So this week the tasks for the DS106 Course got a little bit harder and I had to use my brain a lot more this time! Having completed my first task and got the feel for how DS106 works I had a bit more of an open mind and was ready to tackle any tasks that were thrown at me.
The first part of the task asked us to start customising our WordPress blogs, making them more personal to us and to what we’re blogging about. I wanted to make my blog more visually appealing and welcoming; I didn’t want it to look bland and boring because I’m not a bland and boring person! I created an ‘about me page’ so people can gain a small idea of the type of person I am, what I enjoy doing, and also what I look like (from my profile picture!) I also gave my blog a title line and tag line and changed the theme from the default s theme to something that would go nicely with the DS106 image I had decided to use, changing the colour scheme as well. I then created widgets that will appear down the side of my blog, linking my twitter account, about me page and also my Flickr account where I upload my daily creates to. Adding the widgets was pretty easy, there were so many to choose from, and I feel that by using widgets it has made my blog a lot more friendlier, easy to navigate and personal.
‘A place to play, room for discovery’ – Gardner Campbell
The next part of the task asked us to read an article by Gardner Campbell on Personal Cyber Infrastructure, watch a seminar he gave and then explain in our own words what we think he really means by Personal Cyber Infrastructure. This could be completely wrong so bear with me! However my interpretation of what Gardner is talking about is that we are currently going through a “digital facelift” where by the way we perceive and consume media is changing, its being redesigned, moulded into something new and adapted to the new world, however the same original concept is still under lying. Media consumption has changed, the web is now a more sophisticated telegraph, its still the same idea and concept, just consumed differently. And this is where Personal Cyber Infrastructure comes in. There are three main points involving PCI, narrating (blogging), curating (how we take care of something, arrange it and use it) and sharing. As consumers we are architects of our own digital lives, we have a digital presence and are in control of our own media. We want to create something new, not simply freshen up old ideas through a “digital facelift.” PCI is a tool, a platform we can use for a particular domain i.e. creating our own media, its a stepping stone in the world of online media consumption that we can use to help us develop and create our own voice and media and move away from the “digital facelift.”
The image above is my Daily Create task, which was published on the 2nd November and was titled ‘Share Your Best Sleepy Shot.’ I decided to use a photo that I took over the summer when I was working away in Italy. In the photo is my friend and work colleague Lauren, she came to see me while we were at work and ended up falling asleep on the sofa (I think she was a bit hungover!) I took the photo from my Dropbox account, edited it with the software on my laptop and then uploaded it to Flickr; it was all fairly easy to do!
The last part of the task was titled “Say it like the Peanut Butter” and asked us to create our own animated GIF from either our favourite or least favourite film. We were not told how to do it, we had to figure out for ourselves to see what we could learn and do. This task was designed to test our resourcefulness, and it was really easy to do. I’d never made a GIF before so I wasn’t sure how I would find it, but I simply went onto Google and typed in ‘how to make a GIF.’ I found a website straight away that allows you to create animated GIF’s, chose the clip I wanted to use from Youtube and followed the instructions. I wanted to choose something that was addictive to watch and made people want view it over and over again. I chose a clip from one of my favourite films, Mean Girls.
Overall I’ve really enjoyed Unit 2, I feel like I came into the unit with a much more open approach having already completed a task I felt like I had a better understanding over what I would be asked to do. I’ve found the tasks more engaging as well and much more enjoyable. I’m pleased with what I’ve done to make my blog more personal, it looks much more inviting and appealing now. It was fairly easy to customise, WordPress is one of the easier websites to use, which is always helpful! While at first it was a bit difficult to apply and really understand what Gardner Campbell was explaining, after watching his presentation a couple of times over I really began to grasp what he was saying and found it really interesting. When he talks about us being architects of our own digital lives it made me think about the first task in Unit 2 and how I customised my blog and made it personal to me, made it my own instead of leaving it in the default settings bland and boring and not really having much substance. I’m making my own media, making it personal, not just giving something old a new look. For this unit I only decided to do one Daily Create this time as I wanted to focus more on Gardner Campbell’s seminar and also create my own GIF which was something I hadn’t done before. I enjoyed looking through old photos to find the perfect sleepy shot! Creating our own GIF was perhaps my favourite task from this unit, because it was something I had never done before and was so easy to do that I would definitely consider making more in the future. I feel like I’ve had more rein on my imagination and mind this time, for example with having to find out how to create a GIF on my own and not just being spoon fed! I’m learning a lot about myself and what I’m capable of and its only Unit 2, I’m excited to move onto the next unit and see what it’s going to throw at me!