Archive | April, 2013

My First Prezi…

14 Apr

Today has been the first time that I have created a visual presentation using Prezi instead of PowerPoint.
Having been introduced to the cloud-based presentation and storytelling tool through attending “Living and Working on the Web” classes whilst at University, I have been both inspired and impressed by the tools it has to offer, and most of all surprised that something like this can be completely free for any internet user to take advantage of. (Of course they do make money through subscriptions to upgraded versions, but the free one has everything that most students or casual non-business users would need).

So, what does Prezi have that PowerPoint doesn’t?

1. The Bigger Picture.

It allows you to show the bigger picture to your audience, by providing a central canvas on which you can put all of your slides, images, and other media links, and create a path to link them all together. With all of your ideas and concepts on one page, you can easily explain to your audience how they are related to each other.

examining the dynamics

2. Zoom.Zoom.Zoom.

As the software employs a Zooming User Interface, you can easily zoom in and out of text and images throughout your presentation. Once again, zooming out is a great for showing ideas within the context of the previously discussed “bigger picture”, whilst zooming in is useful for examining things in detail.

3. Themes and Templates

Prezi has a number of free themed templates, which can help to make a presentation not only more visually interesting but also easier for your audience to comprehend. For example they have a “journey” theme in which the pages follow footprints along the central page from the start page to the finish page. As much as my description probably sounds naff, they are anything but. Although some are more professional than others, some could be great for educational purposes.

templates prezi

It’s still a work in progress but check out my first Prezi here:

http://prezi.com/yjkeh_k9qahh/examining-the-dynamics-of-the-colonial-gaze-in-cristo-negro/

Diva to Diplomat (A piece written back in December)

2 Apr

Stiff, sharp, and somewhat aloof, the iconic image of high flying fashionista Anna Wintour, with her trademark angular bob and bug-like sunglasses, doesn’t initially sit well with the average girl’s perception of American politics. Following numerous suggestions that Obama is considering the longstanding Vogue Editor-in-Chief as a candidate for the role of US Ambassador to France and the UK, we thought we better look a little closer into the aptness of the style queen for such as position.

It turns out our Devil Wears Prada has a lot more going for her in terms of politics than originally springs to mind…   (For those unaware the character of Miranda in box office hit The Devil Wears Prada, is reportedly loosely based on Anna)

1)      Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, Anna has helped to raised tens of thousands of dollars for Obama’s most recent electoral campaign- showing a keen interest in the political sphere.

2)       Starting her first job in a boutique aged 15, Anna now has over 40 years experience in the fashion industry- and as a consequence is extremely commercially aware. A true business woman, she would emulate those Ambassadorial posts previously occupied by the likes of bankers and entrepreneurs.

3)       As you can imagine a glamorous socialite would, she has an array of contacts in both countries- always useful.

4)      Born and raised in Britain itself, Anna would be well-placed with regards to truly understanding some of our more wacky cultural traits.

Of course, the underlying question is whether or not the damage caused by the infamous “desert rose” Vogue article, which glorified Asama al-Assad and glossed over her husband’s brutal regime over Syria, will ever be shaken off Anna’s political back…

Despite our efforts hypothesizing, for now the fashion editor is keeping her lips tightly poised in her usual pout, remaining schtum about what lies ahead… Watch this space.

On the Internet Nobody Knows You’re a Dog…

2 Apr

Image

We now live in a world where, as Cristina Costa and Ricardo Torres describe it, “not wanting to be part of cyberspace is almost an unrealistic deed”. As the web has developed from a top-down controlled information-retrieving system to a much more interactive tool involving an abundance of networking and sharing, ordinary web users have become content producers in their own right. WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook are just a few of the mainstream sites that allow users to sit in the driving seat and not only create content, but also project their own online self-brand. And let’s face it; such social networking sites are now considered an essential, both for our personal use and for professional progression. If you weren’t on Facebook you’re likely to miss out on an invite to an event you’d have loved to attend, and if you weren’t on twitter perhaps you wouldn’t have as much inside information on your favourite company that would give you that extra added advantage in an interview situation. If it wasn’t for your LinkedIn account how would you find out about graduate opportunities that are being premiered on the site?

       So, it’s pretty much confirmed, being an active participator is considered by many a necessity in 21st century Britain, and therefore so is creating and cultivating your own online identity in some form or way. The question at hand (which has recently been a focal point of discussions in our University module “Living and Working on the Web”), is, given that we have the opportunity, should we aim to develop more than one identity online?

     As Jeff Jarvis highlights in his blog- a primary reason to create more than one online identity is so that you that you can have more control over your online life. For example, if you create a LinkedIn profile which reveals only the more professional aspects of your offline persona, you will prevent potential employers from seeing the more immature/silly side of you that you might want to keep within your Facebook account and share solely with friends. A good example of how adapting and controlling the visibility of your various profiles could prevent problems is illustrated with the case of a U.S. student teacher’s “drunken pirate photo”.  Stacy Snyder (featured in the infamous picture below) was deprived of receiving her teaching diploma after officials at Millersville University discovered this photo, which she posted on Myspace alongside the caption “drunken pirate”.   

However, on the other hand this was quite an extreme reaction from the Millersville officials, and other private sector employers may appreciate a little bit of flair, personality, and evidence that we have a social life present in our online identity. What is more, if we keep our online profiles consistent across the various platforms, we may be working to create a more credible and authentic persona. Evidence of a string of disjointed  and partially hidden fragments of an identity may not be trusted or valued as much as a reflected image of a real person, seen to be interacting with other real people. Obviously the annoyance of having to dedicate more time to the maintenance of multiple online identities is also an issue to consider.

 Personally, I would suggest that it is beneficial to adapt your online identity for different situations to please different target audiences, and to ultimately avoid situations like Stacy Snyder’s – a strategy which only reflects how we display, monitor, and control our personalities and actions for various different social situations in real life. That said, the creation of entirely new fabricated identities is on a completely different level, and if you’re not bi-polar offline, why take the time and effort to reflect this online?  Especially as your falseness and inconsistency could potentially be uncovered in the future, which would ruin your online reputation.

As more and more areas of our lives are being carried out on the web, this topic definitely provides some serious food for thought…

 

 

Relevant Articles:

“To be or not to be? The importance of digital identity in the networked society” by Cristina Costa and Ricardo Torres:  http://eft.educom.pt/index.php/eft/article/view/216/126

More information on Stacy Snyder’s story: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/college-sued-over-drunken-pirate-sanctions

Jeff Jarvis, “One Identity or More?”: http://buzzmachine.com/2011/03/08/one-identity-or-more/

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