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CUP OF CAFFEINE

reflections — snoitcelfer

Beginning this semester, I was so looking forward to starting down my path as a Communications Studies major at Furman. This was the first semester I began taking major requirement classes and I was really looking forward to acquiring some new skills. Digital communications was the second communications class I took this semester, in addition to public speaking.

Beginning this semester I had a few skills with Photoshop and iMovie. I was really looking forward to exploring those skills with a communications focus. With the addition of a new WordPress account, I was able to really broaden my knowledge of several platforms in this class and develop my understanding of digital literacy.

… [an] urgent need: to expand our conceptions of what it means to be fully literate in new times. Ours is an age in which technologies for multimedia, multi-modal authorship proliferate, challenging logo centric habits of mind… In these new times, I want to suggest, a familiarity with the full range of communicative tools, modes, and media, plus an awareness of and a sensitivity to the power and importance of representation of self and others, along with the space and support to communicate critically, aesthetically, lovingly, and agentively – these are paramount for literacy now (p. 230).

Glynda Hull

Digital literacy isn’t just about using information and communication technologies to create and communicate information. There is much more than that. The most important component in Hull’s definition is the acknowledgement of “a familiarity with the full range of communicative tools, modes, and media“. Utilizing certain platforms to have successful digital literacy is important.

Those platforms include:

Digital writing skills — In the digital word, you are not writing a novel. You are writing, however, to a digital audience that is fast moving and does not want to read too much. In my blog posts, I kept the content short a precise, while conveying an important message.

Podcast — Knowing how to produce an informative piece of audio is important. You have to have clear audio and a good story. My podcast group used the Audacity, a lavaliere mic, and a regular mic to create the best podcast sound for our story – Furman’d Dating Culture.

Videos — Knowing how to create a clear story through video can be very powerful. Through my Tandem video, I used iMovie and a camcorder. Recording still, clear footage with informative interviews was important in shooting a good video.

Images — Having clear photo that convey your story can help attract readers. I really wanted clear images for my blog that conveyed the importance of coffee.

My multimedia project blog reflected all of these. I really focused on good writing and attractive images. I wanted the story of quality coffee in Greenville to really be portrayed. In my video It was important to me to have quality footage and several interviews to really tell a successful story about Tandem. I so enjoyed shooting the video and editing it because those two goals were apparent.

After the conclusion of this course, I definitely can say I acquired some new skills with WordPress, video storytelling and editing, displaying attractive content, making a Podcast, and utilizing different forms of equipment.

I am so happy I chose to be a communication studies major. I know I will be well prepared for a career in sports marketing, sports management or event planning. Luckily, this summer I will be showing off these new skills at my internship with JMI Sports here in Greenville.

New phone, who dis?

Babysitters often share stories of their times watching the kids. Cute babies, extremely dirty diapers, and sassy or sweet young ones are among the most common of tales. But a new story is starting to be told. The one of the technology junkie who is FIVE years old.

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Ugh technology…anyone want to go outside?

Today’s children and future generations are increasingly becoming more aware of technology and how to use it. Abu Sadat Nurullah’s piece The Cell Phone as an Agent of Social Change refers to this increase in technology as a social change agent. This refers to the “transformation of culture and social institutions throughout time, which is usually brought about by collective behavior”.

The cell phone has slowly been creeping its way into our lives. Like a patch of kudzu it has grown tremendously, impacting everything around it. Not only do the younger generations understand and utilize it but older generations have had to adapt as well. Nurullah states that ‘the use of the cell phone is considered as a new “culture” or “subculture”’.

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The Evolution of an iPhone

The cell phone itself is not only shaping our means of communication but becoming a cultural artifact. ‘Studies show that adolescents’ use of cell phones around the world is characterized by, among other things, the heavy use of SMS (text messaging), gaming, picture messaging, and “moblogging”’. The cell phone has integrated itself into our everyday life. It is a tool that characterizes this century and its use will continue to progress as new technology is released.

 

Self Identity and Social Media

We are always concerned with our image – how we look to others. The process of self-presentation is a constantly evolving cycle in which self identity is analyzed in social, cultural, economic, or political settings. Therefore, all of these differing aspects create a network of interaction

Technology adds to this network. Creating a whole other world for the individual to create a self identity. In A Networked Self Zizi Papacharissi discusses the importance of creating and presenting a quality online self. Papacharissi states “Technology may provide the stage for this interaction, linking the individual, separately or simultaneously, with multiple audiences.” In other words, the online network allows the connections of many different audiences…so present yourself with thoughtful consideration!

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You are connected with so many people through the online network

Social networks allow us to “construct a member profile, connect to known and potential friends, and view other members’ connections”. With the world of social networks, it is so easy to connect with a large amount of people in several different platforms. This is what Papacharissi calls convergence – “a word that describes technological, industrial, cultural and social changes in the ways media circulates within our culture … a situation in which multiple media systems coexist and where media content flows fluidly across them” (Jenkins, p 282).

Convergence is important to remember in creating a self identity because it mashes our social networking identity into one single sphere. So, whether you are creating an Instagram account or a LinkedIn profile, know the content you display is the complete identity you are creating.

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Your network self identity is created from the convergence of all social media platforms

Catch up on Furman’s Dating Culture

All you need to know about Furman’s dating culture in the podcast below:

The Tandem yellow coffee cup that could

 

Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse knows how to do breakfast right. It offers the full package:  cute atmosphere, delicious breakfast, fantastic coffee and exemplary service. When you want the perfect way to start your day, this is the place!

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Tandem‘s simple yet eye-catching decor

Although coffee is the focus of this story, it would be criminal not to mention the breakfast menu.  One word comes to mind, AMAZING. Fancy yourself the “foodie” or just the average joe looking for a savory or sweet way to start the day, at Tandem’s it is impossible not to enjoy your meal of freshly made crepes. The selection of fillings is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. And service? From point of order to plate served, it is quick and friendly. So whether you are crunched for time or ready to relax and start your day, Tandem can accommodate you!

Back to the amazing coffee…

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Smell that freshness. Photo Credit // Margaret Clifton

Tandem buys their coffee locally from a company called Counter Culture Coffee in Durbin, North Carolina. The coffee flavor is strong and the richness of the freshly roasted coffee is delicious. As discussed in my blog post on local coffee shops, buying locally roasted coffee not only keeps local money, local but the freshness of the coffee is incomparable.

The latte itself is perfectly crafted with a swirled cream design on top. This perfection is due to the elaborate process the baristas at Tandem utilize. Everything is measured out to the exact amount and each worker is well informed of the process. They truly work in “tandem”! It’s actually amazing to watch them from the counter area!

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“I love going to Tandem because it is so much fun to sit at the counter watching them make the lattes” -Missy Clifton // Photo Credit

Tandem has the perfect trifecta of atmosphere, food, and coffee which is exactly why you must take a visit for yourself. Enjoy everything Tandem has to offer!

Here is my last visit:

Greenville’s Best: Coffee+Breakfast

Coffee shops in Greenville are numerous but some take some skill to find. Many, such as Biscuit Head or Tandem, draw customers to the door by sheer aroma of breakfast goodies. Other stores, such as Methodical Coffee or Coffee Underground, focus more on a spectacular cup of coffee.

Over the past month, I have sampled three stores to discover which coffee shop has the best cup of coffee.

*NOTE due to lack of time and the fact I am a near broke college student, I was not able to sample EVERY store. This is just an opinion on my favorite three! Please explore other Greenville spots and message me with your own reviews!

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The absolute truth…however, that breakfast might be the most important meal of the day // Photo Credit

Location #1 – Biscuit Head

Biscuit Head prides themselves on working with only premiere local vendors. They currently buy their coffee from a company called Bean Werks, located in Asheville (Biscuit Head has three locations, two of which are in Asheville).

Bean Werks utilizes a custom roasting technique (discussed in Coffee and Community post) and has created several signature blends. These locally roasted coffee beans have created quite a following and continually draw in new coffee explorers looking for something different!

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And the brunching begins! Photo credit // Margaret Clifton

Walking past a Biscuit Head is pretty hard if you’re hungry; the smell of good food permeates the air. They offer a satisfying Southern breakfast (I personally recommend the Moon Fries as a side) and cozy atmosphere.  Biscuit Head also serves a stellar latte.

Instead of a traditional cup or mug, they serve their latte in a very peculiar, tall glass. However, the iconic latte foam bubbles are at the top and the smell of sweet coffee steams from the cup. Biscuit Head creates a more airy foam with a drizzled design and their latte flavor is not as strong as I typically enjoy. Also for those that don’t care for an overabundance of cream, this is a great option. It seems this slightly different flavor  appeals to many… and from the looks of orders on the packed tables, plenty of people love this brew!

Location #2 – Tandem

Tandem, like Biscuit Head, serves a spectacular breakfast and cup of coffee. Tandem offers a unique breakfast of crepes whereas Biscuit Head leans on the classic southern breakfast (biscuits, bacon and southern goodness).  Tandem also prides itself on their ability to make a fantastic latte. Their technique is so fascinating to watch as the workers are completely in sync.

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Slideshow Photo Credit // Margaret Clifton

The latte is served in Tandem’s iconic yellow mugs with a fantastic foam design on the top. The flavor, from the locally roasted beans of Counter Culture Coffee, appeals to a wide range of tastes. Although it is considered strong,  the foamy cream perfectly balances the flavor making an enjoyable sweet drink. Add vanilla for an extra punch!

Location #3 – Due South

Due South is not exactly in Greenville…but close! This coffee shop is located in Taylors, SC in an old mill warehouse with an abundance of character. This coffee shop not only has a unique location but a unique specialty. Due South roasts their own coffee beans IN SHOP for a signature flavor. Their tagline is “Tailored in Taylors”.

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Due South’s cool location with an even cooler vibe // Photo Credit

I ordered a regular latte (no additional flavoring aka vanilla) and could really make the distinction! Their signature blend isn’t over powered with thick cream and so the flavor really comes through. I enjoyed it immensely and think that it is worth a visit for any coffee connoisseur. Even if you’re not that discriminating it’s a great place to relax, have a group meeting or do your homework… all in just a short drive.

Before the Production

In Todd Chappell‘s piece Video Production Premier, the video production process is discussed in regards to the success planning process that occurs. To make a successful production piece, it is important to remember the key stages exemplified in his piece: pre-production, production, and post production.

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The complete production process has three main steps: pre-production, production, and post production. Completion is seeing out the success of the product.

Although, the production process is very important to the development of a successful piece of film, it is the pre-production process that contributes most to the development of the piece as a whole. During this process, the construction of ideas, planning of scenes, and development of a budget is created. Therefore, this process could be called the planning stage and it requires creativity and thoughtful outlining.

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The Pre-production process is critical in developing a successful and compelling visual media

Pre-Production: The Main Details

There are a few important factors that go into the planning of this stage. The storytelling, scripting and scene shooting are all important factors that need to be planned out during the pre-production process. Here are some important factors for each part of the gears that make the production a success:

Storytelling

This process is so important. The story is obviously where the whole idea for the production comes from. Chappell states “you have a short time to tell your story so it needs to be distilled down into a strong, concise piece”. Therefore, it is important to clearly convey your ideas in a concise manner to create a successful piece.

Scripting

Scripting leads to successful production. There are two types of primary scripts. The first type of script is used in fiction films and is called a screenplay. Chappell states that these scripts are important to fiction films because they lay every detail of the story out. This makes it easier to shoot a scene.

The other type of script is a two column AV script. This type of script is typically used for documentaries, PSAs and other non-fiction productions. This script is often made after shooting has begun and it used more as a guide for the editor.

Screenplay                                              Two-column AV script

Scene Shooting

Making sure the right scenes and images are captured is critical in creating meaningful visual media. Chappell suggest planning out scenes in the same way the script is planned out. Have what you want to display already in mind.

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Have your scene thought out prior to shooting…sometimes you have to go the extra mile and you will need to be prepared!

A whole 8 seconds…make it count!

Our attention spans are…OH LOOK AT HER SHOES. Now wait where was I? Right, attention spans.

In today’s technology filled world, it is so hard to focus in on one activity for long periods of time. With the increasing amount of technology around us, our attention is constantly pulled in several different directions. It is said that the goldfish has a longer attention span than most humans, with goldfish at a whopping time total of NINE SECONDS.

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Interesting

Writers J. Carl Ganter and Eileen E. Ganter discuss the importance of drawing your audience’s short attentions with creative audacity concepts and the importance of conducting quality interviews. Their piece, Sound in the Story, illustrates these concepts while exemplifying these ideas for a better understanding.

Story telling is a major part in good audacity works. It is important to remember a few tips while creating a unique audacity works –

  1. New angles are important: Be creative with your concepts. Be intentional with your ideas.
  2. Audio creates meaning: “Audio works when it touches our hearts, tickles our imagination, intrigues our minds”. Make it count because it effects the audience.
  3. Story lines=dinner lines: Make your story something you’d want to talk about with a dinner table full of friends or strangers
  4. All stories differ: All stories are different, figure out how you want to tell it. Make it unique!
  5. Show me: Make your audio descriptive. Tell the story but let the audience draw on its own conclusions.
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Story telling

Interviews are also an important aspect when working with audio. Interviews help provide credible, proper evidence to support your subject. It is pertinent that interviews are conducted correctly and efficiently. Here are some guidelines to remember when interviewing an individual:

  1. Always use a quiet environment. Noising can be distracting for the subject and the audience.
  2. The microphone needs to be close! The ideal distance is about four inches away from the mouth. Excess noise is not attractive, so keep the subject as still as possible!
  3. Wear headphones to listen to the audio! You can make changes to the microphone during the interview but not after.
  4. Do not let your subject hold the microphone. This often increases stress and make them self-conscious.
  5. Listen to the subject. Hear what they are saying and have a thoughtful discussion with them. Ask relevant questions!
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Interviewing

Why Greenville should love our local coffee shops

As a kid, I used to go to an organic farm weekly with my mother to pick fresh produce for our family’s use. Talking to the owners of the farm and seeing the hard work that was involved in providing us safe and fresh options for our consumption really impressed upon me the importance of buying local. Freshness, nutritional value and controlled production practices are important advantages …  and not only does buying local help our farmers, it helps our economies.

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Buying local supports your local community // Photo Credit

 


Coffee beans do not grow locallybut they are roasted locally !

Instead of thinking locally grown coffee, think more locally roasted coffee. Roasting is the process by which coffee beans are transformed physically and chemically from a green coffee bean to a light, medium, or dark roasted bean.

In contrast with industrially roasted beans, locally roasted beans are fresher and are more flavorful. This is why many local coffee shops choose to roast their own beans right in the shop!

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The colors of the bean roasted rainbow // Photo Credit

 


Local vs. Corporate

Coffee is one of the top traded commodities in the world and a top choice of beverage ESPECIALLY in the morning. Personally, I think the perfect way to start any day is by drinking a hand crafted frothy vanilla latte out of a generous mug while seated in a cozy and welcoming coffee shop. I feel good about supporting the businesses, their employees and the Greenville economy.  On those days where time is seriously not a luxury, I actually feel guilty finding myself in the drive thru of Starbucks responding to the words, “May I take your order?” (Desperate times call for desperate measures.)

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Photo Credit // Local Coffee

Competition between gourmet, local coffee shops and the popular chains Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts is tough. Both of these behemoths spend unimaginable amounts of money on clever marketing campaigns to create brand awareness and increase traffic into their well recognized stores.

Although, these major corporations have a pretty good grip on the grab and go markets, local stores are finding small ways to break through consumers loyalty. They are focusing on crafting their own  “identity” with these characteristics:

  • Quality over quantity! – Locally roasting techniques resulting in unique flavors of beans… and a fresher taste!
  • Stick to the basics! – Although, a citrus mocha latte sounds interesting… not many people really want to throw down the money to experiment with exotic drinks.  Local coffee shops focus more on the traditional Italian drinks and have created an identity known for expertly creating these classic drinks.
  • Coziness is key! – While every Starbucks around the world has roughly the same  look and feel, local coffee shops are all uniquely decorated and designed. They  want their customers to enjoy a more “homie” atmosphere that encourages them to sit back and stay awhile.

 

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    Photo Credits – Top Left // Margaret Clifton, Top Right // Julia Piotrowski, Bottom Left Local Coffee, Middle Top Latte, Middle Bottom Latte, Bottom Right // Margaret Clifton

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