Reflective Essay: How to Lose a Job in 10 Tweets

My group’s finalized project consists of an iMovie that shows how teenagers can use and abuse social media these days. The goal of our piece is to inform our audience that you must watch what you post on the Internet these days because people have ways of finding out what you write! Our group wanted to send a message across giving the audience a kind warning that you cannot be reckless and inappropriate on the Internet. Therefore, our iMovie targets teenagers and young adults applying for jobs, especially important ones in college. Nothing seems private anymore, so if people write all about their personal life, everyone will know. The worse you post, the worse the consequences are. For example, when going into a job interview, the interviewer could have previously looked their potential employee up on several social media sites to determine if they were the right fit. If this potential employee posts some inappropriate things, then the company will not hire them. Whether these young adults realize it or not, these jobs could be the ones they are stuck with for the rest of or majority of their life. In our movie, we showed a girl (Allie) in her important interview for a Co-op at a big company. We used the idea of a Co-op so that anyone at Northeastern could relate since Co-ops are specific to this university and we are known for them. Our group also used Allie as the student because we thought she was the best actress and is a teenager herself, going to go through the same Co-op and interview process within the next year or so. There are two interviews, one with the girl who posts bad things, making poor decisions, and the good girl who keeps everything private and does not reveal much about herself over the Internet. The audience can then see the effects of both of these sides in an easy and visual way. Actions we, young adults, perform these days can be seen easier with iMovie because we are looking at ourselves from a different point of view. The movie can be seen as a kind warning that there are consequences for poor decisions, especially online.

Many rhetorical, methodological, and technological choices were made in the process of creating this iMovie. Our group wanted to focus on the aspects of context, purpose and audience. We did this through using the topic of social media, something everyone knows about and utilizes everyday. This appeals to the audience of young generations, since we seem to use social media the most and it seems to be an important part of our life. Our group felt an iMovie was the best representation of this topic because it was the most visually appealing and brought many different types of media aspects together. Ending our movie is slides filled with texts, informing the reader about the point of our project. This is a use of context. Bright colors and big font were used so that the audience could really read the message we were trying to send. Text pulled the video together in an alluring way. Wysocki writes that, “Because typefaces are a major visual strategy for a text composers to signal the genre into which the text is to fit, and because the choice of different typefaces can signal argumentative moves in a text…” (Wysocki 4). In addition to font, many pictures were used. These pictures showed social media profiles set on private and some not on private, to show the different sides people can choose.  Anne Wysocki believes that, “The visual elements and arrangements of a text perform persuasive work” (Wysocki). Even Hampe states that, “The only real test is whether the images can stand on their own and argue the case themselves” (Hampe). We are trying to persuade the audience to choose a safe route and put your profiles on private, because not everybody needs to know all your personal information or what you do on the weekends. The thing I liked best about our group’s iMovie was how we put all the bad clips and images of the “bad girl” who posts inappropriate things on the internet in black and white, while the “good girl” had screens filled with color.  “You do not generally expect to see anything but black and white in academic or literary paper-based texts…that want to give the appearance of being serious tend to use muted colors and a limited number” (Wysocki). I think this use of black and white makes our iMovie different, less traditional, and more artistic than normal videos. On another note, the acting done in the video stood out because the potential employee (Allie) changed her voice to give the audience a sense of the type of person she is. McKee supports this action when she says, “…meaning is carried not solely by the verbal content but, as oral performers and oral readers continually show, also by vocal qualities” (McKee). Allie changed the tone in her voice from obnoxious and a loud know it all in her bad girl role, to sweet and soft spoken in her good girl role. Finally, the iMovie contains many different songs. We chose songs wisely because they would, “establish tone and atmosphere” (McKee). I feel like the use of an actor and fictional representation rather than a person speaking about the topic, was more entertaining and personable. The audience could feel like they were Allie either because they have social media like her or they act the same over this social media. It’s funny to look at ourselves from a different perspective and it can make us think more carefully about our actions and words. Our group completely agreed with McKee when she said, “The music we listen to is shaped by and shaping of our moods” (McKee). There are always associated feelings and ideas with music, colors, and pictures. By adding all these different characteristics to our iMovie, we educated our audience on social media and its adverse effects.

Our group ended up pursuing the plan we did because it seemed like the one that would come out most successful and powerful. At first we thought of doing a presentation or talking aloud, but we thought a video was way more visual and interactive. There’s acting going on in the video so it shows a real life situation, something you can’t just put on a PowerPoint. Information was provided, mood was created, and an emotional stimulus was created through the iMovie. The audience could feel like it was themselves in the video during the interview, especially for those that use social media such as Twitter and Instagram. After all, “As far as they are concerned, the message they get is the only message there is. And you have no opportunity to defend yourself…” (Hampe). With the use of multiple clips and slides with transitions, the audience is drawn into the iMovie because they want to see what comes up next. Being constantly reminded of the point of our project, they can keep the message of use and abuse of social media in their mind. Our group’s plan was to leave the audience thinking about their own actions online afterwards.

Reading over the final composition, there were many successes as well as some failures. Everyone in the group got along well together and we were in good communication with each other. However, it was sometimes hard to stay focused for too long so we would have to remind each other to get back on track, having to regroup several times. Emily worked on making our iMovie and Margarita and I offered up many ideas in addition. Dillon and I worked on the script while Allie, Emily, and Margarita created the social media sites to help support the point we were trying to prove. Allie and Dillon starred in the movie as the employee and job interviewer, while Margarita and I filmed their interactions. Overall every member contributed to the project in some way. The project did not have any big failures, just obstacles I’d like to call them. First off, our ideas for a project topic were not good enough and getting shut down, so it was hard deciding on a strong topic that was interesting. It took a lot of brainpower and collaborate thinking for our group to come up with a good one. After deciding one something, there was also a struggle in deciding if we wanted to do an interview or movie or a “mockumentary.” I think we threw too many ideas out there and tried to prove them all when we really didn’t realize what was the most important and relevant topic to analyze. By looking at different topics, “The concept of affordance gives us the means to ask about the potentials and limitations of the different modes, and at least to begin to examine what might be real or potential losses, and what might be real gains…” (“Literacy in the New Media” Kress 51). Once our topic was picked and we decided on a movie, the rest flowed. Filming was easy especially since the script was already prepared and you could say putting the movie together was the fun part! If I were to start this project over again with the same goals, I would write down all possible ideas and research a little on each and figure out which topic is the easiest to understand and talk about. As Kress says, “This might allow us…to say, ‘these are things which we ought not to give up, and for these reasons’” (“Literacy in the New Media” Kress 51). I would’ve also been interested in incorporating Northeastern more into the project, focusing on any problems around campus or certain aspects of the university. I would also have liked a smaller group so that it was easier to focus and get everyone together to do work.




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