Minutes 10/6

After working on peer review with the other group doing hashtags, we tried to finish up everything we still needed to do. I typed up the transcript while Carly and Courtney decided what we needed to talk about for our presentation. We split up the presentation into three parts and figured out what specifically needed to be said.

Reflection

When Carly, Courtney, and I decided to do our final project on the hashtag, we discussed many ideas about the content and format. However, we never really talked about our audience, because I think we all envisioned the same one: our peers and the people we interact with on social media. We tried to be informative, explaining the various uses of the hashtag, but also humorous, asking our peers to stop using the hashtag improperly or excessively. Although we were joking a little bit about asking people to stop using the hashtag on Facebook, I do think it is important for my peers and me to understand something that we use every day to communicate.

As far as rhetorical strategies, our focus was to make the information as clear as possible. Because our purpose was to inform rather than to influence, we avoided tactics like color theory and focused instead on logos to ensure that our message got across. Initially, we talked about interviewing and recording people on campus to get examples of what hashtags they would use for the tweet “Finals week is coming.” Instead, we chose to ask them for examples of hashtags and type them into twitter ourselves, taking a screen video. We thought this would prevent a choppy transition in our video. It also made it easier to talk to more people because many were willing to give us hashtags while much fewer wanted to be filmed. This benefitted our video because we ended up with a much more cohesive strong of images than we would have had. It also allowed us to talk over a few of the tweets being typed, giving us more time to explain why it was important.

Creating this video was very difficult because of the time constraint. We ended up going over by about half a minute, because we were not sure where we could cut corners. Instead of going in depth on one aspect of the hashtag, we tried to create an overview. This forced us to pick and choose which information was important, and I hope that what we chose has value.

I think this project has shown me the value in different types of writing, especially those like the hashtag that are far from conventional. Writing is used to communicate thoughts and ideas, and the hashtag certainly fulfills that purpose. Additionally, it has taught me how to “write” using a video format. This means writing for an audience that is listening, not reading. Repetition is more important in this format as is using simpler language that can be quickly understood and processed. The skills I have gained and developed from this project only serve to reinforce what I have learned in class, and they are valuable skills for writing that I know I will be able to apply to other writing in the future.

Video Transcript

Hashtags: originating from the historical pound symbol, they have developed into a tool for categorization of messages, phrases, and ideas to forge connections online.

You may not always find what you are looking for. Hashtags are very versatile. We asked people around campus to give us hashtags to the tweet “finals week is coming.” Each person gave a different response.  On twitter you can click through the hashtag and see what the rest of the world is saying about it. Instagram followed this idea of relating posts, but it uses it to connect images rather than thoughts.

 

The use of hashtags has gotten out of hand.  After jumping to Instagram, it has found its way onto Facebook, where it means absolutely nothing. You can’t even click on them, so what’s the point? That hasn’t stopped people from adding hashtags to their statuses and now even their face-to-face conversations.

So many things in our society are taken for granted. These scenarios have been sarcastically twisted into so-called “first world problems.” In everyday conversation people may complain while others respond with “#firstworldproblems.” Hashtags are unecessarily used way too often.

 

The University of Michigan went as far as to put a hashtag in the sky on football Saturday. This was used to promote the game and jumpstart online conversation. The same technique is used in ads as a free form of promotion in hopes of it becoming a trending topic. 

The hashtag began its life as the pound sign, but after its Twitter debut became an important mode of communication all on its own. Whether used to connect ideas, let out frustrations, or discover others’ opinions on related topics, the hashtag has become a stand-alone form of writing.

A picture says a thousand words, so your hashtags really don’t need to. And twitter has a 140 character limit for a reason. So we are asking you, please do not overuse the privilege of hashtags.

Minutes 11/29

Today we worked as a group to collect examples of hashtags from people around campus. We went through the Diag and the Ugli and gave students the generic tweet “Finals week is coming” and wrote down what hashtags they would use. We then took a screen capture video of me typing the tweet with the various hashtag examples, finally tweeting the last one and clicking through on the hashtag “#umichproblems.” Then, we filmed Instagram on my phone and showed it clicking through various hashtags. The videos are all saved on Courtney’s computer.