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Why did I build it this way?

This site was originally constructed as part of an Internet Communications degree that I began in November 2013 through Curtin University, Western Australia. Unfortunately by February 2014 I was having significant medical problems and although my lecturers gave me ample time to try and catch up it was simply not possible and I had to drop out from that course.

That’s why this page exists, it was a requirement of the first subject. We had to create a presence on the web and this ‘presence ‘had to cover a number of nodes such as a blog, Twitter, Facebook and other social media systems.

I’m going to leave this page up because it tells a part of my story and it also tells some of my reasoning behind some of the elements in this online presence. I hope you find it of some interest and just may be one day you may drop me a comment to tell me what you think about it and the things that I’m saying it. The only reason I’m doing this and the only payment I get out of it is to know that others are reading it and finding value in it. Thank you for taking the time today to read my story.

Exegesis:

Danah Boyd (2007) tells us “Part of living in a networked society is learning how to accessorise our digital bodies, just as we learn to put on the appropriate clothes to go to the office”. My Web Presence has to reflect me and reflect the things that interest and affect me. Therefore my goal with this web presence was to tell the story behind the problems where one has a disability which limits keyboard and mouse interaction and you need technology to help overcome those limits. On my About Me page I’ve clearly described my problems and why I use Dragon Naturally Speaking to do my typing. It is that story that led to me to the title of this website, to setting up the photo image of myself using a headset to dictate and deciding to ask a good friend and fellow student, Gillian Perrott, to paint a picture of me using the symbolism of a dragon listening to me speak and then carrying out the writing. A few weeks later she had created the lovely painting that now adorns the header of this site, my Twitter Page and my Facebook Page. I have purchased the painting and all rights to it. I believe she captured the theme very well and I love the smile on the dragon as it listens to me dictate 🙂

Nardi (and others, 2004) tells us, in response to the question why should we blog, “… we discovered five major motivations for blogging: documenting one’s life; providing commentary and opinions; expressing deeply felt emotions; articulating ideas through writing; and forming and maintaining community forums.” So, in keeping with the requirements to create a web presence for this assignment I’ve decided that my Central Node would be a blog expressing the second, fourth and fifth of those motivations. WordPress was chosen to be this blog for the very simple reason that many of my clients have asked me about WordPress for their sites and I’ve had to tell them that I had no idea what it was. Now I know a lot more about WordPress and I feel a lot more confident to be able to recommend it to my clients should I be asked again.

My chosen WordPress theme, Academica, suited my requirements for a three column page with a large area at the top that I could put an appropriate image. I also wanted a blue theme to my presence. I lean towards this definition of the colour blue, “BLUE is associated with trustworthiness, success, seriousness, calmness, power, professionalism.” (‘Choosing Colors For Your Website Design’, n.d.-c). Thus the same colour (#3A678E) is used to the background of the WordPress site, for the background behind my photograph and Gravatar, as well as behind the About Me header on my Twitter site. Note that the Gravatar photo is mine and I hold all rights to it.

My first subsidiary node is my Twitter account chosen partially for the same reasons as I chose WordPress, I had heard a lot about it but had never used before. I find it has an immediacy about it when it comes to receiving news items keeping up to date on things happening with any areas that I have an interest. The complete lack of privacy and the inability to have a one-on-one chat if you want to follow something up with somebody is very much a negative in my terms. I think I will keep my Twitter account going but I doubt if it is ever going to get any serious usage. Although it is a node and intended to keep within the usage of this central node there just isn’t anywhere near the traffic being generated that fits within my theme of speech recognition for those with a disability. On evaluation it may have been more appropriate for me to choose a different node that might reflect and support the theme chosen. Twitter was useful when seeking help to do the YouTube video mentioned below:

Delicious was chosen as the second subsidiary node to carry a list of sites that I found useful when researching. A secondary goal was to build up a list of sites within that theme using a range of tags that others might find useful when they were carrying out their research on this topic or similar topics. I couldn’t find any reference to being able to adjust the page to better match my theme other than inserting my usual Gravatar.

My third subsidiary node is my Flickr photo stream storage. I have previously used WebShots as my online photo gallery and found it was spamming me more than any other utility. I am pleased with both the uploading and the accessibility of Flikr and have added a number of other photo sets. Again, I haven’t been able to find any way to change the look and feel of the site other than adding my usual Gravatar.

Originally I had chosen YouTube as one of my contributing nodes. There was discussion both are in here and through Twitter where I tried to achieve a demonstration video on the using Dragon Naturally Speaking to write. As the discussion here and here shows that was not successful so I didn’t continue with using YouTube as a node.

It would also be appropriate to call Gravatar another node to my web presence. It links to all of my other nodes plus makes an appearance on my Facebook site. I’m very happy with the use of Gravatar to provide consistency across all my nodes and my web presence and I intend to keep that beyond my University activities.

I believe I have achieved all the targets for the Web Presence Assignment and gone past those requirements because of the personnel learning that I have undergone while building the sites, developing the links, finding out just how they work and how useful they may be to me and to my clients. I have certainly enjoyed working on this aspect of the Web Communications course.

 References

Boyd, D. (2007). We Googled You: Should Fred hire Mimi despite her online history? (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2013, from http://www.danah.org/papers/HBRJune2007.html

Choosing Colors For Your Website Design. (n.d.-a). Retrieved February 17, 2013, from http://www.2createawebsite.com/design/color-psychology.html

Nardi, B. A., Schiano, D. J., Gumbrecht, M., & Swartz, L. (2004). Why we blog. Communications of the ACM, 47(12), 41-46.

Disclaimer

This has been dictated using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Although I have carefully checked this document to errors there may still be some speech-isms remaining that have missed my edit. If you do find any wrong words or mis-placed punctuation please let me know.


2 Comments

  1. My understanding of copyright law is that while I may sold you the painting, I didn’t sell you the right to reproduce it. Some time before the physical sale I sent you a digital image and gave you permission to use the image online. You continue to have my permission to use the image online for your own personal purposes; however I have not sold you the right to sell the image on to other people. Just a minor clarification since – while I’m delighted you like the dragon – I don’t see it turning into a cult favourite. However, when the hords come knocking at your door, please refer them to me!!!!

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