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Conclusions and Closing Statements

This blog/mini podcast final project has taken me on adventures I never thought I’d be taking! I have to say, when I first started this semester I had little faith in myself to navigate WordPress…let alone make my own blog. But now, I can say confidently that I am one technologically savvy girl! Not to mention crafty now.

My interest in DIY websites stemmed from my love for the greats, such as Pinterest. Since I began this blog, I’ve found so many new ideas that I want to accomplish. I made a list of things I want to eventually craft. I’m excited to start. Also, I found the controversy very intriguing. Some people love the internet and these DIY websites, while others hate it. I took myself through a journey with this blog. I explored new horizons and have been on more DIY websites than any human being should ever be on, no matter how creative you want to be!

With graduation less than a month away, I’m prepared to take my facts and ideas to new heights. For example, maybe I’ll make these for my graduation party. Ya never know!

An upside-down cupcake and red licorice make a perfect graduation cap treat!

I’ve explored how digital media can be used as a tool of creative and compositional productivity that can engage with a diverse audience. My findings were mostly positive, with a few controversies here and there. But, nothing unexpected when it came to disagreements (like how the internet is making us stupid, or “Future Shock”). Overall, I’m ending my blog posts on a high note — DIY websites are positive, fun ways to think of new ideas! I stand by my original statement, and I hope that I proved to those skeptics out there that the internet can be an amazing place if we use its tools in the correct way.

Last words of wisdom...

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My Successful DIY Project!

I’ve been researching so much about DIY websites that I became inspired to make a craft, myself! In this podcast, I talk about how I fixed up a bench in my room at my college house. It was a great experience and I’m glad that I chose to embark on my own DIY project.

This research has turned into much more than I could have ever expected. I never thought I’d be able to remodel anything!

Once again, anyone can craft!

Fabric I Chose:

My final outcome:

Lookin' good!

Celebrities…they “do it themselves” too!

Like most people these days, I have a few social media sites that are my guilty pleasure. I’ve had a Twitter for a few years now, but I just recently started using it more (which is good because it gets me off of Facebook). As I was reading through some tweets the other day, I noticed this:

Former Playboy playmate Holly Madison's tweet

The link on Holly Madison’s tweet brought me to a photo of something she crafted — it was half complete, but the final outcome was a bedazzled shirt. After seeing Madison’s tweet, I searched through Twitter because I was curious if any other celebrities were embarking on DIY projects. It turns out that many celebrities use their Twitter accounts to post photos of homemade dinners and desserts, as well as arts and crafts projects. I follow Jessica Alba who constantly tweets photos of her baking concoctions. They all look so delicious that it almost makes me want to whip out my spatula and Betty Crocker cake mix (there’s no calories when it comes to indulging in dessert, right?) and begin baking.

Another avid baker is Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella. I actually grew up with her. She lived in my hometown and went to all of my schools up through high school. Then, she dropped out and became extremely successful as Miss USA 2011. I follow her Twitter account, where she actually has her own YouTube DIY baking show, “Talking Food with Alyssa Campanella.” In one of her latest DIY videos she teaches viewers how to make DIY cream cheese icing. YUM!

DIY websites aren’t just popular among us “regulars” but also in the fabulous celebrity world. This just goes to show how diverse DIY tutorials and crafting can be. The people who enjoy these ideas range from young to old, famous to just your average Joe, creative to …well, not so creative. Anyone can craft and anyone can “do it themselves” … but you never know until you try!

"No time to waste...I'm searching Twitter for DIY inspiration!"

An Overwhelming Amount of Information

In one of my recent blogs I talked about how as I research this topic, there’s so much more to DIY websites than I ever imagined. They are literally all over the internet. This made me wonder — how much is too much?

While DIY websites engage a diverse audience to come together and experience something (in this case, crafting and creating), I’m curious to know when “creativity” becomes “uniformity.” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE these DIY websites and I’ve grown to love them even more throughout my research. But, how much is too much information? Growing up in the technological age, I am used to this overwhelming amount of information being thrown at me all at once. So, what about those who are not used to this excessive information? We are struck with yet another digital media controversy.

According to Alvin Toffler’s book, “Future Shock,” Toffler discusses his definition of the title. He writes, “Too much change in too little time.” Now, while I doubt any college student would have this “shock” occur, people of earlier generations may experience it. Toffler popularized the term “information overload.” Simply put — too much information! His book is invigorating, and quite scary. “Future Shock” was published in 1970, but delves deep into the technological issues that the future may hold.

I realized that not everyone loves the internet, but never thought why. Now, I know of one reason and that reason is that information overload may be too overbearing for some. As I searched through the webpages of my favorite DIY sites, I noticed that they could be very busy for someone not used to the internet. For example, Pinterest has a very crowded homepage. Even as you navigate through the site, the format never changes. For someone who doesn’t know how the site works, this might seem like too much to look at. Personally, I had to ask my friend how to use this DIY website when I first signed up. She’d tell me, “Pin this! Pin that! I have so many things pinned!” And I would reply, “What the heck is pinning?” Finally, after a few uses, I was ready to pin and create! But, I’ll admit it was overwhelming.

DIY websites are helpful, but for those who aren’t experienced in cyberspace it might be a different story. I’ve discussed in earlier blogs and one of my podcasts that the internet is readily available to us whenever we need it — we just need to use it in a positive way. However, it is still interesting to me to see which people have trouble navigating through the sites. It’s something I didn’t think of before, but now seems prevalent in my research. I’m glad I embarked on this issue of information overload…because I, myself, almost had info overload with researching so many DIY websites!

TMI, Mr. Internet

Holiday How-To

Whether it’s sitting by the cozy fire on Christmas, gathering with family to do your annual egg hunt on Easter or helping mom make her famous potato latkes on Passover…everyone has their favorite holiday. This was my favorite part of my DIY research: finding holiday how-tos! I’m sure we all have a fond memory of helping our parents out during the holidays. Personally, I used to help my dad put ornaments on the tree while we drank hot chocolate. Now, the hot chocolate was from Swiss Miss. But, wouldn’t it be even more of a treat if we had homemade hot chocolate? While the Swiss Miss was wonderful, I think this would have been a great father/daughter bonding session! I’m actually looking forward to pulling up some holiday how-tos for next Christmas (if you can’t tell, it’s my favorite holiday).

DIY websites teach us how to expand our horizons and become more creative. At 10 years old I never once thought, “Let me make a crafty Christmas ornament with my sister.” However, with these websites growing and growing each day we can now become more aware of what they have to offer for the holidays. A great thing, in my opinion, about DIY websites is that they help us think of ideas that we may have never thought of.

Since we’re on the topic of Christmas, I’ll begin there. I stumbled upon this cute idea while looking up Christmas dessert recipes a few months ago. When I wanted to do my blog on DIY websites, I remembered this adorable creation:

A simple, easy dessert that takes your brownies to another level. Not only is this fun to make, but it brings the family together and even gets the children involved (not to mention including some fruits in their diet)!

If you want to be crafty while staying on a budget, then this idea from a DIY website is for you: acorns from your backyard strung across a thin string. You can place them over your fireplace, and they also bring in a great scent.

Let’s move on to another DIY holiday: Halloween. This first idea is fun and easy to do. If you have a solid front door, you simply take large construction paper and create a face! In this DIY door, they made Frankenstein. SpoOoOoOoOoOoky!

DIY websites are also big on recycling old items and making them new again. For example, you can upholster a chair and put new fabric on it. But, did you ever think of recycling your old milk jugs to make holiday creations? For Halloween, you can save your used milk container and make a Milk Jug Skeleton!

R-E-C-Y-C-L-E, recycle!

Here are some other great DIY ideas for the holidays —

Easter

Orange napkins and green cutlery make for a great "carrot"

Hang colored eggs from branches for a pastel Easter look

Cinco de Mayo (coming up soon!)

Hosting a party is made easy with this 7-layer dip recipe, no dish-washing required!

4th of July

Red, white and blue make this berry cake a hit at any Independence Day celebration!

The conclusion: As I’ve stated, the main purpose of my blog/podcasts are to explore how digital media can be used as a tool of creative and compositional productivity that can engage with a diverse audience. These holiday how-to ideas are creative, fun and easy…not to mention affordable. I feel that DIY websites truly do engage a diverse audience, especially with how many DIY websites and creations there are out there. These holiday DIY’s are only a few of the ideas that these sites offer. So, Merry Christmas, Happy Halloween, Happy Passover….err, you get the gist of it!

Merry Creations!

DIY Websites: More Than I Expected

When I first began my research, I was solely into learning about DIY websites from a standpoint of the observer. However, with my extensive research I realized that there’s so much more to these websites than I could have imagined. I’m learning that DIY websites do not have to just be “How to Crochet a Blanket” or “How to Fix Your Gas Tank Leak.” These websites can simply be informative, helpful links that teach you how to do something–whatever that something may be.

I expand upon this in my short podcast, where I discuss my findings thus far in my research. I talk about how, even for sites as simple as WordPress, I found myself Googling how to insert pictures and links.

Check me out...uploading pictures and all!

After presenting my project presentation to the class on Tuesday, a few people commented on my blogpost I made on the course blog. I titled it, “The Growth of a Student” and I must say, the comments back were positive! People were identifying with me about their lack of knowledge when it came to WordPress or any other technological encounter.

Jean Isaacs responded, “I enjoyed your presentation for various reasons! The main reason was that believe it or not I didn’t realize how much “doityourself” websites I was actually using! I have literally used youtube for so many things that I was trying to find information on. From how to do a tie, how to drive stick, how to use a specific function on a computer, I have literally done so many things with the help of many websites.”

This response made me happy that people (myself, included) are realizing that DIY websites consist of so much more than just one specific link! Pinterest, Stumbleupon and Youtube are all great DIY websites that people may overlook. I’m glad that my blog received responses that engaged in learning. My journey to make people see how helpful DIY websites are is going great!

Sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone to realize you can achieve anything!

Quick Information: How has it changed the way we think?

The internet provides us with DIY websites, but at what cost? I delved deeper into this topic by asking myself the question, “How has retrieving information quickly changed the way we think about learning?” First, I’ll discuss some of the public’s opinion. Then, I’ll discuss my own.

I want to begin by talking about the public. Let’s take Nicholas Carr for example. In his book, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains” he begins by saying how he’s had trouble focusing lately. After reading this, it reminded me of another article I read at the beginning of the year. Turns out, we read it at the start of the semester — Is Google Making Us Stupid? — also by Carr. Also, there’s irony in my own question. As I asked myself if quick information has changed the way we think about learning, I found Carr’s “Shallows” online through Google Books. I retrieved Carr’s information from his book extremely fast, simply by typing it into Google.

Carr explains that a side effect of the internet is that it makes it harder to focus. With the simple click of a mouse, we are taken into a world of endless options and information. “I think I know what’s going on. For well over a decade now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet,” Carr writes. He goes on to say, “Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes” (Carr, 6).

An important part is this book is how Carr describes the side effects of technological changes. He says that when wristwatches were invented people became more aware of time, but more tired knowing what time it actually was. I found an article pertaining to Carr’s book, written by 17 year-old Michael Moore-Jones. I found his post the most accurate to Carr’s book and also the most interesting. He talked about the end of The Shallows:

“Carr describes how new technologies make us lose part of ourselves. Clocks made us lose our natural rhythm. Maps made us lose our spacial recognition capacities. He gives a lot more examples. But the Internet, unlike most of these other technologies, is perhaps making us lose our touch with the real world. Our brains jump around constantly as if we are browsing websites. We are constantly pressured to be looking at our phones and computers and replying to messages. The end result is that we live more and more inside the Internet, and when we need to leave it, we can’t work as well as we previously could.”

See the full article here.

Overall, Carr discusses how the internet is causing us to become dependent on it, and not rely on the outside world for information. This is exactly the type of skeptic I was looking for! Carr believes that this new technology may be hindering our ability to focus.

So, does this make our lives easier…or too easy? I’ll admit, I wasn’t looking forward to heading to the library or purchasing Carr’s book in order to do my research. Call it lazy, but we live in the information age and when things come easy to us, we want it in the most efficient way possible. For me, retrieving this book from the internet made this post a lot easier. I was able to navigate through the pages of Carr’s book and it was much less time consuming than having a paperback.

I believe that this information (getting it through the internet) has changed the way we think about learning in a positive way. It’s a lot easier to retrieve information than before. I don’t believe the information is devalued in any way, and it’s not worth less than it had been before sharable information via digital media platforms became available.

Tying this post into DIY websites: Although Carr believes that the internet is causing us to lose touch with reality, I think that we should take the internet with a grain of salt. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: the internet has so much to offer to us…we just need to delve into it in a positive, correct fashion! DIY websites offer the “quick info” we so often yearn for, so why not take it and run with it? I don’t think our knowledge is hindered from simply typing into Google “how to sew a blanket” and finding immediate results. There is no harm in visiting Pinterest, Stumbleupon, DIY Network or any other DIY website desired by the searcher.

Sometimes some things shouldn't carry into the next generation...