Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Interview Blog

I interviewed Jenna B. who I sit next to in 301. We used to work together for over a year a little while ago so it made the process a lot easier. When looking for an item to interview about I couldn't see past her green linen scarf. I noticed it was long maybe 4-5 feet and very wide as it was folded around her neck. I assume she was wearing it because the temperature was so cold today, though I suspect it could also be a fashion accessory even on warmer days. I also guessed it was store bought but had the potential to be boutique or handmade. It was a light grass color and looked like it could be itchy which turned out to be entirely untrue.

It reminded me of a scarf that a former girlfriend used to wear. I have seen scarves like it before and found myself thinking about the kind of girls that wear them. They usually seem to be artistic or musical with a well defined personal style. However, I usually see them worn as a fashion statement not for warmth. 

When I interviewed her about the scarf I found that it was a gift from a former roommate, and former friend. A girl Jenna lived with during the Fall 2006 semester had lent it to her and when it was to be returned told Jenna to keep it. Jenna's roommate liked Jenna but not Jenna's sister and it is suspected that the gift of the scarf was potentially intended to upset the sister. While most of this story remains a mystery to me I feel that it would be better left that way. I asked Jenna if she thinks about this when she decides to wear the scarf and she told me she did. Sometimes it upsets her to think about it but usually it is not an issue. Regardless of the somewhat unusual story surrounding the acquisition of the scarf Jenna likes the sweater very much commenting that it is very soft and warm. She says the color can be difficult to match because of how bold it is but that it is a good color and it reflects her fashion sense.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blog #6

For this blog assignment I choose the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association website, www.wvmba.com. This is a website that I am very familiar with because of my involvement with the association and the events that they put on. Because of the very specific nature of the website I believe they find their audience very well. At the top of the page they have several sections you can visit to learn more about WVMBA and how you can get involved. The colorful website also has features such as points standings and rider profiles so someone new to the site can access the related material to give them a background knowledge of the association and the types of events they organize. In case the website is not clear enough for some they offer several different personal contacts to administrative members of the WVMBA who can further answer any questions.

Blog #5

For this activity I decided to reexamine Lester Faigley's Social Perspective essay. With nearly 40 cited documents Faigley takes full advantage of intertextuality. He uses prior texts related to his field of study to establish the "Individual Perspective", the "Textual Perspective", and the "Social Perspective". He uses these references to show how well established the individual and textual perspectives are and how while it has been recognized how the social perspective is the least explored. 
He goes on to use the texts in a indirect way during his explanations of the first two perspectives citing two texts when discussing the textual perspective and  two for the social perspective. Using the intertextuality between these texts and his current writing gave strength to his perception of the two perspectives of research.
While Faigley explains the social perspective and how he may be able to expand upon it and research it for nonacademic purposes he directly quotes several texts to further get his point across. By examining these prior texts he is renewing their relevance and aiding in his own pursuit of researching an under develop school of thought. 

Blog #4

After looking through the packet of materials given to us in class and completing the Paul Prior reading it becomes easy to see and understand the evolution of the student's cover letter and resume to his prospective employers. He goes from a very rough draft detailing some arguably irrelevant facts about his small yard work operation to showing the employers his specific experiences and skillsets that will allow him to work well in the companies. He also makes intentional tone choices in his letter that leave the employer with no doubt that he is a sound candidate. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blog #3

Faigley's essay regarding the social perspective was a very technical read. However, it was simple enough to be able to take away some pertinent information to answer this blog question. The social perspective takes an anthropological look at not only the process of professional and technical writing but also how it impacts the writer and the recipients in the contexts of their lives and cultures rather than in the vacuum of a text as a stand alone item. 

Something that writers should consider to participate in the continuous stream of communication is the three questions that the social perspective arouses. Faigley mentions these questions during the last section of his essay.

1. What is the social relationship of writers and readers, and how does this text      function in this social relationship?

2. How does this kind of text change over time?

3. How does the perspective of the observer define and limit the observation of      this text?

These three questions very simply sum up the issues that a writer should keep in mind to effectively communicate beyond the textual and individual perspectives. When a writer can answer these questions they should be able to successfully not only consider the audience and context their writings are targeting but the residual effects that the text will have on future communications with a specific observer but also future writings of their own. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blog #2

Jack Selzer's essay "The Composing Processes of an Engineer" is an in depth and well constructed look into the total composition process of Chicago engineer Kenneth Nelson. Aside from his statements detailing his personal research, interviews, and time spent with Nelson Selzer has so meticulously detailed the start to finish of Nelson's writing that it would be difficult to fabricate. Selzer has very closely analyzed how Nelson plans, outlines, drafts, and edits his various memo's, reports, and proposals. Selzer makes sure to reference specific writings that Nelson composes as well as previous writings that he uses as reference and in some cases actual content of the proposal he is currently working on. 

Selzer shows his own extensive research and analytical abilities in his essay. It is interesting to see how Selzer's narrative of Nelson's writing process mirrors his own. He obviously took very extensive notes through observations and interviews with his subject. He used his findings to create an essay that fully elaborates on the very intricate process of an engineer and his methodical composition process.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Assignment #1

The professional writing field has as many applications as the job market has industries. After examining a few of the websites the same job titles kept appearing. There are technical writers, editors, publishers and public relations specialists. All of these professions revolve very obviously around the professional writing field. However, the skills required of a professional writer can be adapted to other jobs as well. Visual and website designers, translators, and academics all use the same skills even when their jobs don't always directly involve writing. Most fields now require computer skills like Dreamweaver, HTML and CSS in addition to more traditional writing skills such as research, analysis, editing and comprehension. These are skills necessary to perform well in any professional writing job. Aside from being technically skilled professional writers must also be able to consider the target audience of their product and adjust accordingly. 

My interest in professional writing lies in expressing technical processes in a way that people operating outside of that field may understand them. In my work at a local bicycle shop I find that I frequently have to either explain technical mechanical processes to customers so they can understand what is wrong with their bicycle, how we are fixing it, and what they can do to maintain the repairs. I would like to explore the skills required to write technical user manuals for bicycles and bicycle related products. This involves becoming familiar with my audience and more familiar with the products and processes I intend to explain and write about.