L 08 – Reflection

This week was slower. I tweaked my ads, shortening them and making them more active.

I also experimented with different themes for my website. I ended up not changing the theme. The current theme is a white background with black edges and white and green text. I also added a header image of character looking down into the posts. These are the characters that I’m developing to be mascots. Since my website is simple and revolves around drawings, it needs to be visual. Thus, I think a mascot of some sort boosts the site’s personality.

My site is a daily drawing blog. I’ve been uploading in the evening. Until I get more traffic and followers, then I don’t know if people will like me uploading in the evening. The website is supposed to be about helping other people, so I can’t change and improve the site until I get feedback.

It’s a little stressful to upload everyday. It feels like a school assignment to upload everyday, except I don’t get a grade for it. It feels more like a personal project that I’m actually sticking to.

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Flow and Telescope of ESO

the-elder-scrolls-online-game-hd-wallpaper-1920x1200-6175ESO poster featuring three characters from the trailer. Image found here.

Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is the latest game in the Elder Scroll series. This MMORPG has been long anticipated by many Elder Scroll fans. Even if you’ve never heard of it, you can see why it would be loved for its lore, detail, and beauty.

In the book Introduction to Media Literacy, there is are sections in Chapter 7 about electronic games, where MMORPGs are specifically mentioned. Unlike some textbooks that obviously have a bias against video games, this book describes video games spot on.

One example is that they say gamers create the story based on how they play the game. This is more true for some game genres than others. In RPGs and MMORPGs, these games are specifically designed for you to not only put your own twist on the story, but to create the character you play as. The book is also correct in that these games give players a “sense of power and a sense of wonderment.” These features particularly appeal to some players, myself included. I play almost exclusively RPG game for these features.

Not only can you customize the character you play as and change the story in RPGs and MMORPGs, but you can also choose what the objective of the game is. The game supplies you with a world, NPCs, quests, and a main storyline or two. Given this, you choose what you want to do. If you want the objective to be competition, then you find people to fight and level your character to maximum effectiveness. You can also roleplay, which is where the game is just a tool for you to pretend you are your character. Or create a character to be you and you play the game as you. You can also focus on exploration, finding all the secret locations, easter eggs, and hidden quests.

For MMORPGs, flow and telescoping are key characteristics. In the example of ESO,  the world and lore is designed to be immersive. That means it is so detailed and interesting that you are completely immersed for a time. This results in most players enjoying a deep and exciting flow. Telescoping is very important to play MMORPGs well. You can’t be isolated in the moment of the current task. You must complete you current task with the future in mind. If you don’t, the game will make sure you regret it.

In short, this section of Introduction to Media Literacy is the first academic text I’ve seen that accurately describes aspects of video games. The book isn’t for or against video games, but instead is uneditorial in its terms, observations, and descriptions.

L 07 – Reflection

So far, I have been faithful in uploading a post to my blog daily (darksundrawing.com). The writing in each post has been getting shorter, but the writing was never the point of the blog.

This week, we worked on our Google AdWord campaigns and focused on keywords. I felt that I pretty good grasp on this week’s content from the start. It took a bit of tweaking to word my ads correctly, but I feel that I’ve done it correctly.

Regarding keywords for my website, I felt that I had a slightly different focus than the rest of my group. My website is already for a very small niche group, so if I developed specific keywords for an already specific subject, I would attract a very small number of people. I developed relatively broader keywords for my small niche. ‘Daily drawing’, ‘pencil sketch’, ‘art online’, ‘make a drawing’, and ‘cartoon drawing’ were some keywords I used. Since I draw a large spectrum of things, I couldn’t put one specific subject in my keywords, such as ‘cartoon cats’. If that would prove more effective, I may have to change my drawing focus.

On every post, I state that I want this blog to be for and help visitors. To do that, I need feedback and comments. I hope that once I get my ads up, I’ll get that feedback and I can start helping people draw.

What I found on my Facebook

According to YouTube, this Clinton campaign ad was published in Sept. I only saw it on my Facebook feed a few hours ago.

There are many MANY messages being sent from this political ad. It obviously supports Hillary. We see her side-hugging a young woman. We’ve always known that Hillary is an advocate in the modern womens’ rights movement. The women in this video are young, making the ad relatable to young women themselves and the mothers of young daughters. The young women are of different ethnicities and bodyshapes.

This ad can really hit home for some people and create powerful, personal feelings against Trump. Other people couldn’t care less and this ad could make Hillary seem soft and too personal or emotional to be president.

The other point of view is how Trump is being represented. It’s hard to argue that what he’s saying isn’t cruel, rude, and unprofessional. But all the sound bites of Trump are very short and clearly taken out of context. You could argue that isn’t a fair representation of Trump. In addition, the short footage of Trump at the end is not only taken out of context, but is clearly older footage. You could argue that taking an example of bad character from someone’s past is low and unfair, since that interview is not directly related to the campaigns of this current presidential election.

In short, the intended message of the ad is clear, but that’s not the only message being conveyed.

L 06 – Reflection

This week, I researched the legalities and tax laws for starting a business. I also built the website and launched it.

Researching business laws drained me. I was so overwhelmed. The whole time, I felt a compulsion to quit. As soon as the class was over, I would shut my business down. I didn’t want to deal with so many entities. With schooling at BYU-Idaho, I spend most of the year away from home. I was confused as to which state I should register my business in: Idaho or California. Ultimately, I decided that I still claim residency in CA. I’m still included on my parent’s taxes, my drivers licenses in registered in CA, and I registered to vote in CA. Still, as a sole proprietor, I don’t think I need to pay fees for registering. Just more paperwork to register and extra paperwork on my taxes.

I also launched my site. I was deciding between Bluehost or iPage for my hosting company. Bluehost was a bit more expensive, but I could request a refund whenever I wanted. iPage did not after 30 days. Both companies required you sign-up for no less than a year. I was very annoyed with this, so I was going to take Bluehost because of it’s refund. However, I would have needed to pay $12 for my domain name if I quit early. Because of this, I would pay about the same if I took a refund from Bluehost or stayed a whole year with iPage. Because of this, I chose iPage. If I’m paying the same for both situations, I might as well have the site for the whole year. In addition, Bluehost required an advanced package to have Google AdWord credit. iPage included $100 of AdWord credit as a standard. The chat feature hooked me up with someone who made sure I got set up correctly.

Once I started to create the site, I started to feel better. It began to look like a blog business that I would be a part of. I’m almost excited to see if I can make this work for a whole year. Not just to make money, but to see if I can do it. And put something on my resume. As I intended the site is very simple. I originally thought to have different pages of information, but it would be too complicated for such a simple blog. Especially on mobile devices; it would be too crammed. So I put all the information I would put on separate pages onto the sides and bottom of the main page. The domain name was going to be dailydrawings.com, but it was already taken. So I changed it to darksundrawing.com. Not only does it create a name that can be branded, but it connects to my DeviantArt account, which is a plus to connect to other artists.

The Deep Web is No Secret

With cell phones and computers, it feels like you have the library of the world at your command. You would be grossly wrong.

A person using an average browser (Chrome, FireFox) can only access .03 percent of the Internet’s content .** Perhaps many people are blind to the “deep web”. This is not referring to sites that are morally offensive. This is not referring to “dark social”, which is sharing information that cannot be tracked by standard web analytic programs*. Simply sharing a link to someone via email instead of via social media is considered dark social. So what is the deep web?

Despite being the operating grounds for major illegal activity, the deep web’s main function is to serve users with complete anonymity. As people are becoming more concerned about their privacy, they are resorting to download the deep web browser Tor.** However, if you want your information to be protected, you should think twice about using the deep web to do so.

headerWelcome to the Game welcomes you to the deep web. Image from Steam.

Welcome to the Game is a (perfectly legal) indie game developed by Reflect Studios. This puzzle/horror game simulates what it’s like to explore the deep web. The point of the game is to find codes within the sites of the deep web to unlock a Red Room, a live stream, interactive torture room.*** To quote tvtropes.org, Welcome to the Game “… uses a combination of exaggeration, urban legends, and actual twisted Deep Web content…” to create the atmosphere of the creepy deep web.**** Within the deep web are sites featuring sick personal confessions, family drug businesses, hit-men, human butchers, and satanic cults just to name a few.

This information about the deep web is obviously no secret, seeing as you can search for it on an ordinary browser. The question to be asked is how Reflection Studios came up with such a detailed game about the deep web.

* https://www.techopedia.com/definition/29027/dark-social
** http://www.sickchirpse.com/deep-web-guide/
*** http://store.steampowered.com/app/485380/
**** http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Videogame/WelcomeToTheGame

L 05 – Reflection

This week was more up my ally. Thinking about our site design and how it functions is what is most important for my business. Since my business is a blog, I’m not trying to sell a product. I’m trying to sell the blog. Thus, aesthetics is more important than it might be for others. I decided to go with many bloggers do and have soft colors and simplicity. Since the images are the focal point, it’s very important that nothing distracts from them.

Then we talked about the option of using PayPal for our transactions. I thought it was a simple matter; PayPal is reliable, right? It’s very secure for me because I would only use PayPal for donations. I’m not selling any products. I get my money from advertisements and from the PayPal button option to donation. Since my blog is an artist blog, it’s particularly appropriate or expected to have a donation option. I also know that many artists have a PayPal account. But as always, the DB brought up things I never thought about, particularly legal or security issues. Using a donation button is the safest thing to do, but others had concerns about using it for typical shopping cart transactions.

I’m noticing that these assignments are starting to get a little more personalized to our business, products, and business method.