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Reflection Essay

December 11, 2012

Our PSA project was regarding the hashtag. The target audience that was intended was teen social media users in general, more specifically, Twitter users. I believe that the intended audience was made clear in our video, as most of the opinions were from teenagers. We also have created an advertisement campaign that is also targeted at teenagers through sarcasm and humor. Our project was not totally successful in targeting our intended audience. In a couple of our advertisements, it seemed that the target audience was either parents or older people who are not technologically caught up as teenagers are. Also we did not target teenagers that are not social media users, but it could be possible to extend our project in order to do so.

The ultimate purpose of our PSA project was to educate social media users on the correct usage of the hash tag that was made popular by Twitter. In the introduction of our video, we explained the history of the hash tag and how it was meant to be used by the creator and Twitter in general. Our advertisement campaign also had many links to websites that explained how to properly use the hash tag and how to avoid using it incorrectly. The main rhetorical strategy that we used was the process of interviewing people. In total we interviewed 4 people, 2 Twitter users and 2 non Twitter users, but in the final video one non Twitter user was edited out. We also used some color contrast in the advertisements that we created. The goal was to make the advertisements pop and spark the interest of the audience.

The most difficult part of the project was coming up with a solid plan for the project. We had trouble deciding on one specific project to do because we all had some different ideas. For example, I wasn’t totally on board with the advertisement campaign and only wanted to do the interviews, but Howie was able to convince me by showing some effective examples he created in high school. Even after the idea for the project was finalized, we had trouble writing the scripts for the introduction and conclusion. At first, we were unsure if we even wanted to do a conclusion, but after some thought it seemed that it would be necessary to finish up the video.

This PSA project, as well the whole English 125 class, has taught me how to use rhetorical strategies in digital media, as well as become familiar with digital literacy. Before this class, I was unaware that literacy could be applied to mediums that was not reading and writing like I had originally thought. Also I was unaware that blogs, advertisements, and online articles paid attention to rhetorical strategies to gain the audience’s attention. Our project on the hash tag also taught me more about digital literacy and mediums that can be used to communicate. I learned that the hash tag is not only a symbol used on Twitter, but an article of speech that has proper and improper usage. Hash tags can be an effective way of communication by shortening long sentences into only a few words that explain the main points of the sentence. This project also taught me how to effectively use film as a way of communication in an academic context. I always thought that educational films were all documentaries and were slow to get the point across, but I learned that there are many short videos out there that effectively teach the viewer important information. From our project, I learned that there are many different and conflicting views on the hash tag that I never thought existed. I also learned that the hash tag is so widely used that it has established itself as a valid form of communication. From my total experience in English 125, I learned that digital media and writing utilizes rhetorical strategies as well, if not better, than traditional written work. Digital media is no longer a novelty to the world and it can be extremely effective in academic or social contexts.

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