Digital Literacy

When I first started the blogging process, I thought, “How hard could it really be?” It turns out, much harder than I had ever anticipated. I always thought that because I have always been a good writer, blogging would be a cinch. However, I soon learned that it takes much more than good writing to be a good blogger. One must have an understanding of the audience, the purpose, and the platform. In short, one must be digitally literate.

Furthermore, digital literacy expands far beyond blogging. For instance, I think that one must have an understanding of video, audio, photograph, and website production and be able to apply self-brand to any digital endeavor. Although it took more episodes of trial-and-error than I would like to admit, I am confident in stating that I have expanded my sense of digital literacy and am excited to further my knowledge!

Here are the main take-aways from my Multimedia Project:

My Blog:

Blogging was perhaps the most intensive learning curves Capturein terms of digital literacy. This is because it was the platform that I used to display all of my projects.

Digital Proficiencies Necessary:

  1. Digital Writing
  2. Photoshop
  3. WordPress
  4. Adobe Premiere Elements (video editing)
  5. Interviewing techniques
  6. Comprehensive understanding of the relationship between happiness & fitness

Favorite Post: Athlete Happiness

Because this is the blog post that includes my personal video, it was the most thoroughly researched subject. Not only did this post allow me to delve into a topic that I am passionate about, it also was a great way for me to apply creativity to technical concepts such as editing.

My Website:websitecapture

Digital Proficiencies Necessary:

  1. Self-branding
  2. Website building
  3. Digital Aesthetics
  4. Digital communication tactics

Website building was perhaps my favorite component of this Multimedia Project. I liked this portion of the project because the final product is something that will be useful far beyond college. This was a way for me to showcase my work and to brand myself professionally

My Resume: resumecapture

My website is a way for me to establish myself professionally, therefore I took advantage of the platform and decided to create a digital resume. This digital resume is a quick way to reference my credentials. I also provided a link to a more extensive PDF version of my resume.

Literacy Reflections

While I have made leaps and bounds in terms of digital literacy, there are still many ways in which I believe that I could strengthen my work. I think that in the future, I could do a better job outlining my work before I start. I think that if I were to increase preparation and planning, I my work would be more cohesive. I also think that this extra planning time would allow me to spend less time with trivial editing and more time fine-tuning the art of digital communication.

Overall, this Multimedia Project has taught me more than I ever expected. I learned how to use software such as Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Elements, and Audacity, as well as online programs such as WIX and WordPress. I have also learned how to use social media such as Youtube, Twitter, and Flikr in professional capacities that will aid me in the future.

I look forward to continuing my digital education and using this education to establish myself as a marketing professional following college. The skills I have learned throughout this project have proved beneficial in the present, and I can only hope that they will continue to be beneficial in the future!


Athlete Happiness

Happiness as an Effect

Athletic participation improves an individual’s overall outlook on life. Female, non-athletes are more likely to suffer from body issues, anxiety and depression than athletes.

These issues are not just evident in scientific research, but are also substantiated by the greatest of athletes: Olympians. Following interviews with Olympic athletes, Kerri Walsh Jennings (nicknamed ‘Six Feet of Sunshine’) and Summer Sanders, psychiatrist Sheenie Ambardar notes each athlete’s positivity: “I couldn’t help but be struck by how vibrant, cheerful, and just plain happy they seemed. They were truly oozing positivity from their pores!”

Happiness as a Cause

A recent study by the British Journal of Arts and Social Sciences asserts that happiness can elevate athletic performance.

“Athletes with high levels of mental happiness are more successful than those with low level of this variable. Therefore, it can be concluded that mental happiness has a main role in prediction of success in sports by athletes.”

Because success often define’s an athlete’s happiness, one must be mindful of goal setting. Setting small, achievable goals will ultimately improve one’s happiness. If small goals are set, smaller periods of time will elapse between accomplishments. This shorter period of time provides a sense of success that doesn’t have to withstand long periods of time.

From an alternate angle, athletes seeking success must find a balance outside of athletics that optimizes happiness. If an athlete gains happiness from external factors, that happiness has the potential to translate into athletic performance.

The Exception

Because athletes are typically competitive by nature, sometimes the pressure becomes too great and drives the athlete to be self-destructive. For example, many athletes involved in individual sports such as ice-skating and gymnastics, suffer from eating disorders due to the pressure of appearing dainty. Similarly, many elite athletes under large amounts of pressure often succumb to over-training and eating disorders in order to get ahead of the competition.

For more information on athlete eating disorders and over-training, visit this website.

Continuity Cutting

Ever seen a low-quality video? What makes this low quality so easy to spot? The answer is editing. Editing transforms a piece of film from mediocre to magnificent. One of the fundamental elements of editing is continuity cutting. Continuity cutting, trims pieces of film or video and cuts them in a way that shows a sequence of events. According to Brian Retchless, in his article, Why Editing Works:

“The ultimate goal of these rules is to make the actions in the scene remain clear and offer clues to the audience as to the spatial orientation of the scene”

Stay Consistent

The first thing to be aware of is the fact that scenes shot with one camera will be more difficult to edit. This is because the minor adjustments occur that show the seams of a transition. The basic information such as color, lighting, and volume should remain constant so that the viewer notices the progression of events rather than the small irregularities.

The 180° Rule

Secondly, when a scene is shot, the camera transforms 3D images into 2D images. This establishes a left-to-right relationship within the frame. This means that we must follow the 180° Rule. In order for a film to maintain continuity, the camera must remain on the same side of the action, 180° surrounding the line of vision.

Always Show Action Shots

Finally, match the action from one shot to the next. The series of clips should flow so that the viewer understands the sequence of events. A person’s action or movement should be captured between two different positions. For instance, if a person is in bed, there should be an action shot of them getting up before the viewer sees them standing.

Happy Cutting!

For more tips, check out this video!

Fitness Motivation

Motivating yourself to go to the gym can be difficult. It takes drive, commitment, and time. As indimidating as exercise may feel, the benefits are far greater than the drawbacks. Learn to combat this intimidation by finding a fitness partner, having fun with your fitness, and most importantly by resting and rewarding yourself.

Find a partner

According to the Journal of Sciences, “The likelihood of staying motivated during exercise increases when friends or peers engage in those same activities.” This means that just having a friend around increases motivation.

Find a PartnerThe same article also tells us that fitness partners encourage us to push ourselves: “individuals attempting to exercise more intensely could benefit by exercising next to someone they perceive to be high fit.” Be sure to make note of the fact that the opposite can also happen. Exercising with someone less fit than you may cause you to exercise less intensely. Choose your work out partner carefully!

Have Fun

Finding an activity that you enjoy helps to increase your motivation to exercise. A recent study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that an individual can train the brain to enjoy exercise. Find a fun activity, stick to it, and build up. Exercising will become less of a chore and more of a treat.

Rest Your Mind &Body

Rest is essential for both the body and the mind. Over-exercising too often results in burnout and injury. Rest allows for muscles to grow and for the body to re-energize. Those that incorporate rest into their exercise schedule allow time and energy for other activities that factor into an individual’s happiness.

Adjust Your Goals

The New York Times Well blog introduces a new frame of fitness thought: “It’s time to stop thinking about future health, weight loss, and body image as motivators. Instead…portray physical activity as a way to enhance current well-being and happiness.”

About the Author

My name is Gretchen Smitson and I attend Furman University located in Greenville, South Carolina. I am originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, but in the midst of looking for a little more warmth and sunshine, I found myself studying Greenville! I am a Communication Studies major with a focus in business and art and I intend to start a career in marketing after college.

I have always been interested in health and fitness. Stemming from when I was little and playing in the munchkin soccer league through the 8 years that I swam competitively, I have always been active. This is why college was such a rude awakening. I found myself eating more and exercising less. The combination seemed to make me less happy. I found myself in some kind of rut and couldn’t get out.

This is what prompted me to consider the relationship between happiness and fitness. Are fit people happier? How much is too much? How much is too little? Do I require more exercise than others to be happy?

I have experienced the full spectrum from being sedentary to being crazy fit. Now my goal is to find the happy medium—a balance that will promote my overall well-being through happiness and fitness.


Easing Interview Tension

Interviews. They can be highly powerful or, let’s face it, incredibly awkward. What makes an interview awkward? Is it the interviewer, the interviewee? While it could be both, it is the responsibility of the interviewer to ease any tension.
How do you ease this tension?

#1: Plan your Interview Site Before the Interview:

Background noise ruins even the best of interviews. Thankfully, you can avoid this faux pas by planning ahead. Prepare for sounds such as radio, wind, buzzing electronics, or even people taking in the background!

#2: Make Interest Apparent on Your Face: 

Monitoring the environment of the interview often distracts us from the subject. If an interviewer looks disinterested, the interviewee will likely become nervous and give less information…both of which take away from the quality of the interview.

Make sure to smile when appropriate and to express interest throughout the entire interview.

#3: Handle the Microphone Yourself:

The only thing the interviewee should be responsible for is delivering answers. Don’t make them guess where to put the microphone or how to handle it. You want your interviewee be at their highest level of confidence so that their answers provide the best information possible for your project.

#4: Don’t Confuse Simplicity with Laziness:

Ask questions the interviewee will understand, but do not underestimate their ability to provide meaningful answer.
Consider before the interview questions that will draw out deep responses, but will not confuse the interviewee.

Have more questions? Listen to what expert journalist, Katie Couric, has to say:

The Perfect “Fit”

“Instant weight loss,” “Get ripped in 30 days”

Today it seems that nearly everyone  claims to have discovered the magical fitness solution. With so many fitness solutions on the market, it becomes difficult to decide what fitness path to take. Which routine should you do? How much should happiness be factored in?

The following fitness suggestions seek to maximize both fitness and happiness.

Sifting through fitness fads can be difficult.         The sheer quantity of these plans makes living a healthy lifestyle intimidating. Aim to start small.

Sifting through fitness fads can be difficult. The sheer quantity of these plans makes living a healthy lifestyle intimidating. Aim to start small.

Here is a basic framework to start your fitness plan as suggested by he Mayo Clinic:

Aerobic activity: “Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity.”

Strength training: “Do strength training exercises at least twice a week”

Seems like a lot doesn’t it? When expectations for fitness are so simply put, the idea of fitness becomes something intimidating and seemingly far-fetched. However, many people accomplish these exercise goals on a day-to-day basis without even knowing. For example, you could be cleaning out your office and strength training at the same time.

For me, the key to accomplishing these daunting goals is incorporating into daily activities so that by the end of the week, I don’t feel like I have to work out for another four hours. I find that if I recognize my daily, non-gym-associated activities as steps to improve my fitness, I feel much more accomplished and therefore more likely to continue reaching towards fitness.

According to this feeling of accomplishment aids motivation to continue to reach towards a goal:

“Mastery goals are said to promote intrinsic motivation by fostering perceptions of challenge, encouraging task involvement, generating excitement, and supporting self-determination…”

Translation: accomplishing goals (regardless of size) motivates the individual to further pursue a goal.

Now that you’ve started small, it’s time to build up.

Once you take these first steps, the idea of going to the gym and stepping on the treadmill becomes much less daunting. In fact, sometimes it borders on enjoyable. Here are some tips on finding your perfect “fit.”

Image credits: Yoga girl | Diet book stack | Tired runner