In today’s world immersed in digital technology, students including myself have become accustomed to multimedia environments within various social and educational institutions. Mary Hock’s Study, “Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments,” suggests that multimedia writing allows for visual and interactive means of persuasion and effective writing. Since the development of new media, digital writing environments are able to combine words with visuals to create a new form of visual rhetoric (Hocks, 2003). Therefore, with increased access to digital technologies in the 21st century, interactive forms of digital media have enabled new forms of teaching styles and how we express our writing. Not only do we now have access to various forms of social media writing as seen on Facebook and Twitter, but we also encounter different types of expressive writing through Tumblr, YouTube, and other interactive sites. Such multimedia venues allow users to organize information through text along with other convenient and interesting features including combinations of sounds, videos, and graphics (Davidson-Shivers, Nowlin, & Lanouette, 2002). Thus, multimedia writing provides writers with many useful tools beyond the mere use of text to convey a specific message. However, there remains the question of whether or not multimedia writing is a better or worse strategy of communication as opposed to other modes, specifically text-only writing. While there are definite advantages to multimedia writing, including the ability to reach a wide audience and immediately provide information on a large scale, there are also disadvantages that can decrease the value of text alone. Multimedia writing allows readers’ attention to shift from the text to other distracting and sometimes unnecessary features including sound and graphics. However, multimedia writing undoubtedly has its benefits in that it can also allow writers to clarify and express their ideas through more visual means.
After completing and analyzing my own multimedia writing projects throughout the course, I realized that multimedia writing is a more dynamic and creative form of writing than I have ever experienced. Because I knew I was making my “posts” public to my followers on Tumblr, I had to focus more on the aesthetics and the style of my writing as opposed to the research oftentimes involved with short response papers. I wanted my projects to appeal to my readers, so I focused on making my writing and images as concise, relevant, and as interesting as possible. I noticed that when sometimes I wanted to write more, less ended up being better to convey a more succinct and understandable message. Also, links (hyperlinks) made it easier for me to insert citations while making it easier for my readers to validate my primary sources through a simple click of their mouse. I will now focus on a few of my favorite and most challenging multimedia writing projects throughout the course and how the use of visuals, video, and text affected my writing style.
YouTube Project: A Collective Effort for Literary Translation
My group’s literary translation of the poem, “A Supermarket in California,” by Allen Ginsberg was the most complex and challenging form of multimedia writing I experienced all quarter. It was definitely a trial to collectively write a video script by combining everyone’s unique interpretations of the poem and ultimately creating a cohesive, final video everyone would love. While the scripting took about an hour and a half, the majority of our time was dedicated to creating multimedia combinations – including the typography reflecting the text and video/still images providing the visuals for the YouTube video. This was a unique writing experience in that I was not able to showcase my own writing, but instead focused on how to convey another poet’s writing in an effective and interesting way.
*Link to “A Supermarket in California by Allen Ginsberg (With Kinetic Typography)…NOW AT ALMOST 1000 VIEWS!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT8a0_9wABQ
Text/Image Project: A Visual, Environmental Message
Ariel and my text/image project was a multimedia project through which we were able to combine factual information and photos to communicate an environmental message. During this project, I learned of the enormous impact of image over text. Some of our first drafts included text that overwhelmed the pictures of trash pervading Isla Vista beaches. We quickly realized that our message suggesting the magnitude of the problem during move-out time in June (during which students dispose of furniture and other bulk items onto the Isla Vista beaches) could be more effectively stressed through our photos over wordy text that distracted from the photos. This was definitely a reality check to myself and my tendency to overwrite – sometimes more words are not always better or more effective.
*See blog for text/image examples for “Talkin Trash: Treating Your Trash Right”
Creating My First Wikipedia Page: A Hyperlinked Experience
Creating my first Wikipedia page was a very interesting and successful multimedia writing experience. Having never written a Wikipedia page or published any of my own research-based writing before on the internet, the website was a very useful first-time outlet to showcase my own writing and research to the public. While I wrote about Edward Easton, the mayor of Goleta, I was able to use hyperlinks in in-text citations to validate my sources for my readers. So far, few people have attempted to edit my page, and I will continue to add information to maintain its validity and currency for Wikipedia users.
Link to my Wikipedia page for Edward Easton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Articles_for_creation/Edward_Easton#2012_Election