My First Stop at Political Geek Zone (Joshua's Final Project)

I really like the concept of Joshua's final project. It's a blog I would like to follow and would find valuable in real life. I'd appreciate having one stop where I could read a more detailed, educated and well-rounded version of current events. I don't know of another source that attempts to provide all counter arguments, so this idea intrigues me.

Week One

"Liar In Chief" was a post about how President Trump continues to speak untruths in his speeches. The topic is interesting, and as a reader, I would be interested in a detailed and critical perspective on this topic; however, the post ended with Joshua saying he'd update it with more - and I didn't see an update.

Week Two

"Gun Control: Myth vs. Reality"
This was a developed post on the topic of Gun Control. It contained links to sources and other articles about the topic. I liked having the links to lead me to more information. One thing I would have liked would be less bias from the author - just because that's what I thought the original proposal seemed to imply. However, I'll have to look more closely because maybe there is equal bias across all three gun arguments in this post.

After a closer look, it does appear that each of the arguments addressed are met with criticism, revealing the author's position on each topic but not giving the 3D perspective I thought the project was going to.

Week Three

"Proud Liar?"
This post picked up on the earlier post about the President's speeches and embedded a tweet from the President. I liked the inclusion of the tweet as a visual.

Comments

Josh's blog provides commentary on current political issues. Each posts contains links to sources and additional articles for a deeper read on that topic. I would value a blog like this, and it sounds like it's an attempt toget back to some of the original objectives of weblogs - where the blogger would collect several links on a topic of interest and compile them in a way that is useful for the reader. I really like the idea that I could visit Josh's blog if I wanted to know more about the topic of |Gun Control, for example, and find that he had compiled and sorted and commented on some of the best sources and articles on that topic.

His blog is set up so that you can scroll and see each post. The |most recent post is a follow-up to an earlier post, so it might be nice to have a link from the more recent one to the one preceding it if the reader wants to read them in the order they were written rather than in the backwards way they appear on a blog, but then again, that is the way blogs work, so readers might adjust to that.

The titles to each post are catchy and describe what the post is going to be about. There are no images or distinct stylistic elements going on with each post, but I think that helps keep the focus on the content which is serious even though the author takes on a conversational tone with the reader.


Josh's articles are opinionated, and so in this way, he'll appeal to a specific audience that shares his political viewpoints. This is a method of self presentation or representation and establishing himself as part of a certain political community.

The posts are pretty short. They present a bit of information, a couple of links, and a brief commentary. Nothing gets too deep or too heavy. The post about |Gun Control provided the most in-depth analytical content by introducing several distinct arguments. I think the audience for this blog would be readers who maybe don't want to get too deep into politics but want to keep up-to-date on the recent buzz topics.

The posts seem to be set up more one-sided like Josh is writing to the reader, to inform the reader and to offer his opinion. There is no invitation for commentary or further discussion. The content is mostly presented as a condensed, take it to-go version of current news items. I could see it working really well for readers who follow this blog on their phones or who tend to read their news on smaller devices. It's news tapas rather than news dinners, and the author has also included some commentary to add a little bite.

My First Stop at Kendra's Project

I noticed the changes Kendra said she was going to make to the blog - white background and a customized blogroll. This made for a welcoming, fresh and clean look.
I scrolled down so I could read from the oldest posts first. Kendra writes in a friendly, personal voice directly to the reader - like she's the reader's own personal coach. I like this close relationship she's working to establish with her reader. It demonstrates hospitality and trust - and support - something a reader who is attempting to change his/her lifestyle will need.

I really liked the second post |directed specifically at college students. This post was really focused on a specific audience of college students. I thought this was brilliant because it found a unique way to get into healthy eating and lifestyle in a way that was personal to both Kendra and the reader. I also liked this post because even her links connected to this topic of college students, making this a well-researched and designed post.

Kendra continued to design focused posts, each one addressing a new topic and containing links to articles that addressed that topic even further. This post is another example |when Kendra addressed the issue of body image.

I liked it when Kendra included a bulleted list of ingredients for the recipe posts like this one for | Chicken Taco Chili. As a reader, I would like to have this information up front without having to click or go deeper in. I also like the posts when Kendra used bold headings to organize the information in the |post.

The blog is pretty clean and simple. The only images are those of the food for the recipe posts.

Finally, I liked how Kendra often ends |her posts with something like "Until next time..." This provides such a personal and friendly and supportive tone.

When I read Kendra's piece, I thought about Steve Himmer's article The Labyrinth Unbound because her blog is set up in a way that is conducive to the way many readers approach blogs. A reader could enter her blog at any time and find their way around. You did not have to be there from the beginning. It's an easy blog to trek around in, going down one path and then another. You can zig-zag around from post to post or read more linearly. A reader who was only interested in recipes could do that, while another reader might focus only on the workout tips.


My First Stop at Will's Project

Well, technically not my very first stop because I've peeked at Will's project a couple of times since we started. I think it is AMAZING! I can't believe the creativity and the design. First of all, I think the project is such a cool idea! A throwback to early weblog concepts but with the modern capacities. I am really impressed with Will's technological skills. I could never design something like this. I know from reading his reflection posts that it took a lot of persistence and patience, but he had a vision and it's really cool.
I like the way the page opens up with no real guidance or direction. The visitor can choose which door to open and enter based on interest. The first one on the left does say "Welcome" encouraging the visitor to start there, but there is nothing saying you have to. I also like how there are links inside to take you even further.

I couldn't proceed with the |X-rays slideshow. That was a great find for the Wunderkammer! Crazy stuff. I liked how Will included the blunt and honest commentary and personal story from his childhood.

Some images are just images - Will's probably still working on the text to go with them. |Good Luck? is probably the most in-depth or "complete" page I've seen so far. This is really cool because Will has taken the topic of luck and analyzed it, going deeper and deeper. I like how he's played around with layout, drawing the reader in and in again by moving from larger to smaller fonts, introducing additional sources and texts, and just pulling the reader deeper and deeper in,complicating the topic as he goes.

Will's Wunderkammer is such a great eclectic space of whimsy and scholarly. I like how he seems to be designing it for himself personally - addressing his own personal interests by having a page devoted to writing and another page to Stephen King. I'm expecting to see a gaming page or something related to those other personal interests. I would like to see a donut page. This customized project harkens back to the early common place books we learned about in Rebecca Blood's history of Blogs. Blood explained how early thinkers like John Locke and Ralf Waldo Emerson kept their own collections of materials, quotes and snippets in Common place books. Will's Wunderkammer, seems like a modern version of something like that.

Honestly, I am blown away by this project. It's so creative, so out of the box. As a visitor, it really has me engaged. I want to spend time exploring the Wunderkammer. I like how it's personal to Will, but I also want to get in on the action. The site reminds me of reading the Guiness book of World Records books... those always have some wild stuff in them.

It's fun to see how Will is using images, spacing, layout, sources and hyptertext to craft this project. I'm not that familiar with online stuff, but it makes me feel like I'm conforming to traditional blogging structures while Will is out here breaking the mold and doing his own thing. I guess my project is more research oriented than presentation driven, but his project motivates me to maybe think a little more outside the box in future posts or for upcoming work. I can't say enough about how cool I think this is.

Will's Wunderkammer is
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