An Essay Review

So my assignment this week is to review a classmate’s blog. I was paired with Marshall and had the pleasure of reading and reviewing his first essay for our Publishing 101 class.

His essay, “Changing Times: Understanding the Shift from Print Literacy to Digital Literacy”, discusses society’s shift to digital literacy “[since] the advent of the World Wide Web” (Marshall, 2013). He comments on email, literature, and internet banking in order to explain this shift’s impact on the way in which the digital age has infiltrated daily life.

Marshall’s essay is strong and I could probably discuss his ideas all day long, but I’d like to narrow it down a little. I’ll comment on three things that work and another three things that don’t. Hopefully, this will provide a snapshot of the essay’s strengths as well as things that could be improved upon.

Things that Work:

  1. The first thing I thought while reading Marshall’s essay was that he had chosen an interesting and engaging topic. While my own essay was fairly derivative in its definition of publication, Jen ran with his own and came up with different ideas of online publication. To discuss email, banking, and text messages, he makes the essay both academic and relatable for readers of his blog.
  2. Throughout his essay, Marshall makes some good generalizations. I say ‘good’ because he actually backs them up with statistics and logical inferences. For example, he makes connections like “if the median age for doing this is younger, then that means that more people over this age are doing this.” That example is overly simplified, but I think it gets the point across. There are no erroneous generalizations evident in Marshall’s essay.
  3. While Marshall makes some logical generalizations, he is also careful to break down each of his points. While discussing literature and writing, for example, he makes points about books, book stores, news papers, etc.. He points out that these mediums are going through different types of changes even though society tends to lump them into the same category. I think that this technique of Marshall’s shows respect for each genre as its own unique thing. This comes across well in his writing.

Things that don’t work (or could be improved upon):

  1. This is more of a choice than anything else. I don’t think that Jen is wrong to use the passive voice in much of his essay, but I do think that it may take away some of his authority as an essayist. In an essay where he has studied the topic, found sources, and put time into a thoughtful idea, he shouldn’t lose credibility because of the agency in his writing. That’s just my opinion, though.
  2. I’m not sure if Marshall created his essay in a word processor program, but I think that it would help his writing. Little grammatical errors and spelling mistakes can also take away authority, but are easy to fix in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages.
  3. Marshall’s essay was very strong, but it would have been more helpful for him to explicitly state how all of his discussion points fit together. What do they mean? Why should we care? A lot of these answers are in his essay already, but I always think that one should assume that the essay reader is dumb and knows nothing about the topic or simple logic.

All-in-all, Marshall’s essay was an engaging read. I highly recommend that you read it and give it the traffic/attention it deserves.

Well done, Marshall.

Thanks for reading,

Kathryn

Work Cited:

Jen, Marshall. “Changing Times: Understanding the Shift from Print Literacy to Digital Literacy.” Marshall Jen. N.p., 19 10 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.

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Journal 5: A Review

As a part of my Publishing 101 class, I need to perform a review of a classmate’s blog. Luckily and unluckily for me, I was paired with my friend and peer, Danielle. Her blog, The Heart of Story, is so interesting in its content and is visually engaging in its simplicity. I say that I’m unlucky to have been paired with Danielle because her blog is so well done and enjoyable to read that I have trouble finding anything to criticize!

The Heart of Story is a cohesive mix of various media such as videos, blog posts, stories from the blogger’s life, and her tracking her addiction to sounds. I can’t even begin to describe each aspect of this blog because it is so unique to Danielle’s vision. This is why I think that it is such a great blog and why I believe it will be successful. I really haven’t seen any sites with such a unique focus as The Heart of Story. Danielle’s reflections on Publishing 101 materials and lectures (found under Journal) are especially engaging to readers both in the class and out. She writes in short, yet cohesive, pieces of musings and questions raised by her own thinking. What could be simple journal entries become beautifully crafted, poetic instances of creative reflection. I can’t commend Danielle enough for willingness to share her intellectually-stimulating and bright thoughts. Her deeply personal tone draws readers in as it is different from the voices found in many blogs.

The look of Danielle’s blog is simplistic in a creative way. Her curly fonts offset by a black-and-white colour scheme keep the blog artistic without being overtly masculine or feminine. It is visually refined and aesthetically pleasing for both sexes. I think that her blog may benefit from a small pop of colour maybe in her links or avatar; this would just give the eye something to seek out. This is a matter of taste, though.

Because I enjoy Danielle’s blog so much, I would love to see it have a high readership. I’m not sure if this is happening as of late. It might be a good idea to link out a little more, integrate some form of social media, or add a widget that could help increase traffic. There are lots of ways that Danielle could do this, but the addition is ultimately up to her. I completely trust in her vision for an artistic and creative blog and I know that she will ensure the integrity of her blog regardless of how she chooses to integrate social media. My point is that I’d love to see The Heart of Story become an internet sensation!

My final point about Danielle’s blog is about how much I enjoy the videos she attaches to her blog. She chooses soulful, beautiful music and integrates it into her blog seamlessly. It makes sense that Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” would be an entry in Danielle’s blog because there is a certain silence, an understatement, to The Heart of Story that is reminiscent of the harmonies and motif of the anthem.

I look forward to the future of The Heart of Story and how Danielle’s unique vision grows and moves forward.

Well done, Danielle!

Kassieboo