Gabrielle Ramponi – Health and Lifestyle Fad Hacks

This semester Gabbi has created a health and lifestyle series on YouTube and WordPress. Her official aim was to try and make popular healthy lifestyles accessible and easier for people to break down. Spending 1 week on each fad, she would be testing whether they were realistic and/or effective. They would be unlike the content created by “insta famous” who’s videos and blogs are often an unrealistic reflection of their lifestyles. As Gabbi was not being paid or endorsed by any businesses to create her series she did not have the pressure to create a certain image of the health fads like many popular social media stars. It would be completely unbiased and realistic.

In the first week Gabbi looked at mental health strategies and was completely open in her blog post about her personal experience with mental health. In doing so, she created a sense of trust with her audience as it was clear she would be 100% honest in her reviews and experiences. The first blog post introduced the topic and Gabbi’s aims for the week, which was to do a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (C.B.T) exercises and meditation, and to use a gratitude journal. This would be done through a variety of mental health apps that have become quite popular in managing anxiety and similar mental health issues. Using Headspace, Smiling Mind, Moodnotes, Breathing Zone and Talk Space, Gabbi wanted to test out how effective these apps are in increasing positive vibes and mental health. Could they replace a psychologist when a person is unable to access professional help?

The YouTube video consisted of Gabbi talking to the camera and reflecting on her experiences with the apps during the week, explaining their purpose and functions. Although she personally found them ineffective, Gabbi made a conscious effort to point out that the effectiveness of each app would differ from person to person and may potentially help others. The video concluded with Gabbi introducing the following topic which would be yoga. I found the combination of the video and blog post really effective and would suggest shortening the video from 6-7mins to about 4-5mins and including more of the video content in the blog post.

The next week focusing on Yoga followed the same layout as the mental health week with a blog post and video. In this video, Gabbi included a clip she had recorded in the middle of the week. I think this was a great addition and I would love to see more of the progress and experiences during the week, e.g. actual footage of you doing the yoga. This weeks video was also much shorter which I found more effective as it kept me entertained and interested for the entire video. I think it would beneficial to add more information about the specific yoga you did in the blog post as well. You could possibly include photos of the poses or screenshots of the tutorials.

In Gabbi’s third and fourth week she tried a sugar free diet and vegetarianism respectively. The posts included a food diary, recipes, rules as well as other information on the diets. Gabbi mentioned in her Beta presentation that at this stage of the process she found she wasn’t happy with the videos and how they were turning out so decided to stick to the blog posts only.

I found the blog posts were a lot more informative from this point however I really enjoyed the videos and found they complimented the blog posts very well. Gabbi felt as though she couldn’t get her thoughts in order when speaking to the camera and didn’t like the staged feel of the video when she followed a script. As this series is still in its early phases, I would suggest trying different styles of videos and seeing if they work better. For example, you could try filming during the week rather than a reflection at the end. I think it would be really entertaining and interesting to see your process, emotions and reactions as they were happening. You could film yourself grocery shopping, cooking new recipes specific to the diets, eating out, etc. With anything you will get better and more confident with practice so keep at it!

Overall I think this was a really great project that has showed how Gabbi has applied the skills she have developed in digital media to something she is passionate about. Gabbi said that this is something she would like to continue after DIGC302 and I think that’s a really good idea. I can’t wait to see what you do with it next!

Advertisements

BCM332 Contextual Essay: #diversifyhollywood

In Chris Rock’s opening monologue at the 2016 Academy Awards, the host spoke about racial inequality hollywood. Although making jokes on the topic, his overall message was that they just want the same opportunities as white people, that’s it. Since 1929, only 6.4% of acting nominations at the Oscars have gone to non-white actors and in the last 25 years alone, only 11.2% of actors were non-white (Berman & Johnson, 2016). This is clearly not a new issue and yet the statistics have not changed enough for it to be better.

2016 saw the release of a number of amazing films which represented diversity, from their creators to the story lines such as “Beasts of No Nation”, “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton”. and yet it was the second year in a row that the academy has had zero non-white nominees in the acting categories. As a result, the Awards received a lot of negative reception with celebrities such as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett-Smith boycotting the ceremony altogether (Gray, 2016).

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, released a statement in response to the criticisms stating, “I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond….We have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly” (Isaacs, 2016).

The video I have created is a PSA / campaign video for a mock social movement called #diversifyhollywood. It aims to highlight the racial discrimination still existent in Hollywood and bring about change. Chris Rock’s speech is contrasted with the announcement of past Oscar winners who are all white. The fact that the awards ceremony can have an African American host yet cannot recognise the work of other non-white creatives in the industry highlights the irony of the issue. The end slogan, “This issue is black and white – so why isn’t Hollywood?” reiterates the clear message and using a rhetorical question influences viewers to truly think about the issue. While visually the message is clear, it is emphasised with a statistic to prove the reality of the situation and it ensures viewers it is not just a mashup bias to the cause.

Contextual Essay References:

Berman, E., Johnson, D., 2016, See the Entire History of The Oscars Diversity Problem In One Chart, Time Labs, weblog post, 20 January, viewed 26 October, http://labs.time.com/story/oscars-diversity/.

Galloway, S., 2016, ‘Academy President ‘Heartbroken’ Over Lack of Diversity at Oscars’, Time, 18 January, viewed 27 October 2016, http://time.com/4184688/academy-president-oscars-diversity/.

Gray, T., 2016, ‘Academy Nominates All White Actors for Second Year in Row’, Variety, 14 January, viewed 27 October 2016, http://variety.com/2016/biz/news/oscar-nominations-2016-diversity-white-1201674903/.

Video Sources (in order of appearance):

Oscars, 2016, Chris Rock’s Opening Monologue, online video, 23 March, The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqhVNZgZGqQ.

Oscars, 2013, Jennifer Lawrence Wins Best Actress: 2013 Oscars, online video, 4 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDU7zLAd2-U.

Oscars, 2015, Julianne Moore Winning Best Actress, online video, 6 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzR3CUU51IU.

Oscars, 2013, Christoph Waltz winning Best Support Actor for “Django Unchained”, online video, 4 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWdn7pFmtdQ.

Oscars, 2016, Leonardo DiCaprio winning Best Actor, online video, 23 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpyrefzvTpI.

Oscars, 2015, Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor, online video, 6 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_ZVJgM-bZI.

Oscars, 2014, Cate Blanchett winning Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine”, online video, 11 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=squYKgRWZN0.

Oscars, 2014, Jared Leto winning Best Supporting Actor, online video, 11 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCtch3DzLRs.

Oscars, 2016, Alicia Vikander winning Best Supporting Actress, online video, 23 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdlzqmMDF3g.

Oscars, 2011, Colin Firth winning Best Actor, online video, 3 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aO5R6ezqio.

Oscars, 2016, Brie Larson winning Best Actress, online video, 23 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_lq5wORkYA.

Oscars, 2011, Nicholas Cage winning Best Actor, online video, 30 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jXi-Z3M9Us.

Oscars, 2010, Hilary Swank Wins Best Actress: 2005 Oscars, online video, 29 November, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWGNsP26ttQ.

Oscars, 2008, Julia Roberts winning an Oscar, online video, 24 April, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV0YbYECU7A.

Oscars, 2011, Christian Bale winning Best Supporting Actor, online video, 3 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsEGpXlpcO8.

Oscars, 2009, Angelina Jolie Wins Supporting Actress: 2000 Oscars, online video, 28 September, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPWpHWr1L7s.

Oscars, 2014, Matthew McConaughey winning Best Actor, online video, 11 March, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, viewed 25 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD2cVhC-63I.

Berman, E., Johnson, D., 2016, See the Entire History of The Oscars Diversity Problem In One Chart, Time Labs, weblog post, 20 January, viewed 26 October, http://labs.time.com/story/oscars-diversity/.

DIGC302 Contextual Essay: Reflection of digital artefact

Being in my last semester of university I needed to be thinking about future job prospects. Keeping in mind the outline of the DIGC 302 subject, which was to spend the semester working on a project of my choice, I wanted to create a digital artefact which would demonstrate the skills I have developed over my degree and would be something to showcase to future employees. I began designing websites in the digital media subjects as submissions for digital artefact assignments. It is something that I have grown to be really passionate about and I feel is a very valuable skill to have.

The past 2 years I have worked at Champagnat Catholic College in an administrative role. While this job is only part time and not necessarily the field I want to have a career in, I made the staff aware of these skills I have developed through my degree in hopes of gaining the most out of the job, further develop my skills, expand my portfolio and potentially lead to future jobs. As a result an opportunity came up at the beginning of the semester for me to create a website for Champagnat Catholic College’s trade training centre and thus became the focus of this assignment.

This process initially began with a meeting with the director of the trade training centre where we discussed the brief and vision for the website. My official aim was to create an aesthetically pleasing website for Champagnat Catholic College’s trade training centre (TTC) that includes all information on the centre and has a clean and easy to follow layout. As this was a job I was being paid for, I felt it was extremely important to work closely with the staff involved and to make sure I met their criteria to a high standard.

According to the article, “Designing a school website: contents, structure, and responsiveness” by Klein and Tubin, school websites are an effective tool because they help expand a school’s integration with outside communities which is an important process in a school’s success. A website can be a great marketing tool, increasing a school’s capability for positioning itself in the public, providing better control of ‘word of mouth’ communication and building a solid reputation. The site contributes to the school’s reputation and accountability as content on the website can show that the school is a good place to learn as it becomes the online “face” of the school. It is also a channel of communication for reaching different groups of clients such as current and prospective parents, students, staff and businesses (Klein & Tubin, 2007, pg. 191). These points were the main focus of the social utility of the website. I wanted it to be just as beneficial for the school as it was for those who would be visiting the website. Henry Jenkins who has done a lot of research on participatory culture and digital media believes schools need to operate more along the principles of collective intelligence and social networking. Rather than learning taking place at different stages, your education is an integrated ecosystem. Networks are created by students and teachers reaching outside their community (parents, educators from other schools, experts, businesses, etc.) to create a participatory platform to share information, advice and feedback (Jenkins, 2012). A large aspect of the TTC is outsourcing businesses related to the trade subjects (e.g. mechanics for automotive students) so in this sense, the website will serve as the platform for a participatory culture between the school and those involved. It is also a way to promote the TTC to the community and potentially gain more businesses and students involved with the centre

Deciding the platform for the website was my next step. I have experience with WordPress as it is the site I use for my blog however I have had more practice with Wix as it is the platform I have used for my past website design assignments. There is an official VET website which has links to the other trade training schools websites in NSW. I was to use these as a guide in terms of information to include however the physical design of the website was open to my own creativity and abilities. These websites were mostly done on WordPress however I felt that I could produce better content with Wix.

Wix is a flash-based open-source web tool which allows users to create websites without coding (Kirkwood & Evans, 2011, pg. 108). I have no experience or knowledge on coding so this is the main reason I prefer to use Wix over other website building software. It focuses more on the visual design and utility of creating a website and gives users a lot of creative freedom using simple editing tools. Once the website is finished, the director of the TTC wants staff to be able to contribute and add to the websites themselves. It is extremely easy to learn to use and maintain a website with the ability to use templates or start from scratch. I have also created a simple “user guide” to pass onto the staff of the TTC with little tips and tricks for editing the website. Although limited to certain features, you can create websites on a free account which was another criteria the school set.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-12-45-35-pm

Flow is a state of consciousness that can be experienced by people who are deeply involved in an enjoyable activity. It is characterised by common elements; a balance between the challenges of an activity and the skills required to meet those challenges; clear goals and feedback; concentration on the task at hand; a sense of control; a merging of action and awareness; a loss of self-consciousness; a distorted sense of time; and the autotelic experience (Pace, 2004, pg. 360). The effectiveness of a website can be understood and analysed by looking at the web-flow of users. A free Wix app called Web-Stat that gives a website creator the analytics of your site. Aspects such as numbers of visitors in real time, maps, visitor details, page view report and click path reports are regularly sent. By adding this app to the TTC site, I will be able to watch how people respond to the website and make appropriate changes if need be.

I found two templates which I felt fit the design I had in mind for the TTC website and used them as a starting point. I chose a very simple colour scheme for the website as I wanted it to have a very clean and simple look to it. The background is white, with black and yellow detailing, bringing in the school colours. This is my favourite stage in designing a website as I enjoy the more creative aspects of the process, however it is easy to get caught up in changing and editing the visual design. Being on a deadline meant I had to be more efficient and decisive when making the creative decisions. This was an important lesson and experience for me in preparation for future jobs.

The school creates almost everything on google suit therefore the website was primarily a place to link staff, students, parents, etc. to the relevant content. The director of the TTC writes monthly newsletters on the centre and hard copies are placed in the office and not many people are reading them. I decided this would be a beneficial addition to the website as Wix gives you the ability to add a blog. While this idea sounded great in theory the director does not have the skills to regularly add blog posts to the site and while he would like to learn, does not currently have time. As a temporary solution, I have linked the google doc version of the newsletters to the website. This has taught me that even the best ideas won’t always work and it sometimes comes down to the employer’s decision, whether you agree with it or not. But as Ted says, “fail fast and fail often”.

Another issue I encountered was the name of the website. The TTC’s official name is Ngalangiil Ngarandhii, an aboriginal phrase meaning ‘a place to sit and learn’. While this name is perfectly suited to the TTC and has a strong significance due to the school’s involvement with indigenous communities, it is hard to say, remember and spell. If even one letter is missing or incorrect, the website does not come up in google searches. Search engine optimisation (SEO) are strategies and techniques used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high ranking placement in the results page of search engines. Wix allows users to manage websites SEO’s while editing by customising google titles for your websites pages. Therefore I ensured that while the websites does come up when you enter Ngalangiil Ngarandhii, it also shows if you enter ‘Champagnat Catholic College trade training centre’ as it is the more likely search of visitors.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-3-44-58-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-27-at-3-45-35-pm

Wanting the website too look aesthetically pleasing I tried to include as many relevant images as possible. Unfortunately, the school has very little photographs and the ones they do have, aren’t the best quality. It was suggested that I take some photos at the school myself however there are legal issues involved as most students are under 18 and I am not an official staff member, even though I am being paid as an employee. While this has been a slight hinderance, I have organised for the school to buy 4 GoPros to take photos and record footage of the school which I can then put into a video for the website.

Since finishing the TTC website, I have now been asked to create on online business directory for the school. I will be applying the skills I have learnt during this assignment to this new project and will hopefully gain some useful business skills. Overall I am really happy and proud of the final product. It has been a great learning experience and it has not only developed my skills in digital media but has taught me many things about working in the real world.

Resources

Jenkins, H., 2012. Textual poachers: Television fans and participatory culture. Routledge.

Kirkwood, H. and Evans, K., 2012. Embedded librarianship and virtual environments in entrepreneurship information literacy: A case study. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 17(1), pp.106-116.

Pace, S., 2004. A grounded theory of the flow experiences of Web users.International journal of human-computer studies, 60(3), pp.327-363.

Tubin, D. and Klein, S., 2007. Designing a school website: Contents, structure, and responsiveness. Planning and Changing, 38(3/4), p.191.

What’s Hidden: A family tradition

I asked my sister what was an event that our family loves, and she said Christmas. She said, “I remember waking up on one Christmas day and hearing some noises and I got really excited. I’m pretty sure it was Santa.”

We don’t have many secrets in our family but this is one that we hold close to our hearts. Having a 10-year-old sister who believe in Santa means the Christmas traditions in my family are the same as when I was younger. Each year she receives a reply from Santa, to the letter she leaves him along with the eaten cake for him and half eaten carrots on the front lawn for his reindeers.

The idea that Christmas revolves around Santa and all the family traditions that go along with that is not something my family is ready to give up. Even though my sister is now older than the age my brother and I found out Santa wasn’t real, we are trying to keep the tradition alive as long as we can, not just for her but for ourselves.

My mum hadn’t really given it much thought before but became quite emotional talking about the next phase of my sister’s life.

“If she was starting to question it and people were making fun of her for believing I would probably tell her but I don’t want to take that innocence and magic away from her before I have to. I think the day she does find out that Santa isn’t real will be a sad day. I guess we will still keep wrapping up presents and putting them in the Santa sacks, but the whole idea that you don’t need to put Santa sacks out anymore and there’s not that anticipation of excitement of seeing your faces the next morning when Santa delivers the presents will make it a very sad day in the family. Talking about it now I didn’t realise I would get so emotional but I guess it is the next step of your baby growing up and you don’t have that same connection with your kids as you do when they are little.”

Jean Racine said, “There are no secrets that time does not reveal”. It is inevitable that one day, the Secret of Santa will be no longer hidden in our family. When this time comes we will make new Christmas traditions that we will grow to love and cherish, but for now the magic of Santa will continue.

Tweets: