Grecian Girl

Untitled by daisydancer99
Untitled, a photo by daisydancer99 on Flickr.

Long time no blog [again]. The excuse this time is an amazing 2 week vacation in the Greek islands.

I’m going to try and find a flickr widget to add to this blog sidebar, or even switch my WordPress theme [again] to make this more of a photosharing site, but until then here’s a preview pic taken on our last night in my happy place, Santorini.

Kali Spera!


zumba queen

Way back in September I revealed I’d become a ZUMBA instructor over the summer. Then I never blogged about how that happened!

Here’s that story:

I’ve been taking ZUMBA since 2006 when I was a grad student at USF in Tampa. My first teacher was Nakreshia C., but I also took a lot of classes with Jeni J. Both have their own fitness ventures now, CardioFunk and FlavaFitness Studio. Go girls!

When I first moved to Wisconsin in 2008, I saw flyers for ZUMBA classes at community rec centers and took a few, but I never considered joining a gym until 1) I finished my dissertation and 2) I found out they had a wide array of Group Fitness classes, with 3 ZUMBA instructors! So I’ve been a dedicated member of BodyWorks Athletic Club since 2010. [I should also note that since that time I have become a huge fan of TurboKick. In fact, I’m tempted to go to an instructor training for that in April but it’s the day before my ZUMBA TONING training and I think my 37-year-old body might not be able to handle both in one weekend. LOL!]

Anyway, as a former ballet, musical theatre, and folk dancer, I loved the nonstop hip shaking in ZUMBA, but never seriously thought about becoming an instructor because of my full-time academic job. I was also content just recommending songs as you can see in this post from last year. But then one of the BodyWorks instructors, a grad student, got an internship across the state. A new instructor had been hired, but she too got a summer job. Then one day one of the trainers, who is a SuperWoman who teaches EVERYTHING, pulled me on stage to lead the class in a Pitbull/Marc Anthony routine. When we high-fived after, she said, “You should get your Instructor License!” She sent me some links to upcoming trainings and I really did hesitate. I was worried about having to create 15 separate routines and my stamina. But eventually I pressed the “register” button, and on July 1, 2012, drove 5 hours to Waukegan, IL to train with Jani Roberts, a teacher I’d taken master classes with way back when I lived in Tampa! Talk about full circle!

Training was awesome, I had some jitters during my first few classes, but with the support of everyone at my gym, I’ve grown so much. I never expected to love teaching so much, and I went from 2 classes a week to 4! See my detailed schedule at http://daisypignetti.zumba.com/. And as I hinted at earlier, I’m now registered for a ZUMBA TONING training in April as I’ve deemed 2013 the year I get some arms!

While I’d be remiss not to mention that I’ve lost 30 pounds since I started on this ZUMBA journey, the most significant outcome of my new role as a fitness professional is how much I get to engage with my community. I was asked to do ZUMBA demos at a Wisconsin Women Veterans event in September, have been invited to be part of the health and wellness event organized by Alpha Phi Omega, and am scheduled to energize the crowd at the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Dunn County event in April.

Shake It

And as you can see from the picture above and video below, this past weekend I took part in this year’s SHAKE IT event, which honored 11-year-old boy, Brett Boettcher, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Brett’s parents, Bart (Athletic Director, Menomonie High School) and Lynn (Fitness Instructor, BodyWorks), have committed a lot of their personal time and effort towards Parent Project, and I’m proud to say this year we raised over $7,000! Like us on Facebook to keep up with upcoming events. I know there’s already a marathon team prepping for the Twin Cities marathon.

WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

And go to zumba.com to search for a class near you. JOIN THE PARTY!


back to school post

Long time no blog, I know, I know…

After the Spring semester I was exhausted so I didn’t teach this summer [except for working with some thesis-writing grad students] and it made a world of difference on my Fall outlook! There’s so much to catch you readers up on, namely my loss of nearly 25 pounds and new role as a Zumba instructor, but first I thought I would share my Performance Objectives.

I submit these every year to my Department Chair as a way to bring into focus what I intend to achieve during the academic year in terms of my teaching, service and research. Enjoy! [And now you know what keeps me so busy!]


  • My ENGL 101 courses, both in the classroom and online, explore the impact of technology, specifically social media, upon our everyday & academic lives. Students are starting the semester by writing technology literacy narratives, will move into readings from their textbook New New Media to create an annotated bibliography that updates the author’s 2008 publication, and then will read the novels Little Brother, Fahrenheit 451 and Feed before writing research papers and creating presentations on the topics of moral responsibility, access to knowledge, privacy, and power, security, and freedom in a post-9/11 America.
  • I’m very excited to be teaching ENGL 335 Critical Approaches to Digital Humanities, the first course offered in the DH concentration of the Professional Communication and Emerging Media program. The course is a hybrid one, so I’m using Tegrity to “capture” the face-to-face meetings and share those recordings with the online students. I’m also asking students to collaborate in writing a manifesto in Google Docs and participate in “virtual Fridays” where the discussion of readings will happen on our course blog. These exercises emulate the field of Digital Humanities, which defines itself as a social one composed of people with “a shared interest in texts, and the use of computational technologies to explore and understand them (as opposed to merely creating or distributing them)” (Alvarado).
  • In ENGL 745, Communication Strategies for Emerging Media, graduate students will contribute to a course blog, write literacy narratives, respond to a midterm exam, and propose then complete a seminar paper. We rely on the following texts from Instructional Resources as well as a long list of PDFs I’ve scanned and uploaded into D2L:  Digital Literacy for Technical Communication, Socialnomics, and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.
  • This Fall I am advising MSTPC student Heidi Decker-Maurer as she writes her thesis about images macros and how they address social issues in the age of participatory culture. I am also finishing up work with Carmen Butt whose thesis was on the role of social media in health care institutions.
  • I foresee advising more graduate students in the Spring if their thesis or field projects coincide with the two courses I teach, Rhetorical Theory & Communication Strategies for Emerging Media.
  • I continue to advise students in the B. S. Professional Communication and Emerging Media program.


  • CAHSS Representative, Planning and Review Committee
  • CAHSS Representative, Racial and Ethnic Studies and Global Perspective Curriculum Advisory Committee
  • Member [perhaps Co-Chair this year], Advanced Writing Committee
  • Member, Editorial Board for the eJournal of Public Affairs
  • Member, Editorial Board of Writing Commons
  • Mentor to new hire Kate Edenborg

Research & Publication

  • I submitted a book proposal/dissertation revision plan tentatively titled Disaster 2.0 to the Acquisitions Editor of the University Press of Mississippi. It is with an external reader for a formal review and I should hear back in mid-October.
  • If that book proposal is accepted, I hope to share my experience and advise current doctoral students either has a mentor at the Conference on College Composition & Communication or Computers and Writing conference. Both meetings hold pre-conference “research network forums.”
  • I recently answered a “Literature of Hurricane Katrina” edited collection CFP.
  • I plan to answer the most recent Technoculture CFP as its third issue is focused on “dead, lost, or underused technologies.”
  • Currently I have no conference travel scheduled, but will be proposing to the Popular Culture Association conference in Washington, DC in March 2013 and the Digital Humanities conference in Lincoln, Nebraska in July 2013.

PCA/ACA 2012

Last week I was in Boston at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference. My session was part of the Virtual Identities & Self Promoting track and as you can see from the program, the papers focused on Using Social Media for Empowerment & Exploration.

What’s interesting is that I almost didn’t attend this conference. I answered a CFP I saw posted on the IABA listserv thinking it was for an edited collection because there was no mention of a conference, hosting organization, city or dates. Having spent a lot of travel grant money in Oxford, England, earlier in the academic year, I didn’t think I could pay for another conference. And knowing I’m going up for promotion next year, I wanted to focus on getting more publications on my CV.

But when I learned it would be a Boston conference, I decided to go for it. I lived in Boston between 1997-1999 when earning my MA from Northeastern University and loved it there. When some travel money came through from the Provost’s Office, I knew it was a go!

I had a great time listening to sessions about the relationship between social media & BBC’s Sherlock, and, how’s this for a title?, “Alan Rickman as Phallus.” I may edit this post later to include more links to info these presenters shared, but for now I wanted to link to my abstract and first solely designed/authored Prezi:

which should be accompanied by the working paper I have up on SSRN.

If you’ve read this blog at all the past few years, you’ll recognize this as a section from my dissertation and I’m quite excited to report that I’m in the process of writing up a proposal to turn the diss into a book!

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.


spotify & ai se eu te pego

I know y’all are seeing that title and asking, Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

So here’s the story:

I’ve been listening to playlists on Spotify for a few months now. Way back when, I listened to Pandora radio, but I got tired of skipping songs I didn’t like, especially since they claim their stations “play only music you like.” Case in point, I think you all know I LOVE the Pet Shop Boys, but whenever I listened to my PSB radio station, all Pandora would play is Depeche Mode. I know it was the 80s and all, but that’s not what I was looking for!

So Spotify came along and I liked being able to subscribe to playlists based on my interests as well as playlists dedicated to movie and television soundtracks. And what’s cool is that these playlists are constantly updated.

My favorite playlist so far has been “You, Me, Dancing!” It has tons of the songs we use in zumba and other top 40 pop/club tracks. Last month I noticed a non-English song called “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” and I instantly loved it. Its sing-a-long sections and accordion solos reminded me of my folkdance touring days. There’s a story about a performance in France that I could tell here, but I’ll save that for later.

Anyway, yesterday when I was grading papers the song came on and I took a break to search for its singer, Michel Teló, on YouTube. I figured I would share the song with my zumba instructor to see if she’d like it. Well, turns out this song from Brazil is pretty much this year’s Macarena all over the world, except in America, of course. If you have heard of it, please leave me a comment!

Before I give you a selection of what I’ve found on YouTube, here are the lyrics in English:

Wow, wow, this way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God, if I catch you

Delicious, delicious
This way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God if I catch you

Saturday at the party
Everybody started to dance
Then the prettiest girl past in front of me
I got closer and started to say…

Wow, wow, this way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God, if I catch you

Nothing spectacular, I know, but wait until you see his smile 😀


The official video

The English version

The official choreography

[although there are some variations as seen in this German performance]

Check out the video compilation that starts out this performance as well as the audience going wild

And finally, what song is really a song these days without a Pitbull collaboration?

Too bad Mr. 305 didn’t have the choreography down yet when he called Michel out on the stage with him. His crazy helicopter spins crack me up though!


OK I’ve just realized that no one except me will actually watch all of these videos, so I’ll stop embedding them now. I do hope you give at least one a listen, and let me know what you think!


God, I love the Internet…


Spring Break 2012!

Since my last post, I came down with an awful sinus infection and basically slept from Feb 28-March 5. Seriously! The antibiotics helped a bit but it really wasn’t until March 7th or so that I could work out again, answer emails in a coherent manner, and grade papers. My teaching was evaluated on March 8th, so that worked out, huh?

I’ve still got a ton of papers to grade and I could’ve caught up on those over Spring Break, but this is the first time in 5 years that my husband’s and my Spring Break vacations lined up. Within minutes of discovering that, I booked tickets to NYC to visit friends. And boy was it worth it! I put up my “out of office” email message on the 9th and totally removed myself from any academic thoughts, except from when we went to see Seminar.

What’s Seminar, you ask? Here’s the synopsis from the official website:

In SEMINAR, four aspiring young novelists sign up for private writing classes with Leonard (Alan Rickman), an international literary figure.  Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored.  The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this biting new comedy.

It was a great play, but I’d be lying if I said that Alan Rickman starring in it wasn’t the reason it came on my radar. In fact, it was my freshman composition teacher’s posts on Facebook that brought it to my attention. Ahh writing geekiness and fangirl social media-ness. 😉

Here’s me & hubby after the show waiting to meet Snape, err, I mean Mr. Rickman:

And there he is!

Special thanks go to my BFF Eric who was my personal paparazzo on this trip, but I have to say my iphone got some good snaps of Snape too [sorry, couldn’t resist]:

Here’s one final pic from our matinee experience; notice the fully autographed Playbill:

After the show we went to our fav NOLA-themed restaurant, Delta Grill and then had some drinks at Industry where a nice fella from Mississippi took this fantastic group photo of hubby, me, Eric and Nick:

Ack, I have got to get to grading, so let me finish up this post with some touristy pics, especially since this was hubby’s first trip to NYC:

FAO Schwartz and the Statue of Liberty

View from the Empire State Building

Rockefeller Center

Rupert G at the Hello Deli!

In front of Dave's studio with our black & white cookies

American Museum of Natural History

At the museum The Butterfly Conservatory was open so we walked through a room with hundreds of them flying around! Here’s a gorgeous one posing for us:

Two more pics, I promise!

Upon our exit of the museum…

Clam Shell

and later that night in Queens…

The best friends a girl could have!



As my previous posts have indicated, February has been a busy month. Thankfully, I did get a chance to put committee work on the back-burner and make it to the Tools for Teaching Northwest Regional Showcase at UW-Eau Claire this past Friday. Looking at the schedule, nearly all of the presenters had the entire hour to themselves to share their ideas, but [and I think it’s because Twitter is so cool] I was notified that my “Teaching with Twitter: 2008-2011” would share a time slot with “The Twitter Project: Twitter & First-Year Seminars” presenter from UW-Superior.

And rather than just split the presentation into a half hour each, Mickey Fitch approached me about organizing things in a way so we could play off the commonalities in our experiences. We emailed and tweeted back and forth, with most of my content coming from the info you can read on the Twitter tab of this website, and she created the Prezi below, something I’ve been wanting to play with for a long time now.

Needless to say, this was a lot of fun and it pushed me to 1) reflect on my use of Twitter for reader responses and 2) reconsider bringing Twitter back into my online courses to create greater “virtual classroom” community. I’m going to try and write up more about this for the launch of Writing Commons, so watch this space for an announcement about that next month.

Til then, I look forward to future collaborations with Mickey and other UW tweetybirds!


stress relievers

Amidst all of the stress I just mentioned, these videos have brought me down off the email ledge & made me smile this week:

I’ve been a MIKA fan since 2007 and cannot wait for his new album!

Here’s another favorite so you can actually see him:

Oh, and very appropriate for this post, a new video for “Relax, Take it Easy”


And now for the best academic + 80s thing I’ve ever seen EVER:

Take the 10 minutes and go watch it NOW.


spring semester stress

When the emails started taking over my life 2 weeks before the Spring semester started, I knew this one was going to be a doozy.

I’m teaching 2 online sections of ENGL 102, 2 sections of ENGL 371 [a rhetoric course to the Tech Comm majors], and 1 online graduate course in Rhetorical Theory, also online. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention I’m directing two thesis projects.

I’m sure there are people who will read this and think that it’s a piece of cake to only have 1 face-to-face class that meets twice a week, but the reality is the more online students you have, the more prep work you have to do and the more emails you get.

But this post really isn’t about teaching. I’m doing a good job replying to discussion board posts and blog posts and grading papers in a timely manner, but I wish I had more time to focus on my teaching, not to mention my research.

The service component of this tenure track job is eating into my time more than I would like. I’m on the department Hiring Committee, chair of the Advanced Writing Committee, member of the Race, Ethnic Studies, & Global Perspectives committee as well as one of two consultants from this committee who helps approves new course proposals regarding our criteria, member of the Program Review Committee, and on the editorial board of two journals. I also have weekly meetings with the Tech Comm program faculty to discuss our growing number of undergrad majors and graduate students who are nearing the end of their program & need thesis or field project directors.

As I write this, I know that I enjoy doing all of these things, due mostly in part to liking everyone I work with, but given that I was passed over for promotion this year, I worry that I need to do even more when I’m pretty much at my breaking point!



And for some reason what causes me the most anxiety is email. Seeing the number of messages coming in every day gets my heart racing, and not in the good way. Because so many of our online students are working professionals with families, I can’t simply turn off my email at the end of the traditional business day. That’s when they are working on their course work–evenings and weekends. Well, I can turn it off but I feel bad doing so.

But when I was so exhausted on Monday afternoon that I couldn’t even make it out of bed to go to my beloved Zumba & Turbokick classes, I knew I HAD to step away from the laptop, iphone, and ipad. [I’m on my desktop writing this.]

I have a policy in all of my syllabi stating students need to reply to my emails within 48 hours so starting March 1, that’s what I’ll adhere to as well. So that’s that.

Now let me go email all of my students to tell them this…



I know the Superbowl was nearly a week ago, but after much consideration and consulting of the AdBlitz channel on YouTube, I can now announce my favorite commercial to be…

I think it’s the “wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle yeah” that gets me! Also, is that Bebe Neuwirth voicing the brown M&M?

My other LMFAO-related point here is that while I didn’t feel they served much of a purpose during Madonna’s halftime show, their remix of her new song is fun!



pathos, nostalgia, and don draper

My latest post on the Rhetorical Theory Course Blog:


You will hear more about Aristotle’s appeals in future chapters, but if you notice I’ve uploaded a document in D2L that outlines the three nicely. Regarding pathos, or the appeal to our emotions, it states,

Language choice affects the audience’s emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument.  Indeed, pathos evokes a meaning implicit in the verb ‘to suffer’–to feel pain imaginatively….Perhaps the most common way of conveying a pathetic appeal is through narrative or story, which can turn the abstractions of logic into something palpable and present. The values, beliefs, and understandings of the writer are implicit in the story and conveyed imaginatively to the reader.  Pathos thus refers to both the emotional and the imaginative impact of the message on an audience, the power with which the writer’s message moves the audience to decision or action.

An example that comes to mind immediately is from Mad Men. I shared the link to this video in my comment to Jodee’s post, but wanted to create a separate space for it just in case you miss it there: http://youtu.be/suRDUFpsHus

Don’s entire presentation relies on pathos, beginning with his narrative about working for Teddy and his defining of nostalgia as “the pain from an old wound,” all the while showing slides of his own family and the memories they can now relive via the Kodak Carousel. Rather than distancing himself from a product, he’s thrown his heart into it and it works!

I’ve created a new category called “advertising” since we’re bound to make a number of references to commercials, print, and online ads this semester!


Is Blogging Dead?

Cross-posted on the Rhetorical Theory Course Blog

I started to leave a comment to respond to the final statement in Tim’s post, “Blogs have really moved beyond the mindless posts by vain teenagers, and maybe we have Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace (is that even still active anymore?) to thank for that,” but then remembered that at the most recent Computers and Writing conference there was an entire session devoted to this. In essence, the panel, entitled “Is Blogging Dead? Yes, No, Other,” asked if, compared to other social media that have character limits, blogs are now the places for “the longer thoughts,” does anyone post those longer thoughts to blogs anymore since they aren’t likely to receive a response? Implied, too, is does anyone even have longer thoughts anymore? 🙂

It also helps that I’ve had the backchannel Dennis Jerz posted from it open in a Google Chrome tab since last May. I’ll talk more about backchannels and how academics use Twitter or IRC both in the classroom and at conferences another time, but it’s pretty obvious from what you see below that lots of opinions were voiced both in the room and via Twitter and I’m so glad Dennis used Storify to archive that:

Since the conference audience was made up of both bloggers and teachers who ask their students to blog, another point raised was if we assign blogs in a course, is that really blogging since it’s usually for a grade, has assigned word counts, etc. The point being, that’s not organic blogging. It’s not livejournal-esque or diary style.

Here’s my take on what we’re doing in this course blog space: Yes, your posts will receive a grade, but as MSTPC students, I hope you see blogging as an exercise that combines critical thinking with document design since, unlike the discussion forums, you  have more opportunities to react to the readings in a visually appealing way. And if you’re ever confused, please refer to the Blogging 101 handout I’ve created and ask questions!


I’ll tumble for ya

As predicted, now that school has started, the gym is even more packed. That leads to hotter and sweatier group fitness classes and, if a certain fan isn’t on, very slippery floors. The past two classes I’ve taken I’ve ended up in my sock feet…but it’s always fun and I love shaking it to various Pitbull songs!

Other than working out, I’ve been busy prepping 4 separate course syllabi & course calendars. I’m also directing two thesis projects, so there’s lots of email on that front.

Quick aside:  Ever since I started teaching online writing courses in 2004, I’ve tried to reduce the amount of email by having a “General Questions” discussion forum. Students can post their questions and I can answer it there for the entire class to see, thus preventing repeat emails. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, another student will answer the question first and thus a community is born! Well, that varies from semester to semester, but this academic year I’ve been particularly impressed by my students’ abilities to rely upon each other for feedback & their appreciation of blogs, Skype, Twitter, and Google DOCs.

OK back to the title of this post.

Wait a second… 😛

In addition to having various WORD documents open while course planning, I’ve recently become obsessed with tumblr. And the cause of that obsession? Sherlock Homes. BBC’s Sherlock to be specific.

I won’t go into how brilliant each episode is or spoil Season 2 for you Americans who haven’t seen it yet [I have my sources], but instead focus on the fandom. The #IBelieveinSherlockHolmes movement has been amazing to watch and what I love about tumblr is that, given I have little time or skills to create my own fan art, I can “reblog” it.

Perhaps that’s lazy (and twitter has been considered blogging for lazy people) but look at the variety of ways the tumblr interface prompts you to post:

If I didn’t already have this blog space, which also has imported all of my USF blog posts from 2005-2008, I would definitely use tumblr as my primary blog. But, for now, this space will be for “longer thoughts” and my tumblr will be for spreading the word that #MoriartyWasReal and #IBelieveinSherlockHolmes!


Downton Abbeyoncé

This week, between workouts and the return to teaching, I have been drafting a post about my newly founded obsession with tumblr. I should get to publish that later this evening, but I wanted to quickly point out the site inspired me to create my tumblr account in the first place: Downton Abbeyoncé.

I’ve been a Downton Fan since last March when I first watched the series on my iPhone and while I might not know everything about Beyonce, I know enough to say the combo of these two are brilliant, fabulous and hilarious.

Here are my favorite creations:


If you do go subscribe to this tumblr, be warned that some images may contain Season 2 spoilers, but you can quickly remedy that by tuning in to Downton on PBS every Sunday night!


my new year’s resolution


When I was leaving the gym yesterday I overheard an instructor saying how packed the classes will be once all the students come back to town. We were already a group of 50 but the number is bound to rise since we get two waves of new years’ resolution-ers here due to the academic calendar. Classes [university, not gym] don’t start for us until January 23 thanks to the “Winterm” session.

So it hit me:  Why not put the same amount of effort into my blogging as I do at the gym in turbokick and zumba? I average 6 classes a week there but only managed 2 unique blog posts here last semester? WTF?!? Although I did sneak in a few posts over at the graduate course blog, how can I even call myself a blog researcher? Yes, the Catholic guilt crosses over to academia quite nicely, doesn’t it?

The thing is, I have wanted to blog about some new teaching methods and reflections, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t like to go public much anymore. Being on the tenure track means I’m constantly evaluated, and while I’ve received “Above” rankings every year and, so far, have successfully jumped through a number of Promotion hoops, I haven’t wanted to jeopardize things, either by accidentally ranting about students and committee work or expressing my honest opinions on the political scene in Wisconsin.

The fault also lies in social media. Even though my Twitter updates aren’t protected anymore, those posts are more dialogic as are my Facebook posts where comments and “likes” offer me instant response. In fact, now that Facebook won’t be importing the links to these blog posts [their effort to get users to post Notes], who knows how much traffic this blog will receive. But there are things I want to post about…things that show the world who I am and what my interests are.

Primarily, those things are pop culture-y, so it’s a good thing I’ll be attending the national Popular Culture Association conference this April. I’ll be on the Virtual Identities and Self-Promoting panel, but more on that later.

Til then, I have tons of tv & music things to post because they’ve shaped my 2011 & made me smile, none more than this LMFAO performance.

Battery is dying on the laptop, but you can expect to hear more from me soon cuz “I-I-I-I work out” and blog this year!


RIP Steve Jobs

Cross-posted at the grad student course blog: http://745techprofcomm.wordpress.com/


In Laura Gurak’s 2001 book Cyberliteracy: Navigating the Internet with Awareness, she defines “cyberliteracy” as inherent of four traits:

  • SPEED: the Internet inspires speediness; it is one of the key features of Internet communication. And this speed inspires certain behaviors and qualities.
  • REACH: partner of speed and one of the axioms of communication technology. Digitized discourse travels quickly and it also travels widely to reach thousands, even millions, quickly!
  • ANONYMITY: sometimes you really never know who is at the other end of an electronic text. In cyberspace, the identity behind what you see floating on the screen is not always what you imagine.
  • INTERACTIVITY: online communications technologies allow you to talk back. Interactivity inspires us to consider—access to the inner circle [everyone can be part of the discussion and step through the screen], capacity to talk back [form communities of common interest], a two-way presence online [the lure of an audience of millions], ecommerce and connections to the customer [ways for customers to interact with each other and with customer service], privacy [more interactive a site, the greater the potential for privacy problems]

I mention this tonight to call attention to the first two traits. The speed with which news of Steve Jobs death has spread across Twitter and Facebook is astounding. And many of the “RIP” messages and memorials exemplify the reach he and Apple products have had over the years.

Apple.com now looks like this:



with the following call on http://www.apple.com/stevejobs/: “If you would like to share your thoughts, memories, and condolences, please email rememberingsteve@apple.com.”

Google and Wired already have tributes up as well, but I’m most interested in seeing what Apple does with the emails it receives. Online memorials & crisis communications are very interesting to me…I’ll write more on this as the news emerges.


style guide

Sherlockian happiness today! Almost ran off with the hat! on Twitpic

I’m in London right now and that’s me at the Sherlock Holmes museum.

I’m glad I took the time to do that yesterday because I won’t have much free time to run around today. Why? Because I’m STILL formatting my paper for the Oxford Internet Institute. [That’s why I’m in the UK and I can’t wait for the conference to start on Wednesday. Fellow SDP 2007 alums and I present on a panel called “Early Career Scholars and Web 2.0.”]

Let me clarify. The paper has been written for some time now, but with all of the electronic sources, e.g. blog posts, blog comments, wiki edits, listserv messages, emails, I’m pulling my hair out. Of course, I did this all already for my dissertation, but I’ve had to switch to the Harvard Reference System. That’s ok, I know we all need to adapt to different style guides from time to time, but it’s especially frustrating when articles actually published in the journal are different from what the “Instructions for Authors” document says. This site has helped me most.

Sigh. Blame it on the jetlag.

It’ll be finished and uploaded to the Social Science Research Network in an hour or so, but I needed to vent.

P.S. Don’t get me started on how, as an autoethnographic research study, I will prepare the version that removes “all information identifying the author.”


There’s an app for that

Hello from my iPhone!

With the new semester quickly approaching, I knew I needed to get back to blogging, especially since I’ll be requiring blog posts, as opposed to discussion board posts, of my grad students in ENGL 745, Communication Strategies for Emerging Media. More on that later…

When I saw this tweet from @blogher, I felt my prayers were answered:

“Before this morning, I only had ONE of these. Not anymore! A Blogger’s List of Must-Have iPhone Apps: http://t.co/BW6h7Ba”

So here I am, blogging from the WordPress app! I’m not sure how formatting and hyperlinking will work exactly, but let this serve as my test post with more to come!



I <3 the internet. Kickstarter is a site I first heard about via Twitter from Amanda Palmer and her hubby Neil Gaiman and now there’s an amazing NOLA project that needs your help to reach its goal:

What is Kickstarter? Here’s how their FAQ describes how they fund creative projects:

We believe that:

• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.

• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.

Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.

This will be my first kickstarter pledge, and I know it won’t be my last!


deadbeat blogger



This poor neglected blog.

I know I need to do a total overhaul of this site…I’m trying to figure out if it should focus on teaching and become more of a portfolio than a blog, but I’m also waiting to hear about a grant that I applied for. If I get that grant, my dissertation research will be back in the spotlight. Given that it’s on NOLA Bloggers, it would make sense to keep this a place to reflect on that and link to my NOLA blogger peeps (and tweeps).

However, given the state of our nation [don’t get me started on the state of my current cheesy state], no one has heard from the grant agency. See here for the most information I’ve been able to find, with my favorite sentiment being, “It’s aggravating, to say the least, but my summer stipend application is hardly the most important thing hanging in the balance as our Congressional leaders play politics with the future of this country.” True, but I still want them to show me the money, honey! And sooner rather than later!

While finding that relieved my anxiety, this NYTimes piece on blogs waning relieved me more. I am not alone in thinking that Facebook and Twitter are better spaces to receive feedback AKA instant gratification. As the article states, “Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family.” That is exactly what I’ve experienced over the past few years and I think it will only continue.

However, I don’t think I’ll ever abandon this space. Like I said, it just needs a new focus and I’m thinking the summer will bring that, whether it be in the form of quick book reviews, travel pictures, or new teaching and research projects.

Just you wait!


Tommy Blue Eyes

Ever since I was 4 years old, I’ve had a white cat in my midst. The first was Max, who was deaf. Then came Duchess. Then the queen of them all, Trina, who after 13 long years of living in NOLA sadly didn’t survive Hurricane Katrina.

After Trina died, it took me awhile to adopt one of my own, but when I took a chance [and a long drive] to the Tampa SPCA [which isn’t in Tampa at all but Largo, FL] and saw Sweetness, I knew I had to have her. Sweetness is a diva, and I love her. I’ve even made her into a LOLcat:

sweetness as lolcat

She’s a much better traveller than Trina. My parents took her to Mississippi for the summer of 2007 while Andy and I eloped/honeymooned in Australia, and when we moved to Wisconsin, she flew on the plane with me. Airport security was interesting to say the least.


Now that we have a house of our own, we have more space to share. And while it didn’t make Sweetness happy at all, after browsing the E.C. Humane Society webpage, we couldn’t resist adopting Vito [the grey] in February of 2009 and then Tommy [another all white] in September of that same year. You can see all three in this video. Not sure why YouTube uploaded without audio, but oh well. The point is you see how athletic my Tommy was:

He was only 5 years old, so you can imagine our surprise on Saturday night, after a full morning of running around and afternoon napping, we found him unresponsive on the couch. Poor darling. We still don’t know what exactly happened, but when we took his body to the vet on Sunday morning, she said that he in no way suffered. He went in his sleep, and as my friend told me, “Tommy is gone to kitty heaven, he has many friends there, he is watching you via telescope and hoping you are not too sad.”

As you know from previous blog posts this year, we have little Dexter now who is still a goofy kitten who chases his tail, and that has offered us much needed joy during this sad time. It’s weird to say, but the house feels empty now with only 3 cats in it, probably because Tommy was the most curious of them all and followed us everywhere. We miss him so much and finally today I think the other cats started to notice, which breaks my heart even more. But I will always remember his silly bathing poses and love of his brothers.

my absolute fav pic of Tommy. silly dude with pinky paws. :( on Twitpic

looked up from my computer to see all 3 of my boy cats curled... on Twitpic

Naturally, Sweetness wanted nothing to do with him…her loss!



Let’s try this blogging during the semester again…

This Spring I’m teaching 4 online courses and 1 hybrid, which meets twice a week but video of those meetings is “captured” so I can send a link to the online students. It’s my third time with this system and I think I’m getting it down.

I think.

Instead of assuming student behaviors when finding and viewing the links, I’ve made it clear from the get go that I’m aware my practices might differ from others in the department [many of these students have taken classes that utilize the ECHO captures for a number of semesters]. So in addition to posting the link to the captures under the LINKS tab in D2L, I email them with it as well, offering context for what was covered and what to pay attention to for next time. What’s most important is that they don’t delete these emails! I know it can be annoying to have to look outside of the course management system for stuff, but email isn’t going away as far as I’m concerned, and the more literate one becomes by creating folders, using filters, and flagging “to do” items, the better!

My confidence with teaching this seemingly “split” course has also grown as a result of my Directed Study student’s research project on student and teacher perceptions of the system. Indeed, I’m hyperaware of its ins and outs these days. I have to review and send over his IRB paperwork today too, so let me hurry up with this blog post.

The theme I’ve chosen for this hybrid course, which I neglected to mention earlier is an undergraduate course in Rhetoric/Style/Argument, is truth. As I did last year, I started with showing the SNL clip of John McCain approving ads to get students seeing why so many people define rhetoric in a negative way, as lying, manipulation, etc. But this time I also showed this interview between Stephen Colbert and Sherry Turkle to see if my students could identify the argument(s) AND if they believed there was a clear winner:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sherry Turkle
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

I’ve purchased Turkle’s book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other to be able to review her data and thus assess her longer argument, so I’ll try to post a review of that in a few weeks. While I know she was dealing with the character of Colbert, the first time I watched their interview I felt like he won. What do you think?

And will you leave a comment here, via Facebook, or Twitter rather than come tell me your answer in person? 🙂


stephen and stephen

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen Sondheim
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> March to Keep Fear Alive

After the PBS showing of Stephen Sondheim’s birthday concert I began composing an “open letter” to this great man, brilliant lyricist, and musical genius. I’m still writing that and will share soon, but until then, enjoy this interview with him on the Colbert Report!