Friday, June 1, 2007

Blogging: A Communicative Tool

Thousands of words, many of topics, daily updates, what else more to say? Juicy gossip, intriguing stories of a person’s everyday life put on a blog for all to read, is very common this day in age. Nasty comments, wonderful comments, it’s all apart of the game. The joy of sort of remaining anonymous is what I like. You can tell a great story or significant event that happened to you and no one really knows who you are, if you choose to remain anonymous.

Blogging can bring you a world of joy and happiness, and also a world of pain and frustration. After exploring my references and doing my research, I have found my answer as to whether or not blogging is an affective communicative tool. I’ve evaluated both ends of the spectrum, and came to the conclusion that it is.

I do believe that blogs are very effective communication tools to our society. There are billions of different topics that fill these web logs and I think that’s the beauty of writing. You could go out and search almost anything and be able to find it in a blog. People occupy their time by writing and updating blogs. Certain sites include Facebook, Xanga, MySpace, and many more. People may not know that’s what they are doing, but it is a daily journal in a different variation of what’s going on in your life, who your friends are, and how popular you can be.

In an email sent to our class in general, Bonnie Burton, Never Threaten to Eat Your Coworkers editor, explains why blogging is so important. She begins to tell us that it’s been around for awhile now, and that it probably won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon. She goes on to say that blogging is whatever you make it out to be, it is what you make it. You can make it about your personal life or about that of others lives and that it is a perfect way to get your points across for everyone to view. She also goes on to say that blogging helps you find your own path in writing and your own little niche (Burton, 29 May 2007).

In the book We’ve Got Blogs, one of the articles talks about being an A-lister, or a well known recognized writer. For example, in the blog written by Rebecca Mead called “You’ve Got Blog: How to Put Your Business, Your Boyfriend, and Your Life Online”, she tells a story about a woman named Meg Hourihan and the company she developed with the help of her ex-boyfriend, as well as her new romance with another “A-List” writer named Jason Kottke. Jason is a Web designer from Minneapolis. In her blog, Mead highlights on the meaning of A-Lister. An A-Lister is someone who constantly gets hits to their blog, tons of comments, and is an outright blog genius. An A-Lister is someone who knows the ropes of blogging, is a perfectionist at it, and if commented by this person, can make your site become somewhat “A-List” as well. She states, “Getting blogged by Kottke, or by Meg Hourihan or one of her colleagues at Pyra, her company, is the blog equivalent of having your book featured on Oprah.” This would mean it would cause greater amounts of traffic to your blog, making you popular like them.

This article also demonstrates the negative side of blogging. If you’re not in the in-crowd, you won’t have as many hits to your site, or comments left by those important people. People begin blogging by accident or for their own pleasure. We’ve Got Blog features an article by Brad L. Graham called “Why I Web log: A Rumination on Where the Hell I’m Going with This Website.” He talks about his experience with blogs and gives the reasons why he does so. Some of those reasons include a drive to publish his work, an opportunity to learn, a license to explore, and a sense of community. He elaborates on all these topics, but let’s face it, that’s open to everyone.
Also in this very same book, an article by Douglas Rushkoff views that the internet is a good source of communication. It is a good source of communication depending on how you look at things. If your publishing a story and then you get critiqued by it, you know what you should change or do something to fix it. As to blogging, I feel that it’s not as formal, so why should it matter how you write it. It’s the material in the blog that’s the most sufficient.

Another book to reference would be Never Threaten to Eat Your Co-Workers. This book is full of A-list writers as well. Their stories about their lives and what’s going on around them fill the white empty pages of the book. Many of the stories are very intriguing and interesting to read. That’s what a blog is essentially supposed to do: tell a story, and let viewers read about it to make up their own opinions.

My final reference was an interview with one of my high school teachers who uses blogging as an outlet in her life. When asked about blogging and how she used it in everyday life, she told me this:
“Blogging is a wonderful communicative tool, if you know how to use it. In my experience, people can be very vicious if you try to invade their blogs and really don’t know what you’re talking about or try to act like you know what you’re talking about. I feel that it’s a very useful tool that allows one’s mind to free its thoughts of the day, and put them on to a website for others to be able to enjoy. I think this is a very effective way to communicate with others all over the world. I do however; feel that some people may go too far and they shouldn’t attack people for what they believe in. All in all, I think blogging is an affective communicative tool and without it, we as a society may be lost with today’s news, media, campaigns, elections, music, and plenty more issues. I hope to see blogs stay around for awhile, because they do help me catch up on current events and the news around the world. They also allow me to keep up on what my friends that I do not necessarily get to talk to, are doing,” said Mrs. Corns.
You will have your downsides to blogging, with the occasional attackers, but that’s what will make your blog stronger and you as a writer stronger. In the beginning, I didn’t think badly about any blog. I felt it was an effective way to express yourself through words on a website that served basically as your pen and paper. That is, until the bad comments began to develop. In a recent assignment, my English professor instructed our class to go to a website called Defective He then told us that we would need to comment on a blog titled “I Saw U,” leaving our blog URL so that people would come and visit our site. After one night, the viewers, or regulars, of this blog began to jump on us like a herd of bulls racing down a ravine. They began to pick us apart from our grammar to what we were saying. They just attacked us in general. It was amazing to see the turnaround on things, because for an assignment so simple that we were just trying to get a feel for what these people do with their everyday lives, they were just rude.

Thinking back on things, it was bizarre to get negative reactions from a person on your blog, somewhat biting your head off because you didn’t use correct grammar or spelling or whatever the complaint may be. It was hard to believe at first, but then you start to think about how when people have a passion for something such as writing, and love it so much, they would do anything to protect it or keep people out that don’t know what their doing. If we didn’t have blogs, we wouldn’t know so much about people or what is going on in the world today, so I personally hope they stay around and improve and update for awhile.

Last Day

Today is officially the last day of regular classes. It's my last time in English, the last blog entry I am required to write, and the last time I will write one of these. I hope that I can continue to keep this up but no promises.

Volunteering is my life, as I have made this clear throughout the entire blog. It will continue to be a big part of my life until I die, probably. It feels like the last day of school in high school, the last opportunity to talk amongst classmates, and hang out with each other as a class.

Hmm, I wonder if this will be a challenge for everyone to read my blog and eventually start to volunteer. I hope that every entry that I have posted that people take something from me and apply it to your everyday life.

Top 3 things I like to take from this class:
1- Organization
2- Grammar Understanding
3- and the friends I have made within this class.

In the near future coming up, I have several things to be a volunteer for. Such events include, Gus Macker--a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, Little Big Show--for Big Brothers Big Sisters--, and also Active For Life--a program dedicated to helping your diet and being healthy, also the points recevied for this will go towards raising money for those who don't have enough money to afford healthier food.

Quote of the Quarter:
"As many comments that I have received, and as many comments I have left, I hope that someone, somewhere takes full advantage of my experiences and just goes with it. I hope that someone learns from my issues, and my findings and has a blast with it. I've always enjoyed this class and I hope that I have another one just like it."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Why did I choose to write about Volunteering?

I chose this topic because it is a big part of my life. It contains a lot of articles about what I do in the spare time that I have, and how big of an impact I have on someone else's life. I want to be able to share my experiences with others so that they can get a feel for what I do every summer. They can then take my experiences, and learn from them or decide to join in on the "fun" . I want to able to come to a place and write down my thoughts and feelings on what I do and the stresses that I have along the way. This blog helps me vent through my struggles and then some. Also, I like that fact that people can leave what they think on here and let me feed off of that for my next post. A lot of what I do involves volunteering. My job for example, is constantly doing fundraisers all year round for Operation Feed, Heart Walk, and plenty more organizations.

What made you chose this topic over anything else?

I chose this over anything else because it is a big deal. It is something that needs to be brought to the surface and people need to realize that with all the things in the world that has happened like hurricane Katrina and our war in Iraq, things are happening and people need help. Places and communities need rebuilt, so we need help. I just hope to open people's eyes to know that they don't just have to go to Katrina to volunteer. You can help your neighbor by carrying their groceries. It doesn't have to be complex.

What do you hope people learn from your writing?

In a way, I hope people get a sense of what volunteering is all about. I hope that people see what I have been through and know that it's not all about volunteering. It's about making a difference in someone else's life and also your own.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Is It Worth It?

Over the past couple of days, I've been busting my tail end trying to get things ready for our new project at the bank. It's called the Heart Walk, and we all walk as a team on Saturday @ 9:30am. We needed to raise money, but for some reason people just weren't as giving as they were for Operation Feed. Then I start to think to myself, is all this hard work really worth it sometimes? I do so much and sometimes get so under appreciated that I want to give up. Then I keep reminding myself that this is going to help others, so no matter what happens, I'm helping someone else.

In my last post, about the top three reasons you should volunteer, I started to analyze all three of those reasons and tried to apply it to my life. Yes, volunteering has shaped me as a person. I have a VERY different out look on life. Yes, helping others does change their lives. Without our help, they might not get the things they need to survive or take care of themselves. It does put things in to a different perspective for them, by letting them know they CAN make it. Yes, progess can begin. After you get the effect of helping someone out, it sort of starts a domino effect on others, making them want to help as well.

All in all, I feel that sometimes my work goes unnoticed and unappreciated, but I do feel that it's worth it in the long run. I know by the end of my work day, I will have helped out one extra person and saving them from the rest of their population of needy people.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Top Three Reasons YOU should Volunteer...

1-Shapes YOU as a person.
Helps you realize that giving a little of your time and help someone else goes a long way.

2-Helping Others Changes THEIR lives.
Others may not say they appreciate your help, but they do. Lending them a hand when you really don't need to makes them realize that not everyone is selfish and does want to help.

3-Progress Begins.
After you lend a hand, you can see the progress start to unfold. Many more organizations have started up to help people around the world. Organizations such as Group Workcamp, Habitat for Humanity, and others help those less fortunate around the world receive new houses, fixed up houses, and sometimes new belongings needed for the house.

I believe everyone should take into consideration what I wrote above. It's only because I've been through it, that I know the experiences and the accomplishments that could happen.

Until next time...:)

Operation Feed...continued

So I may be behind, but good reason has come with that. Being sick is a very hard thing to deal with on top of school work, that and a lousy internet service provider can do the trick. But this is not what this blog is about so I must contain myself.

Over the weekend, my bank and I ended up raising over $1000.00 for Operation Feed, and tons more food that anyone could ever imagine. ONLY this is, it's sad to know that even though we did raise alot of money, it's still not enough to get by for some people. All of our branches have been raising money, and so far we are the best but still, it's like I hate to see people in such desperate conditions.

This June coming up, I will be participating in a Big/Little Show hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters. As I have said before, I am a member of this organization and I have a little sister. She is probably the best thing ever to happen to me, and sometimes the worst. When I say worst, I don't mean by her part, but she makes me realize what it really means to want someone there for you and have someone there for you at all times. I always took that for granted and didn't really think about it. She brings out the best in me and I am so proud of myself because she has changed me as a person.

Well viewers.........more news to the STAY TUNED!!!!

A Whole New Perspective

After searching for what seemed like hours for a great article, I came across one that was probably the most touching story I have ever read in my life. Not only did it impact me emotionally, by making me almost break down in to tears because of the tragic accidents that happened, but also mentally, in realizing that there are people who really want to help out those less fortunate than them. It's a strong narrative about what the volunteers did in Salerno, Afghanistan, and what a tragic story that happened to two little Afghan sisters. The blog post's title was "Volunteers Spark Warmth at Burn Center" by Dale Coparanis.

An ear-popping explosion surround the burn unit, a sount that all the volunteers and crew knew too well. Once again a hearter had exploded in the home of two little Afghan sisters and their family. They were rushed inside the unit that had been set up in Salerno for about 2 months then. The explosion itself destroyed the Afghan sisters' family, house, amongst other things. Their other two siblings were killed, and their house had been destroyed.

"Many Afghans buy the wrong kind of fuel for their heaters, which they operate by using butane. They proceed to light the heater, causing it to explode in their faces," said Sultan Ahmad, an Afghan Cultural Specialist.

This article goes on to further explain the roles and duties of the volunteers and how wonderful they are to this clinic. The little girls will be ok, but in the long run, this will happen again. The volunteers know this because it is an ongoing occurrence that seems to be unaddressed. No one is letting these people know that they are harming themselves by using the fuel they do and so this kind of catastrophe will happen again. These volunteers basically run the unit, and they do so with some help of military personnel.

As Chief John Bailey stated they are the ones who usually pull people out of the fires instead of helping aid their wounds and taking care of the patients. He also goes on to say that his favorite part of the volunteering is not seeing the people come back because he knows they are better and going to survive.

I bleive that this article is very well written and explanatory. It talks about the volunteers and how they helped in such a way, that without them it would be impossible to operate the Burn Unit. The way they responded to the two little girls was amazing and how they worked so well together to get the tast accomplished amazes me. The volunteers do the bulk of the work and I commend them for that because it is a hard job that not everyone would take into consideration and risk their own lives everyday.

Previously, the article stated again how much work these volunteers really do, and I agree with him on this statement. The volunteers have to be prepared at all times know what to do for each and every victim or tragedy. I felt that it is very marvelous that these military personnel--Staff Sgt. Kristopher Weaver, Assistant Base Fire Chief John Bailey, Army Staff Sgt. Dusty Gaunt, and Staff Sgt. Ronald Payne, and volunteers--give up their days off to go help, rescue, and care for these victims.

I was suprised when I read this article because I didn't know how many people in the world viewed volunteering as I did, as a chance to show the world that we can stop for a second and help those less fortunate that us. I was suprised because I didn't think many Americans cared anymore. I agree with Dale, the author, when he talks about how great it is to have these people here because in a scenario such as this one, it is great to have all the help you can possibly get, and not everyone is subject to lending a hand when it comes to risking their own lives.

The article also talks about "teaching" being the main focus in their clinic. Staff Sgt. Payne stated that it was 70% if the entire mission. Without teaching, they wouldn't be able to accomplish as much work as they do. It gives them time to free themselves up and work in other areas that are needed and that they otherwise may have never had the chance to. I believe this is a great idea because not only are we now helping take care of victims, we are also teaching the doctors and patients how to care for themselves or others. We are sharing a piece of our medical knowledge with doctors from around the world, giving them a little insight on how to deal with such accidents.

In the end, I think that volunteers are a vital piece of everyday work. Withought them, we would not have the people helping in a time of crisis. Examples of these places that need volunteers include the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Homeless Shelters, and the list can go on. The truth is, without the help of volunteers, none of the above places would function, nor would we get alot of things accomplished.