[disconnect from server #netnarr ? Y/N]


It’s the end of Network Narratives class. It was possibly one of the most interesting classes that I had a chance to participate in. Originally pitched as a follow-up to Electronic Literature class —which was also quite interesting in its own right, I can safely say that Network Narrative exceeded my expectations. The beginning of the class was focused solely on “the darkness” in social media. Frankly, I had some concerns during the first couple of weeks or so because of that. However, as the class progressed further, most of my worries, if not all, were pretty much diminished. Some particular topics that we examined such as the self-representation online or establishing “digital language” by memes or GIFs were thoroughly fascinating.

In terms of its impact, I believe that my perspective on social media has definitely been shifted. I wouldn’t necessarily claim that it has completely changed but there were some aspects more in the negative side of things for certain. Prior to my participation in Network Narratives, I tried to stay away from social media as much as possible. Even in Electronic Literature class, I only remember using it for once and that was about it. Now, I actually see the potential of social media in many areas such as educational possibilities or its inter-relational features. I’m quite certain that I’ll continue to use my Twitter account for future endeavors.

Looking at the syndicated posts (http://netnarr.arganee.world/author/twodonutsmakeinfinity/), I can see that I managed to keep up with weekly blog assignments. I should probably use the term assignment somewhat loosely here as it felt less like an assignment and more like a personal project of sorts. I genuinely had pleasure in writing blog posts for this class, even more so than the other classes, as they felt completely independent and autonomic. Instead of writing a mere response to something that I had read, I was reflecting on my own thoughts on a specific topic. It was as if I was writing things on my personal blog as a hobby, and it tremendously helped me improve my writing style. I guess freedom is indeed the key.

The highlight of the class in terms of activities was definitely the final project. The idea was implementing pretty much everything that we had learned so far into it and I did my best to accomplish that. Time constraints may have prevented me from utilizing a couple of the ideas that I had but overall I’m happy with how it turned out. Though, I’m probably going to revise some parts of it in the future if it is indeed possible to do so. I had some problems with managing my final project for the Electronic Literature class but I guess it simply served as a practice run because managing the final project here was done more efficiently. Any project that allows me to be creative and experimental is a delight, and the Field Guide project was no exception.

Although I wasn’t as active as I’d like to have been on Twitter, I’m happy to see that I managed to get into the top 10 in “leaders” board (http://daily.arganee.world/leaders/). That’s something. The DDA activities were quite fun and I did enjoy their experimental nature. I had actually submitted a DDA of my own at some point, though I do not believe it got selected. I might have actually found a DDA activity that is too experimental even for Network Narratives class. I believe “it’s the thought that counts” after all; I did submit one even if it didn’t get selected.

The least active aspect of the class for me was the annotations (https://hypothes.is/users/Maltese_Tiger). I tried to annotate whenever I could but it was difficult to comment on most of the articles that I had stumbled upon as they were too short or brief in content, or I was simply lacking anything insightful to add at the time, so I simply moved on. My “alchemist friend”, however, managed to annotate quite a lot for the final project (https://hypothes.is/users/Porter_Phoca). I do not know if it makes up for it or not, but I do believe that annotating for the sake of annotating is not an efficient approach. It’s very similar in how I approach commenting on my colleagues’ blog posts; if I do not have anything insightful or critical (or funny) to add, then I avoid offering comments.

Interestingly, my biggest take-away from this class is witnessing first-hand that it is possible to utilize unconventional pedagogy and achieve a successful outcome. One of the ongoing debates in academia tends to be lack of pedagogical methods, and desire to break away from the traditional ones in order diversify education in general. I believe that this class was a perfect example as to how a modernized method could be utilized and still remain effective. On top of that, the subject matter itself is very important to learn. It might be officially considered an elective class but I would propose making it a requirement at some point. As social media becomes more and more a crucial part of everyday life, awareness of its nature, whether positive or negative, and potentials do need to be instilled in the consciousness of people.

I do hope that the future students of Network Narratives get the same amount of enjoyment that I had. #netnarr lives on.

It’s Been Real…Or Has It???

Featured Image credits to Serkan for making such a cool custom gif!


So, I made it to the end of the semester. More, I somehow made it to the end of my graduate program!!!! I’m going to have my M.A. in like two weeks??? I mean, I have to wait for the actual degree to be mailed to me but the ceremony of it all is happening in two weeks!!!!

It has not exactly been smooth sailing. But, I managed not to be thrown overboard which I count as a primary accomplishment this last semester. Every new semester and, really, every new chapter of my life teaches me how to be a better sailor of rough waters. Each semester comes with its new challenges and new expectations. In NetNarr this semester, it was a definite challenge to balance completing my thesis as well as stay on top of course assignments. There were times where it was hard for me to even choose to work on a NetNarr assignment because I felt like it was taking away valuable time from my thesis. All semester I really felt like I was creating sub-par work–which, true or not, cut into my own self-esteem. I hold myself to high standards when it comes to my academics and I definitely felt strain semester in regards to my work. All that said, I am proud of what I have accomplished in NetNarr and I am incredibly grateful for all the supportive people I have met along the way.

First and foremost, so much of my installation for my thesis project would not have been possible were it not for the amazing support I received from my NetNarr classmates. I was very self-conscious about having an entire portion of the class revolve around my own “silly” project. More, I was self-conscious that it was being treated like a Studio Visit as if I were in the same league as some of our amazing guests like Chris Gilliard or Alex Saum, both tour de forces of intellect and creativity. But, my classmates were all very invested and also interested in my actual work. Serkan even came in with a hand-made tiger mask and everyone participated with the project. The footage that was taken by my classmates is invaluable and really helps bring my whole project to life. It’s a living experience on my website now. (For anyone who hasn’t yet, I strongly recommend checking out my acknowledgements. I am so grateful for all of the support I received, more grateful than I can ever fully express in words.)

Additionally, I am really grateful for all of the discussion I engaged in with my classmates and our Studio Visit guests during NetNarr. From my past experiences in NetNarr and my own research into digital culture, I know I bring a certain level of insight to the table but I was really impressed by the thoughtfulness so many of my classmates have in regards to digital concerns, especially concerns about privacy and about self-representation. I think we were all very overwhlemed by what Chris Gilliard shared with us about surveillance in digital spaces. For myself, I was deeply disturbed by how easily citizens who are not under investigation for any crimes can be monitored. That knowledge, though deeply disturbing, I believe is important when it comes to any discussion about regulating online spaces. That so many people are invested in this problem and are concerned about it gives me hope for the future.

I found it deeply moving, as well, to hear from Alex Saum this semester. Her work has inspired so much of the creative aspects of my thesis project. More, her perspective on online issues is so on the pulse and seems to be in line with my own concerns. Saum’s SELFIEPOETRY and #YOLO projects are exploring issues of self and of self-representation in online spaces that most concern me; primarily, I am concerned about where we are in these spaces and these spaces allow us to be whole in new ways but also irreparably fragmented. I find this all so fascinating. For me, Saum summarized some of my concerns succinctly when she said, “Works of art are always representations; They aren’t me.” At least, this thought lies at the heart of some of my own thinking on the issue of self-representation in digital spaces. Who is art for? Who are we for in this new digital landscape? What constitutes a person, what should matter in that regard? Who has the authority to decide what should matter? I was so deeply moved by Alex Saum and much of her perspective on online issues not only informed by own research but also legitimized its importance.

Speaking of Saum’s work, though, I am disappointed I was unable to create a #finsta for my final field guide project as I originally expressed interest in doing. In complete contrast to my thesis project, I wanted to explore how evaluative features and social curation in online spaces limits who we can be. I hoped to accomplish this feat by creating a #finsta (fake Instagram) account that would help me explore the nature of content creation and of evaluative features.

That didn’t happen.


Made a cool gif though~

I ran out of time to create an additional component, like a finsta, that would have allowed me to explore/subvert what I was going for. I do think I wrote a comprehensive piece on the topic of social curation in online spaces and I am proud of the research I did for that. (I never really could get into the whole “alchemist conversation” thing you were going for but I do think I tried to engage with my alchemist in meaningful ways on Twitter the Arganee cafe rooftop. Check out Vlada and see for yourself though. Beware, though. She’s a little snarky. I wonder where she gets that from…) I wish I could have had more time for the creative aspect of my research but I also feel like my creative quota for the class was met through different activities over the semester. For example, making my Twitter bot was a whole thing. So much creative and technical energy was exerted this semester not just to get my bot going but to get everyone else’s bot in the class up and working. I mean, after the whole “Russian interference in our democratic election process” thing I get why Twitter added more hoops to jump through. But still. It made for a lot of work on my end.

One of my favorite creative enterprises from this class as well as one of my fave assignments was making and exploring gifs. I love memes and I do think they are pique art at the moment but I find gifs to be so evocative. While I do think reaction gifs are limiting our own means of expression in some ways, I think the process of making one’s own gifs returns some of that autonomy to users. More, I think it is incredibly important to help writers in this age build digital skills, especially skils that help writers engage with a contemporary audience. New media like gifs and memes is the substance of the Internet in 2019. Knowing how to make new media helps make one literate in the area. I firmly believe that and I hope NetNarr continues with activities that help familiarize students not only with using new media but with making it. Most of us agree, I believe, that in order for any of the issues addressed in the field guide to be “fixed”, developing digital literacy practices is absolutely integral. In order to develop digital literacy and help people become more critical of the content they consume online, people need to become more familiar with new media and with how it is constructed. That provides perspective which opens new doors. Were people more informed, I highly believe that our current digital and media landscape would look much different. Somehow, knowledge and information and critical thinking are subversive. Go figure.

Overall, I think this semester 1) inspired me to somehow be even more critical and subversive in regards to my thesis and 2) helped me be more aware of just how little privacy we truly have online. NetNarr this semester has made me think twice before selecting auto-fill options and before allowing different apps to have access to my location. I mean, it’s fun to joke about the CIA/NSA/[insert shady government agency here] agent assigned to me but it’s a whole other thing to realize just how deep data tracking runs and how many people are making bank off of selling my personal information to the highest bidder. If I think about it too long, it really does disturb me. That said, again, I do think that NetNarr this semester has demonstrated that there are a lot of concerned citizens and ones that are willing to realize and actualize their concerns. Whether or not a candidate for a government office supports greater transparency or, better, a complete overhaul when it comes to online data tracking is important to my generation. We want a safer Internet and we want an Internet that can still be this place for the free exchange of ideas, for change. We know we deserve better.  I think NetNarr, classes like NetNarr, and the students in these classes are paving the way for IRL change.

Thank you for everything always.


Links Roll Call

My Blog Duh

My NetNarr Blog Posts

My Daily Digital Alchemies

My Field Guide Entry

Somni Porta: 1, 2, 3,

My Makes: 1, 2,

My Giphy

My Hypthes.is

Vlada’s Hypothes.is

My Twitter Visualization:

2019-05-10 (1)

I don’t feel like this captures all of our interactions this year???


Anyway, I guess that’s all folks. I’m not sure exactly where digital travels will take me next but I’ll always be a tweet a way from crashing the #netnarr party ^.^

~So, till next time, friends~

“Well, If I Don’t See You…” {Self-Assessment Narrative}

Reflecting and Observing. So long, for now, Alchemist World! It’s been a pleasure! (Photo: Kandid Shots Productions)

As I look back over the semester, I am proud of myself. Back in January, I walked into a class that I had no knowledge of and frankly, had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was like I listening to another language. In the beginning, I didn’t think I would live up to the expectations I put on myself since I chose an A grade contract. There was a lot at stake. Towards the middle of February, I thought I was going to have to change my grade to a B. There was no way I could keep up with the class. But, I kept pushing through and trying my best. I was worried that my knowledge of online art and life would be lost with the other people in the class who seemed like experts at Digital Alchemy. What I did appreciate is the amount of information I learned from this class. Surveillance, GIFs origins, Meme Art, Digital Art, Algorithms, and much more. Although I did learn a lot, I was looking for more of a balance by looking at “darkness” and “lightness” on the internet. For a long time, we looked at mostly “darkness,” which is educational and something that we all should be aware of. However, it would’ve been great if half of the semester we did “darkness” and the other half, “lightness.” Although those are my opinions, I must admit that my perspective has changed when it comes to life on the internet in 2019. I’m more careful of cookies and what I put out there on the internet. For example, should my nieces and nephews be posted online? Even if I put my safety locks on the posts, is there someone still watching?

Actually, I’ll share what I really took away from this class is how much online life has taken over my real life. Growing up, I didn’t have social media. I grew up having to memorize my friends and cousins’ telephone numbers, no television allowed during the week, and a flip phone that I could call my parents and my cousin. I didn’t have a smartphone until my junior year of high school. I didn’t have any social media until Facebook in my sophomore year of high school. Of course, like the rest of the world, we fell into the life of smartphones and social media without being able to stop. We didn’t know the effects it would have on us in the future. My 14-year-old self was self-conscious as all teenagers are. But I didn’t have social media to add on to it. I talked on the phone more. I was more present mentally with my family. Post-college, I realized that something has changed. I scroll through my phone without an agenda. I pick up my phone and open it even when I don’t receive a notification. My family could be around me, but I’m scrolling on Instagram.

Over the past couple of months, I started to think, “What did I do with my life before social media?” This class made me realize that I read more, listened to music, talked on the phone, I was more creative with my writing and so many other things. I realized that life was escaping me in a way that I didn’t expect. Am I addicted to social media? Yes but we all are. We can’t go long without it. This includes YouTube and Netflix; Not just Facebook and Instagram. At 24 years old, I have decided to delete my personal social media accounts. I am head of social media for other things so I will be keeping those accounts for business use only, but something needs to be done. Little by little I have been deactivating my accounts. Just not deleting the apps. So far, I no longer have my personal Twitter account or my Snapchat. Next will be Instagram and lastly, Facebook. I want to start carrying books with me again instead of scrolling on my phone or maybe some colored pencils and a sketchbook.

Now, this isn’t to guilt trip anyone or to look down upon people who do use social media. I am sharing a personal revelation that social media is kinda sorta, but really literally, consuming my life. Having the pressures of not posting someone on social media for their birthday even though you called them already. Why someone would leave a comment on someone else’s photo and not mine. Working out and eating right but I still don’t look like girl number 3,445 that I saw on my newsfeed instead of being happy with my own results. Seeing something on social media you wish you didn’t see. Finding out information you should’ve found out from that person instead of them posting it for everyone to see. The list goes on. I receive almost 150 notifications a day. I pick up my phone nearly 80 times a day. That time and mental use could be put towards so much other stuff. Like I said, business use, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. But for me, I realized I have a habit that I did not use to have, and I want to change it. I communicate with my family and friends a lot through social media, which is the beautiful part. However, I say all of that to say that this class has opened my eyes to realize that there is more than the online life.

Telling my story here for my self-assessment narrative shows that this class can truly teach you and show you things about the 2019 Internet. There is “good” and “bad” on the internet, but if anything, I loved that this class gives the logical and explainable parts to the unknown online life. I have already been sharing with my family the things I’ve learned. Jumping to my Fieldguide topic, I was not expecting this class to allow me to produce something of an article about something that I’m passionate about. I didn’t know that something like Blackfishing would be considered to be part of this course because it wasn’t anything “academic” per se. It was definitely a critical issue. But I didn’t think I was going to have the opportunity to discuss it at such great length and depth. I believe students in the future who take this course will see that they will finally have a place to talk about an essential online issue, about anything, and it’s considered a series part of the online life. I don’t really have to explain, but the Fieldguide project was my favorite part of the class. I produced something beyond what I thought the capacity I thought I could do. Also, I loved being part of an international online space. An example will be connecting with the students from Cario. I wish we were able to have more response and reactions from them but being part of something much greater beyond our class is really special.

For future classes, I would love to see more workshop classes that will help students with their Fieldguide projects. I think by having a more step-by-step process leading up the final project, there will be better productivity from the students who seem to have a difficult time grasping it. It can be overwhelming if you are someone who is not used to using platforms like Twitter. Also, if they are not used to using social media or the computer as a whole, a project as big as the Fieldguide can become a lot. When that happens, I don’t think the students produce their best work.

  • Link to Blog and Syndicated Posts: I think by looking at these two links, I see a theme for sure. I notice that I am interested in what’s beyond the self that is shown online. What’s underneath the Instagram self or the Twitter self? Who are we really without our social media platforms? I think what started that theme up is the Selfie-Unselfie Project that we looked at and became apart of. I wish we actually did more of that because I thought it was so refreshing!
  • Twitter: Being part of the Twitter online world and learning about the “darkness” that’s out there was a rollercoaster ride. (In a good way!). Being able to connect with scholars and my fellow classmates made the class different than other “traditional” classes. Unfortunately, my Twitter visualization does not match the work and effort I put into my Twitter activity throughout the semester. I think by looking at my Twitter gives a good sense of my contributions. Also, the Twitter of my Digital Alchemist plays a significant contribution as well.
  • Hypothes.is: Most of my contributions to Hypothesi.is was because of my Fieldguide project. However, other articles have my voice in it that I have annotated throughout the semester. By looking at this, it really shows the work that I have put into this semester. Adding my blog and Twitter activity into it, an outside person would be able to see a well-rounded (official) alchemist who succeeded this course! (Sidebar: My Digital Alchemist did an excellent job with her annotations in Hypothesi.is!)

All in all, I am so happy with the knowledge I gained from this class and I really believe it’s going to carry with me for years to come! I’m excited to use my new knowledge and connections to dive deeper into Digital Alchemy. With that being said, excluding the “checklist” of my grade contract, I believe I did a job well-done in the course despite my lack of knowledge at the beginning of the semester.

With that being said, see you later Alchemy World. (For now 😉).

Image result for jim carrey the truman show gif