Creative Assignment 2 – Meme Part 2

My Meme: A dedication to all that have suffered the wrath of APA formatting

I loved the opportunity to create a meme. I always wanted to do one but didn’t realize I could. First of all, let me just say I love Chuck Norris. I remember watching many of his movies and TV series thinking he was like a soft spoken super hero and his secret power was to protect the world. However, I wouldn’t want to P*&@ him off.  So he was a perfect pick for my meme.  As an instructor of dental hygiene the last thing our new students ever expected was to use APA. They hate it. “We are here to learn dental hygiene, not to write and format papers!” Oh you silly little naïve dental hygiene newbies. Don’t you know that you have to submit a yearly portfolio to the College of Dental Hygienist of Ontario in APA format?  Want to see a class of students that looked like the world just ended? That’s right students! For your next 22 months all assignments and presentations must be in APA format.

It is an ongoing complaint amongst the students. If there was anything that the students had free reign to change it would be APA formatting. In dental hygiene, APA formatting takes on a life of its own. So to use Chuck Norris and the sarcasm of APA to create a meme parallels the feeling of the students perfectly.

I would think most student feel this way, or at least the young, new or unfamiliar users of APA formatting.  I know that I have to use it, as well as an evaluator of it, so to me it comes natural. So this meme would not only be relevant and understandable to dental hygiene students, but to all students and educators, especially at the post secondary level. I remember even witnessing a classmate in my adult education class ask the instructor how much APA formatting was worth if opted not to format his paper that way. It didn’t matter what it was worth, that instructor had a look of kill on his face. It is as though APA formatting is the GOD of all formatting. So as for specialized knowledge in understanding this meme, for sure most students especially those in post secondary would get the sarcasm of this meme.

The fact that the meme has Chuck Norris standing there with guns in search of the person that forgot the period in APA formatting proves how powerful the text is. Imagine people understanding that missing a period in a reference, in text citation, title page, or author’s name is so important in a paper that if it is missed, the APA police will find them. It is illegal in the educational environment. “How dare you forget a period after the authors name in a reference?” Ludicrous? Yes, but that is what makes the text in the meme relevant.

The creation of this meme was thought of before searching the options. I knew I wanted to focus on something that mocked my position as an educator, easy to do. I had the idea of APA formatting immediately.  It is a daily bone of contention in my class.  I am constantly reviewing and explaining to students how to find the correct APA formatting. (STUDENTS, GOOGLE IT!! Not said out loud.) It is a perfect connection for any student that despises formatting of any kind. I think educators that have to mark anything using APA formatting would also appreciate this sarcastic take on the strictness of formatting.

Using the meme generator, I searched for pictures of Chuck Norris. I was familiar with the cult of Chuck Norris fans and knew there had to be pictures of him on Meme Generator. Success!! The APA idea was already on my radar.  I tried out a couple of comments and words and tested them out on the staff. I wanted it to be powerful with minimal words. I didn’t really appreciate the memes with too many words. I felt they didn’t get the point across efficiently and they lost their influence and meaning.  One of the things I always say about everything has something to do with calling the police. Not funny to all, but funny to some. So I thought it was appropriate to use this idea, which would make this memes deeper meaning exclusive while keeping it understandable to the wider audience. After its final generation and a vote from the staff, I right clicked, saved as picture and viola, my first personal meme!!

 

Creative Assignment 2- Meme Part 1

To All Dental Hygienists,

This meme was sent to me last year from a former dental hygiene student. I couldn’t stop laughing. I shared it with all of the dental hygiene instructors.  Then I responded to the former student, “How true is this? Were we really that crazy?”  YES!! This meme expresses the ridiculousness of the rules in a dental hygiene school clinic.  I hear it from my family all of the time. They work in the hospitals and can’t believe how obsessed we are with infection control and professionalism. This meme says it all. It made me reflect on how strict we are in the dental clinic and I realized this meme represents our obsession with excellence; an excellence that is unrealistic. We are so consumed with making sure our hair is tied back tight, our socks are covering our skin, our uniform is pressed, we have manicured nails without the polish, we only wear completely white shoes, we only don beige scrubs, and then the white lab coat has a manual of rules on its own. Dental hygiene instructors couldn’t wait to catch someone with ankle socks on.  And when it did happen, we thought the world was going to end or we might have to call in the HAZMAT team to disinfect the dental hygiene student and the clinic.  The feeling was the same when I was in dental hygiene school 35 years ago. I remember not being allowed in clinic one day because my nails were too short. What was with the dental hygiene staff that forced them to go above and beyond reality? Now it’s me. As funny as this meme was, I was feeling bad that students became so stressed about the decorum in the clinic that they had to take anxiety medication. As the meme states, wearing ankle socks was such a no-no that is was considered a CODE RED!  Yikes!! The mere fact that the meme says EVACUATE says how outrageous we are when it comes to something as insignificant as ankle socks. NO DENTAL HYGIENIST EVER DIED FROM WEARING ANKLE SOCKS!! This meme actually made me feel sorry for our students, and myself. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks as to why we are this way.

Number 1. We are a female dominant profession. Most dentists are males. We were forced to work for them and try to demand the respect that our profession deserved.

Number 2. What’s a dental hygienist? Many people call us the cleaning lady. UGH!!

Number 3. We pay a huge tuition. Today the average dental hygiene student pays 40,000 dollars for a three year post-secondary diploma program.

Number 4. We are registered. We have to pay a registration fee of 250 dollars every year along with association fees that cost an extra 300 dollars. Not to mention the liability insurance in case someone wants to sue us or charge us with sexual assault.

Number 5. We are female. OH, I mentioned that already. However, it is a huge barrier to the healthcare profession and we never receive the respect we deserve considering the amount of discipline and education we go through to become and remain dental hygienists.

Hence the HAZMAT and CODE RED rhetoric in the meme! We are making fun of ourselves. We as dental hygienists or dental hygiene students would be the only people to understand or make sense of this meme.  It wouldn’t be funny and/or thought provoking to anyone else. For me, this meme is the epitome of the dental hygiene persona. CRAZY!!

Sincerely,

Crazy Dental Hygienist.

Creative Assignment 1 – Storify

 My Journey on the Information Highway!

Image

Computertime. (2009). Superhighway [Online picture]. Retrieved from http://computertime.wonecks.net/files/2009/11/superhighway-300×251.jpg

I know the exact date I went online for the first time; January 25th, 1992. Well I didn’t remember on my own, my husband works for the ISP we hooked up with just over 22 years ago. I do remember it took me weeks to understand what to do with the World Wide Web. I only played with email. Then my sister decided to get the Web because I told her how much we could communicate via email without having to pay long distance. But now we were paying for the Information Highway.  Then I discovered Yahoo! Games. Between chatting on email with my sister and playing Yahoo games with others around the world, I was the ultimate user of Internet, so I thought. With the introduction of the young minds of my daughters and the technical smarts of my husband I was introduced to MSN chat. It was the be all and end all of the Web for me. Now I could talk live with my sister and still not pay for long distance! (Hey, my husband worked for the ISP, we got a great discount.) However, this also became a time of computer wars in the Hamilton house. With three daughters close in age and all of them having many friends that also did not go outside to play, there was now a battle around the desktop in the far corner of the rec room.

Computer History Museum. (2006 ). Netscape [Online photo]. Retrieved from http://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/?year=1994

Computer History Museum. (2006 ). Netscape [Online photo]. Retrieved from http://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/?year=1994

I grew up with the Internet. From the introduction of Web 1.0 tools to now with the predications of Web 3.0 tools, my participation has become a staple in my daily life. At work, I use it for research, teacher e-resources, dental hygiene educator’s forum, and student interaction. Email at work is a form of communication as we are a small staff and are not at the institution on the same days. We used to use the work email for casual chat and work issues, but with texting, the email is strictly used for work. At home, my usage is nonstop. I pay bills, do banking, go shopping, continue my education, fulfill professional portfolio requirements, look up recipes, watch movies, look for phone numbers, participate socially, read blogs, curate, aggregate, tweet, like, and download anything and everything. I no longer worry about the schedule to use that ancient desktop that used to inhabit the corner of the basement rec room.

Wow Debbie and WWW., you’ve come a long way baby!!

to be cont’d… Hamilton, D. (2014)

My Journey on Storify

Blog 4 – Response

What Do Ya’ Meme?

Huff Post. (2014, May 26). The Indifferent Baby [photo]. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/03/13/justin-trudeau-indifferent-baby-photo_n_4619434.html

Huff Post. (2014, May 26). The Indifferent Baby [photo]. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/03/13/justin-trudeau-indifferent-baby-photo_n_4619434.html

I’ve seen them, used them, tweeted them and liked them on Facebook.  Who knew they were called memes?  So I thought, let me ask my three 20-something year old girls.  “Hey, have you girls ever heard of the word meme?” They all replied sarcastically, “No mom, we don’t teach dental hygiene!” (I’m a dental hygiene instructor).  “YES! I know something you girls don’t.  A meme is an offspring just like you girls. You girls originated from part of me and part of dad to become a person that has selectively mutated into something similar but different.  You could be seen as polite or rude, good or bad, correct or incorrect.  And then, if you catch on, become popular, every man will want to marry you to create your own little memes.”  By this time I have lost them and I am standing there alone. (Hmmm, a perfect opportunity for a selfie to create a meme).

Quick Meme. (n.d.) Selfie, [photo].  Retrieved from http://www.quickmeme.com/zombie-selfie

Quick Meme. (n.d.) Selfie, [photo]. Retrieved from http://www.quickmeme.com/zombie-selfie

Seriously, how can we not talk about memes without a wee bit of humour?  However, the comments by Sarah Kendzior are anything but funny. When I got to this reading, which was last, I was surprised to see a serious discussion of memes.  Personally, there have been many times I have come across a meme and thought, oh no, this is wrong. Don’t people have better things to do with their time? Sarah Kendzior reminds us of that, if not within her commentary, but by the title alone,  “The power of the meme. Although memes are a useful way to parody politics, they often lose track of what’s at stake”  Firstly, I have to agree with Kendzior; she’s a woman and we stick together. She has a PhD; she must know what she’s talking about.  She has a thought provoking blog; it’s a must read.  And obviously, she makes some extremely valid points.  She describes the population of St Louis as they are waiting to use the Internet at the local library as, “…the 23 per cent of Missourians who lack regular Internet access, who live outside the meme”.  They don’t have this access to read, create, retweet, or like a meme never mind even knowing what it is.  It isn’t the average everyday John Q. Public inventing or using memes. She goes on to comment that to understand memes people need, at the least, Internet access; technological ability; political understanding and/or the wherewithal and time to understand it; better yet, the desire to even care.  “…memes can be self-defeating” . Sarah references reporter Ari Melber of the Nation, discussing the Meme election. In this article, Melber reports, “While candidates have always worried about gaffes, this year’s nominees must navigate the first Meme Election” (Melber).  Memes are created by reporters, those that are constantly active and participate on social media.  They have been able to create ideas and images that detract from the seriousness of politics, making the issues at hand second to the blunders made by those that are working for a nation. She also recognizes that even though the reporters that create these memes maybe be better than those lining up at the library to use the Internet, the former still must compete with political and economic inability. Reporters portray this false sense of close political involvement by way of memes. “Desperate for relevance, reporters scoop up memes, so much cheaper (in every way) than facts” (Kendzior, 2012, October 12). Kendzior makes you feel sorry for these reporters who are trying to survive by making fun of politician’s misfortunes and then trying to fool the public in to believing they are “relevant” and “mainstream”.

Times Higher Education. (2012, February 26). Inside Higher Ed: Attack of the Memes [photo]. Retrieved from http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/inside-higher-ed-attack-of-the-memes/419079.article

Times Higher Education. (2012, February 26). Inside Higher Ed: Attack of the Memes [photo]. Retrieved from http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/inside-higher-ed-attack-of-the-memes/419079.article

However, is it the power of the meme or the power of the media that makes us forget the real issues? Sarah argues that the power of the meme makes the public forget the real issues at hand. Here I disagree. It’s the media; don’t they make the memes?  She alludes to the fact that reporters are the people that are disillusioned into thinking that they are important in the political arena by the way of creating memes.

Memes have a way of making innocent pictures guilty of racism. They make the sweet expression of a child appear evil. Whether cute or vulgar, memes are mutated to gather attention at the same time providing anonymity for those creating them. Should we care? Absolutely! Would you say or share it with a friend or stranger offline? No? Then you should care when posting, liking, tweeting or creating memes online.

University+Memes_+fuck+em+OC_a63153_3299835

Times Higher Education. (2012, February 26). Attach of the Memes [photo]. Retrieved from http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/inside-higher-ed-attack-of-the-memes/419079.article

 

Status

Blog 3 – Response

From Consumers to Producers.

When I first signed up for Linkedin, I thought; “What a great social platform to meet potential employers, similar professionals and future participants.” I teach dental hygiene at a private college, and I am always looking for free ways to promote our services; especially in the area of continuing education. It is a very competitive industry. The Internet has been very good to me and Linkedin was just another way to be a “produser”.  I was in awe of the amount of people using Linkedin!  I thought, “I’ve been left behind!”. Look what I have been missing. Everyone in the dental world is here! What was so important and what was I missing? As I began to pose questions and send out information about our continuing education program, my status level climbed. I became a top contributor. Wow! I thought what I was saying was so important that it deserved top billing. Little did I know that it was only because I was participating many times a day, and when I finally became exhausted and ran out of new things to contribute, my top billing declined quickly!! Silly me. This platform predetermined how I participated. In order to stay on top, I needed to log in frequently, and work for Linkedin for free. It was a full-time job with no pay. I was contributing as a “produser”, choosing to advertise for myself about myself, but it was already predetermined by Linkedin that I was secretly working for them. The more I thought I was becoming popular, or as they put it “top contributor” the more Linkedin tried to connect me with the dental world. I was overworked; my email was overflowing; I couldn’t keep up. Was it really as many dental people as I thought or was Linkedin purposely inundating me to believe the whole world was using this platform? It was exactly as Bird (2011) had discussed when describing the fans of the TV series: Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Not every fan is online discussing the series. I agree with her position,  “In our embrace of the produser, we should not lose sight of the more mundane, internalized, even passive articulation with media that characterizes a great deal of media consumption and I believe it will continue to do so” (p. 504). I agree with her assessment;  although Web 2.0 tools allow us to become “produsers” instead of inactive participants, and can become addicted very quickly, it may make us forget the importance of non-web-based tools and loose sight of the power of the media industries. That is what happened when I became obsessed with Linkedin. Exactly what the power of this media platform was trying to accomplish. I became The Audience of the Media!!

In saying all that, here is my message to you: The People Formerly Known as the Audience…from The People Still Known as the Media…

We The Media want to thank you The People Formerly Known as The Audience, and show our appreciation of your new found freedom to become active participants in this new medium.  We The Media, give you, The People Formerly Known as The Audience, so much opportunity for free speech that your opinions are like a  pebble of sand on a beach of others thoughts and ideas, and again, we The Media, thank you.  You, The People Formerly Known as The Audience, are becoming effortlessly unrecognizable with your online user names and avatars; and we The Media, especially thank you.  You, The People Formerly Known as The Audience, have been offered such a wide expanse of space on this new medium, that it has made your ideas, thoughts and relationships significant only to those participating in your small chat rooms or online communities; again, we thank  you. With this new medium, you, The People Formerly Known as The Audience are becoming further divided instead of coming together for a common ground, and we The Media, thank you.  As you, the People Formerly Known as The Audience, sit solely in your lonely workspace, we The Media are coming up with new ways for you to become our slaves without you knowing it, and we thank you.  Not only do you, The People Formerly Known as The Audience, have the convenience of participating with speed in all social platforms, but you The People Formerly Known as The Audience, will continually support us, The Media, with every login, sign on or registration. So in closing, we The Media want to say a special thank you by asking you to join us in becoming The People Formerly Known as The Audience: Made Possible by The Media.

 

 

 

Blog 2 – Response

“Alienation to Emancipation”

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The Scottish Council for Volunteer Organisations. (2013). “Internet Banner”. (Online Image.)  Retrieved from [http://www.scvo.org.uk/news-campaigns-policy/campaigns/digital-participation/]

 As I reflect back to my younger years, my first participation with a computer was in 1977.  I was in grade 10 taking a technology course in order to fill my schedule.  At that time, only the “nerds” hung around computers and someone like myself was not even allowed to touch them!  My male instructor asked me to get help from “one of the boys” every time my punched tape cards would not compute!  Man, or shall I say woman, how the times have changed!

Reading about the history of the Internet is like reading the history of my digital life. I grew up within this timeline and can fully relate to Schafer’s (2011) point of alienation to emancipation. I have witnessed the growth, or better put, physical shrinkage of technology. It seemed the smaller it got the bigger it became. With the usage of a closet sized computer in 1977 to manipulating technology in the palm of my hand. From alienation, “Debbie, get one of the boys to do it!” to emancipation, “Hey, let me Google that”.  Or, from taking the Go Bus to George Brown College in Toronto, to participating in an online course at Brock in my pajamas. While watching a black and white television that only had 13 channels, would I ever imagine my offspring watching a television series on a tablet. I am enamoured with the Internet and the World Wide Web of today! I can’t get enough.

With the change of the Internet/Web from “the information highway” to a culture of participation (Schafer, 2011, p. 10), my digital responsibilities went from reactive to proactive.  In the days of the “information highway”, I used the Web to help a child look up information for a school project or maybe sign up for online bill payments; it was simple and impersonal. As the highway changed directions, I began to feel vulnerable, not knowing who was lurking, I was composing emails in the heat of the moment and disclosing personal information to sites that I knew nothing about. I also remember hiding the fact that I had a facebook account because my friends thought it was for  crazy, lonely, “I don’t have a life” people.  The road was changing and it was time to change with it. I thought, “Start being proactive about participation. Learn about using the Internet/Web in this new participatory environment. Take precautions while participating online. Be digitally responsible”. I knew there was so much to learn and gain in this ever expanding environment.  I  needed to get off this lonely highway and use these Web 2.0 tools to my advantage. I wanted to participate socially with friends, colleagues, students and many of the great minds posting to the Web. I knew I had to be proactive in order to participate in a digitally responsible way. Hence, my completion of ADED1P32: Learning in the Digital Context and my beginning of COMM 2F00: New Media Literacy.

What about the ease of the human-computer interaction? Can technological determinism be shunned when reflecting on our role in todays digital world? When I look back at how far I have come according to the advances in technology and how it has made my life better, how can it not be determined by technology? How could I continue my education later in life while working full-time without the technology of a laptop and a wireless connection? How could my cousin from Arizona and I talk face to face without facetime? How would I stay connected with my teenage girls without a cell phone to text?  How would I send lectures and notices to my students without email?  Theses are examples of my affordances of a participatory culture determined by technology. I like the free search engines and social sites available to participate with my family, friends and students. Without them I have no education, no communication with distant relatives, anxiety about the whereabouts of my girls and no job. Maybe a power outage; the expense of a new laptop; or a dead battery of a cell phone is a constraint for some, but for me it is a small inconvenience that is easily dealt with to enjoy the  participatory culture of my digital life.

References
Schafer, M. T. (2011). Bastard culture! How user participation transforms cultural production. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.