Trial by Fire

Being controversial on purpose won’t get you invited to a lot of parties, but it might make you a better writer.

Defending your ideas can be terrifying; most people instinctively avoid confrontation. But debate sharpens both your ideas and your rhetoric. Early rhetoricians studied the subject for the express purpose of speaking in the public forum. They knew that ideas forged in the fire of controversy naturally become stronger – or, if they aren’t strong in the first place, burn out. And there’s nothing wrong with that. A weak idea that burns out is almost always a learning experience.

For some tips on how to actually go about raising some hell, check out this article at copybot.

 

Perfectionist Mode: ENGAGE

Sometimes “good enough” just isn’t quite good enough, and that search box really does need to move 3px to the left. Unluckily for perfectionists everywhere, it can be hard to communicate to peers, higher-ups, and engineers just how important 3px can be.

It is for those unlucky perfectionists that Braden Kowitz wrote this article at the Google Ventures blog. Kowitz outlines the language disconnect, specifically focusing on the point where engineers and designers find friction: implementation.

Kowtiz suggests an understanding, flexible approach. Batch up the work into a fix-it day the way bugs are often batched. Polish as you go, instead of expecting perfection upfront. And finally, do the engineers a favor and stay away from customization icebergs (custom tasks where there is a deceptively large amount of back-end work to keep up with).

Liza Potts on CHAT and NexUX

Our very own Liza Potts recently made a mark in North Carolina. After leading a workshop for NCSU PhD students in the CRDM program (Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media), she gave a plenary talk for both the CHAT festival and the NexUX festival.

The talk addressed WRAC’s new B.A. Program in Experience Architecture and Potts’ research on UX and disaster. “That was a great experience, because it brought together scholars working in the Digital Humanities as well as user experience designers and researchers working in user experience (UX) and human-computer interaction (HCI).” said Potts.

Live Unapologetically

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Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 4.02.01 PMStop apologizing, start accepting, embrace your beauty, and take part in the movement. This past summer (2013), two grad students, Katie Manthey and Rachel Seiderman, had the opportunity to experience an internship, and became part of an important movement known as, The Body Is Not An Apology (TBINAA). This is an online activist organization founded by Sonya Taylor. The Body Is Not An Apology is a GLOBAL movement focused on radical self-love and body empowerment. This movement encourages women to own their beauty, love their scars, and accept their appearance no matter shape, size or color. As women we need to stop being beholden to the beauty that society has labeled acceptable, and live comfortably with what we are blessed with.

On February 9, 2011, Sonya wrote a Facebook status following a picture of herself in a black corset. She posted this picture to make it clear that she defines what’s sexy.“In this picture I am 230lbs.  In this picture, I have stretch marks and an unfortunate decision in the shape of a melting Hershey’s kiss on my left thigh.  I am smiling, like a woman who knows you’re watching and likes it. For this one camera flash, I am unashamed, unapologetic.” This was the status that started the movement, ever since many women have taken part of the movement in various ways, such as posting pictures, writing statuses, and even interning to demonstrate that they are living unapologetically.

Katie Manthey, a 4th year PhD student in Rhetoric and Writing with a concentration in cultural rhetorics, chose this summer internship, because she wanted an opportunity to make a difference. Katie stated that she had been a Facebook follower of TBINAA for awhile, and had been presenting on feminist issues around the body at conferences, and was excited about the opportunity to write for a mainstream audience. As content intern, one of Katie’s responsibilities were to provide two weeks of blog posts. Her blogs had to be original, and related to the theme of the week. When writing these pieces she had a specific audience to consider, which were Tumblr and Facebook.

Rachel Seiderman, a 2nd year MA student in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing with a concentration in fat activism/acceptance, discovered TBINAA through a spoken word poem on YouTube. Moved by Sonya’s piece, Rachel started following TBINAA on Facebook, and when the call for interns was posted, she knew it was the perfect summer internship. Rachel also held the title content intern, but her duties were slightly different from Katie’s. She was responsible for generating original content for TBINAA’s Tumblr, making suggestions for reblogs, and also providing images to be posted on the Facebook page. Continue reading