact that it did not have a clearly defined method of art creation.

Our final class was focused on copyrights with specific reference to contents being created, shared, modified and re-shared on the internet. I learned about fair use policy and how it could be useful to protect both the interests of the original content creators and also the individuals who want to make use of their creations.

In addition, Larry Lessig’s TED talk video was very informative. He gave a detailed presentation on the impact of the internet, how laws affect content creation and sharing and how the younger generations can adapt to a world that is changing at an unpredictable pace.

Below is a link to Larry Lessig’s TED talk video

I frankly think I have fulfilled all the requirements of CT101 course and can proudly say that I am way better at digital storytelling today than I was at the commencement of this course. Taking into consideration the effort and commitment I exerted for the duration of the CT101: Digital Storytelling course, I think I deserve an A+ grade.

What I enjoyed about this class was ease of communication between the professor and his students. It created an enabling environment for learning with as little stress as possible.

I do think I will maintain the website I created. And I intend to do that by posting ad related content on it momentarily and also by updating my WordPress when necessary.

My new website is https://www.selladsonline.com.

The website is primarily used to enlighten readers about the importance of ads to businesses in a competitive world where it’s more necessary than ever to stand out to your prospective clients. The website structure is not hard to grasp, there’s the homepage, about page, blog and contact page.

Building the website was fun. The little challenge, if I would call it that was when I had to customize the structure.
Having a website is a very lovely feeling because I feel I can disseminate information about topics I’m passionate about to a wider audience. I can now digitally tell a story.

Finally, I would like to appreciate the efforts of all my classmates for the duration of this course.
And also, the professor, Ryan Seslow for his awesomeness.

It’s not been an easy year for well documented reasons but we did it.

Assignment #14 – Copyright

Copyright as defined on copyrightalliance.org is a collection of rights that automatically vest to someone who creates an original work of authorship – like a literary work, song, movie or software. These rights include the right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, and to perform and display the work publicly.

Knowing what copyright means would inevitably lead to the question, why is there copyright?

I would say that copyright exists to serve as a protection to an original piece of an idea, artistic creation or invention from unauthorized usage. In short, copyright allows the owner to choose the ways his/her copyrighted works are made available to the public.

In my opinion, I think everyone who uses the web and social media platforms should be wary of the contents they share and duly credit original sources or authors. This, while showing appreciation and encouragement to the original creators for their work also serves to bring their craft to a wider audience which can only be a good thing in the long run.

My opinions on how best to use and share content on the web brings us to the concept of “Fair use.” Fair use, according to this sub domain web-page from the Stanford University website is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “trans-formative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement.

The concept of fair usage is one that I really like because it means that the general public are allowed the creative freedom to make an adaptation of an original piece of art without altering it significantly and without alienating the rights of the creator. This also becomes relevant because there are ideas which are triggered by an already existing art forms and which could be more relevant to specific groups in ways the original art isn’t. For instance, using a less than 30 second gif from a movie to express a singular idea or feeling that could resonate even louder than the movie from which it was gotten from.

 

There were various insights I got from watching the Larry Lessing video but the bit that I considered most significant goes thus;

“The importance is that that technique has been democratized. It is now anybody with access to a $1,500 dollar computer who can take sounds and images from the culture around us and use it to say things differently. These tools of creativity have become tools of speech. It is a literacy for this generation. This is how our kids speak. It is how our kids think. It is what your kids are as they increasingly understand digital technologies and their relationship to themselves.”

This quote which was quite relevant at the time is still just as relevant now. Despite being a slight deviation from the topic of copyright it is still a very vital insight into content creation on the web and how these contents affects us socio-culturally. The internet and specifically social media is growing at a rate that we can hardly keep taps on and just like any form of growth there are implications and ramifications.

On the creative spectrum, I can say that the web has been a blessing. Kids now have access to tools that help them express their creativity easily and also make it available to pretty much anyone around the world. ”This is how our kids speak”

On the downside, it’s harder to censor the contents the kids have access to. And that could be a huge problem in the quest for these kids to “increasingly understand digital technologies and their relationship to themselves”

Assignment #13 – Vapor Wave

Vapor Wave is a sub-genre of electronic music. It is also a form of visual art and internet meme that emerged in the early 2010s. At its core, Vapor Wave as a visual art style is an integration of several art forms which include; glitch art, anime, 3d renders of images, pixelated images and significant attributes of retro artworks.

For a period of time, Vapor Wave aesthetics influenced aspects of mainstream music videos with Rihanna the most notable artiste whose music video contained known aspects of the aesthetic.

From the perspective of a journalist and also on a personal level, I cannot say I hate Vapor Wave as an art form because all forms of art are meant to be expressive and inspiring. So if it exists, then there’s certainly a creative edge to it. It’s bold as it’s daring. More importantly it works perfectly as a creative tool for storytelling.

That also doesn’t mean I like it either and that is for the simple reason that the sub-genre is not as clearly defined as all other forms of art I know of. Throwing some Renaissance era sculptures on a backdrop of dimly intense color(s) with some geometric lines and other random 3d images does tell a story but it’s just not the kind of visual art that I am accustomed to.

Photo was downloaded from https://netart.commons.gc.cuny.edu/galleries-exhibitions/vapor-wave-gallery/

So you can say that I am somewhere in between.

The Vapor Wave aesthetic is distorted at best with no clear rules or guidelines as to how to create art within its confines which I think is the point all along. Freedom of artistic expression with very little inhibitions.

Having said that, I think the Vapor Wave aesthetic didn’t last long as a mainstream art form because of this same reason i.e not being clearly defined.
A lot of criticisms on its style and substance and the fact that it didn’t adapt overtime means it’s now less a staple than it was in the early 2010s.

Assignment #12 – Sharing Website URL and Progress

As was required of us, I took some time to peek into the websites of my classmates.

The first website that really appealed to me was Louannie Smith’s raaiwlou.com. The site name “raaiwlou”, as I found out, is an acronym for “Read All About it With Lou” which I think is a sleek move.

The website was quite easy to navigate with a nice template but what struck me was how simple and effective the first post was.
Using very few words, the writer was able to introduce the readers to the website in such a way that it felt like they were having an actual conversation even when the writer was not there.  And when I was done, I did leave a comment (more like a thumbs up.)

The other website that I really liked was Mac-Dege’s macdeesauze.com.
On the website, pictures played a very significant role is conveying messages.
The first image that I saw when I visited the website was the image of a Nike Air Jordans with the wearer’s orange sock showing the words “EMBRACE CHANGE” Not so subtle huh?

The post that I really liked on the website was tagged “SNEAKERS AND MOVEMENTS”.

“Why?” you might ask.

The answer is simple; the title, which I think is a double entendre because aside the story that was shared on the post, we all know that sneaking is also a form of movement.

Assignment #11 – Movement and Motion

Social media is the principal and ubiquitous existence of the internet today and its influence just keeps growing wider. Your perceptions of its merits and demerits notwithstanding, you cannot deny that is has undergone an exponential growth over the years. A growth that is only going to increase as the years go by. Simply put, social media is inevitable.

Beyond serving as an outlet for sharing thoughts and expressing one’s feelings, social media is one of the biggest hubs of creativity and artistic expression.
From tweeting about a rival’s team loss with a corresponding meme to seeing a holiday photo with a cute husky on Instagram; from reading a heartfelt thanksgiving message on Facebook to watching a granny try new dance moves on TikTok, the stories being told on these digital platforms are so vast and imaginative.

Adrian CT101 assignment

All that being said, it only makes sense that one’s social media activity is tethered to their websites if they have one because there are some contents which could be relevant to the information being shared on the website. (A case in point; using gifs/memes to express one’s feelings in blog posts)

The first step as was taught in the Zoom class would be to go to the WordPress plugins directory in the back-end and search for the Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed. Once found, I installed and activated the plugin after which I proceeded to grant the plugin the access to my Instagram account and also customized the settings to suit my preferences better.

I also went further to install and activate the 10Web Social Post Feed which primarily displays custom Facebook posts on a WordPress website. The process was just as seamless as that of the Smash Balloon plugin.

adrian CT 101 social feed picture

In addition, I took the time to install the Really Simple SSL plugin, a tip that was shared by the professor before he delved into the social media plugins. It was pretty straightforward to do. The aim of doing this was to change the URL protocol from HTTP to HTTPS because it is encrypted and more secure.

ssl screenshot

ssl screenshot 2

Midterm Assessment

From Internet Happiness to My Expectations of this class, it has been a very exciting and informing experience. To me, Digital Storytelling is a very useful tool in the media world today, and more surprisingly, it involves many aspects of media that I didn’t know about before now.


First, the concept of memes was a very big revelation to me on how much engagement and communication one can achieve using memes. This possibly inspired one of our assignments – Are Memes Art? Obviously, I learned a lot from this exercise that memes can evoke certain emotions or feelings like love, anger, happiness or excitement. The process of blogging my response to this question could not have been complete without some of these resources – Make a Meme and  Giphy. From these resources I got the memes that reflected my response. This is a link to my completed project.

Meme example

 


 

Second, we also explored GIFs and their relation to the digital world. Similarly, GIFs are like memes in terms of expressing a particular feeling. However, it involves moving images like short videos. It can be used to express happiness, excitement or disappointment. Whether memes and gifs will completely dominate media communication, only time will tell. I also used Giphy for the resources. This is a link to my completed project.

 


 

Third, we were introduced to DS106 Assignments, a repository from where we chose two different assignments to replicate. I went for “Pop Star Out of Place.” I used Photopea to accomplish this. Photopea is like an online photoshop that allows image manipulations. My second DS10 project was to choose an unregistered company and brand their logo. I also achieved this using Photopea and Publisher. Below are the completed works.

My version of Pop Star Out of Place

My version of company brand logo


 

Fourth, the Internet Own’s Boy was another good revelation about Aaron Swartz.  His primary intention to make public many contents on the internet considered private publications got him into trouble but he did not quit, he was resilient until it led to his arrest and unending litigation. According to Aaron, “On the internet, everyone can have a channel, everyone can have a blog, or myspace page, everyone has a way of expressing themselves. And so what you see now is not a question of who gets access to the air waves, it is a question of who get control of the ways you find people.” This is a strong reflection of his passion. The documentary is very informing.


 

Fifth, we were introduced to the real situation of creating website where most of our works will be published. The first process was to choose a domain name and sign up with Reclaim Hosting. From here I acquired my domain name and went on to install the WordPress Application that will enable me to start working on my website. It was very fun experience as I was able to understand the backend activities of creating a website. Generally, I believe that WordPress simplifies the whole process of creating website for people with little or no knowledge of coding. The ability to choose and edit the themes give one absolute control of the contents. So far, I have been able to change my site title, color, images and few other functionalities. Here is a link to my site – www.selladsonline.com

My website

 


 

Generally, the class has been thrilling and more importantly, my knowledge and about digital storytelling has significantly grown. When next I receive a gif or meme on my phone, I will not only see images but read beyond the power of the communication. When next I see a website, I look beyond the physical designs but the backend architecture of of what went on before it’s completion. So far, I am having fun and learning in this class.

Assignment #9 – WordPress Theme Customization 1

After completing my domain set up and installing the WordPress Application, it was time to login to my admin panel (www.selladsonline.com/wp-admin). Once inside the admin section, the first thing I did was to select a theme I will be working with.

Choosing a theme

The good thing about WordPress is that it has some already inbuilt themes, from where one can further modify his or her website. It is very helpful especially for people with limited knowledge of coding.


I chose the Twenty Seventeen theme because the features are appealing to me. From the dashboard, below are all the features that enabled me change the site title, color, change the header image, and delete some sections in the homepage.

   

             


 

The greatest challenge I encountered was how to change other images in the background. I had to watch a couple of online videos to figure out I had to go to the page section from the dashboard from where I could make changes in all the contents in the pages.

Change background image

I used this process to change all the images in all the pages of my website. Before doing so, however, I had to go to pixabay to get free images. This is the first step of customizing my theme and I will continue until I realize all the features I want on my website. 

Assignment #8 – Setting up my Domain/WordPress

The thought of building any new project comes with excitement, especially when it’s in the field of art where there are no certain rules to follow except how far one’s creativity can go. This is how I feel about this part of our class project – creating a website using WordPress.

Before the actual process of creating the sites, there are certain procedures to set up the domain in a server and the application that will be used to create the website.

First, because I already had account with Reclaim Hosting, I decided to login to my account and get another a new domain. The image below shows my account section of the Reclaim Hosting from where I got a new domain. I ended up with www.selladsonline.com since I was going to teach how to sell social media ads and make money from small business or use it to promote one’s personal business.  I was surprised the domain name was still available.

domain

 

 


After getting the domain name, the next thing I did was to download the application WordPress because it is one of the most open source applications for creating website. But before downloading WordPress, I did not forget to add the domain identity protection so that my personal details do not show up online. Besides, it’s free so I had to use it.

Identity protection
Identity protection

 


After adding the protection, as seen below I downloaded the WordPress, and I was ready to go through the limitless boundaries of unleashing my creativity through my website.

WordPress

WordPress

After the installation, I was all set to login to my web admin section from where I will start adding contents to my website. It was a fun experience, and very exciting.

“The Internet’s Own Boy” A Story about Aaron Swartz

The concept of revolutionary campaign against some social, controversial standards is usually undertaken by men with strong vision, passion and unrelenting personality. In the case of Aaron Swarts, he believed he could change the world and indeed, he made a strong impact.

Aaron found it difficult to accept that the public should have to pay to access public information, journals and other public forms of knowledge. His available tool was internet, but above all, his motives are inspiring. Through out the documentary, Aaron could be seen as a missionary for public access to information. Not withstanding how he embarks on this revolution, one thing stands out most for me – his motives. It was not to enrich himself but to make as much information as possible available to the public at no cost.

As controversial as his approach looks, Aaron’s contribution to creative commons, his involvement in the scrap of the SOPA bill speaks to his legacy. According to Aaron, “On the internet, everyone can have a channel, everyone can have a blog, or myspace page, everyone has a way of expressing themselves. And so what you see now is not a question of who gets access to the air waves, it is a question of who get control of the ways you find people.” This is a strong reflection of his passion.

Eventually, towards the end of the documentary the shows how Aaron’s work stands justified – ‘Jack Andraka’s breakthrough pancreatic cancer test would never have come about were it not for access to online journals…’ This documentary sends a strong, long-lasting message!

Picking a Domain Name

According to fastcomet, ‘Domain names serve as a memorable representation of the content that we can find on a certain website.’ I believe that this definition simply captures to full meaning of domain names.

While choosing a domain name, these factors should be taken very seriously: How catch and easy to remember it sounds and how it reflects the contents of the website/company. These points simply define the true essence of a domain name.

Let’s look a practical examples. If a company that sells catfish in New York wants to build a website, imagine they choose a name like catfishnewyork.com vs whereyoucanbuyacatfishny.com. The first is short, catch and easy to remember while the second is too long to remember and out of place. This is how important a domain name can be.

Another important factor is that google crawls name based on keywords. It will be easier for catfishnewyork.com to pop up on google search.

For my project, I will be developing a Social Media Marketing Website. Therefore, I would be thinking of names that can easily pop up on google search, names that are memorable and names that reflect my web content.

Theses are my choices: Mediaads,  Socialmediahub, Mediacart and DigiHub.

Mediahub: This name is self explanatory and very short and easy to remember. Above all, it is in line with the subject of my website which is digital marketing.

Socialmediahub: Again, this is also a reflection of what my website is all about. More importantly, it is a catch term that can easily pop up on google and therefore it gives my website a good chance in google organic recognition.

Mediacart: The word cart is also one of most crawled words in google. It will help my website’s recognition, it’s easy to remember and fits very well in my subject.

Digihub: This is created from an abbreviation of digitalhub. I didn’t want  the name to be too long, instead I shortened it. However, it is short. It is my least in preference.

I will pick any of these, based on their availability.

 

DS106 Assignment – Part 2

This is my second project from the DS106 Assignment Bank. It has to do with branding. It is actually creating a logo for an unregistered company.

I chose this project because I am very interested in branding. I believe this is where graphic artists demonstrate a great sense of creativity. To fully achieve an effective logo, a good branding logo must have the following: Strong color choice, Memorable and Clear. I obviously took all these into consideration before creating this logo.

This is what the logo from DS106 assignment bank looks:

Below is what mine looks like:

This is how I created the logo: First, I chose the company to create the logo for. I decided to use color yellow because of its high sense of emphasis and attention. The I went to google to get a transparent delivery icon which can be memorable. To be able to see the effects of yellow, I knew I had to use a black background. The words ‘Fast, Safe & Reliable’ are used to express the professionalism of the company. The program I used for this is Microsoft Publisher.

I enjoyed the experience.

DS106 Assignment – Part 1

The DS106 Assignment bank has multiple options to choose from but I decide to go for Visual Project because I enjoy image manipulation. Of all the different projects, the one that caught my attention is “Pop Star out of Place.” 


 

The process was quite simple; first I went to google to choose a suitable background that will be very absurd for a pop star performance. Also I looked for a transparent PNG file of a pop star (Miley Cyrus) and a lion. Last week, I was introduced to a nice online image editing software – Photopea. I was thrilled with what I could achieve with the FREE online program.

 

I set out to recreate the Pop Star out of Place, I believe I accomplished that but at the same time the combination of different images I used on this assignment ended up producing varying stories and interpretations about the scene – that is digital storytelling.


 

The next project  I would like to try is under Design Assignments in DS106 Assignment Bank. It has to do with branding; creating a logo for a company with an unregistered logo.

Are Memes Art?

By definition, art is an expression of human creativity and imagination through visual form, which could include painting, films, graphics or sculpture. Eventually, the expressed creativity compels a particular emotion. If we are to analyze memes through the lens of above definition, one may right say that meme are art. To further buttress this, I will be exploring different memes that express varying emotions.

 

TGIF
TGIF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post above suggests the excitement that follows after a long week of working. It is important to observe that only the image would not have been enough to fully communicate this expression. Instead, the texts helped convey the meaning. In the same way, only the texts may not be enough to express the excitement. This is why memes are considered art, they help communicate a particular feeling or emotion.


 

It's Monday Already
It’s Monday Already????

 

The shock of Monday is real!

It's real bro, wake up!
It’s real bro, wake up!

 

From the above post, almost everyone can share similar feelings with this guy, Monday is not always fun. However, if we continue to work hard and persevere, maybe one we will be like the lady in the gif below:

You did it!!!!
You did it!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like I said, memes are art because they express human creativity to convey a particular emotion by using either painting, graphics or films. By looking at the lady dancing, one can immediately relate it to the texts saying ‘Happy Retirement,’ and therefore associate her excitement with retirement. This is how it is: from having fun on Fridays to waking up early on Mondays, on day we will celebrate our retirements!!!

Assignment 2 – My expectations

Before enrolling to CT 101, like I always do with all my classes, I went to Coursicle to learn about the class and know what to expect. Then, after enrolling I went to Ratemyprofessors to find learn a little more about my Professor. One of the students called professor Ryan – the GOAT, that made me very excited to meet professor Ryan – The GOAT

GOAT
Greatest of all time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

One of my expectations coming into this class is that we may have to create our own contents using software like Photoshop/Illustrator. I was also expecting to creativity through blogs. I was not sure if we would design a website or digital portfolio, but at some point I decided to calm down with all the wild expectations and see for myself as things unfold.

 


 

The first class was very cool and easy, the atmosphere was simply free and friendly.

Cool Class

 


So far it’s been great. Just last week, the professor introduced us to some programs that can be used to create gifs, it gave me the freedom of creating gifs from any clip, instead of been limited to what people put out there. I felt fulfilled learning how to do it myself!

I did it!


 

With the little I have been exposed to in this class, I simply expect the best introduction to the digital experience of communication. I can’t wait for more of what to come.

Can't Wait

Assignment 1 – Internet Happiness

Ever since the pandemic; characterized with pain, tears, depression and the boredom of staying indoors, the world endlessly itched for an opportunity to be entertained once more with sports and other activities.

When the pandemic started easing gradually in some states, the thought of a possible return-to-normal became more realistic and soon afterwards here we are: the NBA Playoffs.

The fact that it was played without fans may have affected the buzzing cheers and noise but obviously not the fun. The Lakers dominated as expected, some star players lived up to their expectations and we all enjoyed the beautiful sports.

Then comes the highlight of my week – Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi finals, in the 2nd half at 8:32 as Lebron Dunks on Russel Westbrook.

It was so exceptional that it drew one of the most unbelievable reactions from a team mate – Mcgee.

He couldn’t just believe it!!!

This comment below from a the Youtube video says it all about McGee’s reaction. And honestly, it makes one wonder whether Lebron James sees retirement is an option if he is still this good at 35.

The week continued with more fun, surprises, upsets and more entertaining playoff games.