Self – Reflection Time!!

1.  In your opinion, what was the purpose of this blogging activity?

I believe that the purpose of the blogging activity was to allow me to reach a wider audience in my writing. For example, when writing my wikispaces, I was limited to writing only to my classmates. However, when writing my blog entries, I was able to write to anyone on the Internet! This was a really enjoyable experience for me, because at one point, I even received a comment from someone I mentioned in my blog! This made me think more about the topics that I was going to write about each week, and the way I was going to write each of my posts. I found myself considering many things before choosing an idea to blog about. For instance, I thought about how interested people would be about my topics, and if they would want to continue reading the entire entry if they began to. In order to keep my audience interested in my blog, I wrote about many original topics, and such as clowns, circus posters, and even elephants. I decided to write about these types of things because I wanted to write about topics weren’t very common or well known. This way, I was able to inform my readers about fascinating topics that they wouldn’t already know that much about. I think that by doing this, my readers would have left my blog being informed about something new, rather than wasting their time reading about something they already knew a lot about.

2.  What have you accomplished during your blogging?

During my blogging experience, I was able to accomplish many things. For example, each week, I was allowing myself to receive a greater knowledge of circuses. I was able to dig deeper than the obvious and discover some more unknown and surprising facts about them. For instance, I recently did a post on elephants. While researching this topic, I discovered that there is a great deal of cruelty occurring with elephants in various circuses around the world. When discovering this, I was very shocked and even a bit disappointed. Now, I am not as fond of circuses that contain animals, as apposed to circuses that are 100% human (like Circus Oz). I believe that blogging has not only helped me find out more about circuses, but it has also shown me that they are not always fun, like they are often made out to be. Also, while doing my blogs, I had learned how to inform an audience about a topic while including some of my own personal thoughts and opinions too. I was able to do this by writing my entries as if I was having a casual conversation with one of my friends. However, I did not know how to write using this technique when I first began blogging. For example, here are a few sentences from my second entry: “The Circus has traveled to over 26 countries and 5 continents. The group has even performed in places such as New Guinea, the Brazilian rainforest, and the Australian desert. They have translated parts of the show to many different languages, such as Danish, Hindi, and Japanese. It is a circus that contains no animals, and is suitable for both children and adults.” This sentence is definitely informative, but it isn’t that interesting. Now, here are a few sentences from my latest entry: “Imagine yourself in the early 50’s, sitting in a back row seat under the big top of a circus. Just as the ringmaster exits through the flaps, a strange creature begins to enter the arena. It is huge, grey, and very uncommon. Folks, this isn’t just your regular house cat, or dog, this is much more rare. In fact, a good three-fourths of the people are totally unaware of what this creature is, while none of the people in this arena have ever seen this creature in real life. This creature, my fine circus-goers, is an elephant.” I believe that these sentences contain a lot more personality, and are more enjoyable to read. I am aware that they aren’t as factual as the sentences from my second entry, but personally, I think that it is a bit boring to read something that is full of only facts and figures. I like my sentences full of flavor and voice, which is what led me to try and apply this to my entries.

3.  What key concepts have you learned while blogging?

While blogging, I was able to learn how to embed media into a post. I thought that this was a really cool skill to master, because I found that it really enhanced my entries and made them a lot more interesting. My posts also became a lot easier to understand for my readers when they contained media. For example, I did on of my entries on vintage circus posters. In that entry, I provided three pictures, and then described the different colors and techniques that the artists used when they made the posters. It would have been very hard for my readers to understand if they weren’t able to see the pictures that I was talking about. I would think this because many people aren’t able to picture a vintage work of art, so most people wouldn’t be able to connect with what I was saying in that entry without the pictures provided. I also learned while blogging that I had to give credit to the original owner of ANY form of information that I used in my entry, even pictures. Before writing my blogs, I didn’t realize that using images from other sources without citing them was plagiarism. I simply thought that pictures on the Internet were for anyone’s use. I now realize that citing picture is equally as important as citing information.

4.  How did the weekly requirements help you become a better writer?

The weekly requirements have allowed me to learn many things that I thought I was doing correctly all along, but wasn’t. For example, before having to highlight the different sentence types in my blogs, I thought I was an expert in finding simple and compound sentences; only later did I realize that I wasn’t really aware of the correct way to identify them. For instance, in the past, I thought that a simple sentence was a sentence that contained only one subject and one verb. I now know that a simple sentence is a sentence that has a subject, a predicate, and expresses a complete thought. In addition, simple sentences can have to two predicates or two subjects. Also, in the past, I thought that a compound sentence was a sentence that had two subjects and two verbs. I now know that a compound sentence is a sentence that contains two independent clauses (phrases that can stand alone as a sentence) that are joined by a coordinating conjunction. In addition, I had never even heard of complex sentences before having to highlight them in my blogs. I now know that a complex sentence is a sentence that is made up of an independent clause and a dependent clause, joined by a coordinating conjunction. Also, the weekly requirements have helped me to break quite an annoying writing habit that I used to have. I used to repeat myself a lot of the time in my writing, which would have probably irritated my readers quite a lot. When I was required to write my entries within 300 words, I realized that I needed to try and stop doing this if I wanted to supply my readers with more information. I am now a lot better at writing quick and concise pieces of writing.

5. Based on the skills you learned while blogging, how will this benefit you in the future?

Well, I have discovered throughout my blogging experience that a blog can be used as an excellent method of communication in many ways, and for many different causes. For example, blogs can be used for feedback and editing purposes. If I would like to get suggestions on an article I wrote, I can simply use my blog to share the writing with the world. This way, many people are likely to come across it, and I would be able to receive many good suggestions. In my opinion, this could be considered a better method of editing, rather than getting my friends or classmates to look at one of my papers. I would say this because I feel as though sometimes, people you know personally may feel the need to be kinder than needed when editing one of your pieces of writing. They do this to prevent hurting your feelings when giving you advice on how to improve your piece, because a lot of criticism can sound a bit harsh at first. However, people that I don’t necessarily know might come across my work on my blog. If they don’t know me, they won’t feel the need to be too kind, and will have no trouble giving my constructive criticism. Also, I believe that blogging is a great way to get noticed. Publishers of books and magazines might come across your blog, and offer you a deal. I believe that this could possibly be a better method than sending one of your entries into a publishing business, because there is a very large chance that you will get rejected. However, if a publisher likes what they see on your blog, you will be the one to decided if you want to make a deal with them.

In conclusion, I would like to say that blogging has been a really fun experience for me. I loved being able to make my blog colorful and interesting, while getting to research and find out more about one of my favorite things: CIRCUSES! 😀

Los Elefantes!

0000-5234-4ringling-bros-circus-performing-elephant-postersImagine yourself in the early 50’s, sitting in a back row seat under the big top of a circus. Just as the ringmaster exits through the flaps, a strange creature begins to enter the arena. It is huge, grey, and very uncommon. Folks, this isn’t just your regular house cat, or dog, this is much more rare. In fact, a good three-fourths of the people are totally unaware of what this creature is, while none of the people in this arena have ever seen this creature in real life. This creature, my fine circus-goers, is an elephant. This may seem like nothing special these days, but back in the 50’s, the 60’s, and even the 70’s, many people rushed into circuses just to get a quick look at these exotic creatures. Since elephants are only native to the continents of Africa and Asia, they were (and still are) very rare. I would say that they were more uncommon in the past, because nowadays, many people are able to travel to these continents and see the elephants for themselves. However, back in the decades, not many people were able to travel that far from somewhere like America, or Australia. This gave circuses a big advantage, because they were people’s only way to see elephants up close. Circuses also used elephants in their advertising quite a lot, because it was a great way to get people to want to come and see the show. If the public was aware that the show would contain a very rare creature, they would definitely want to take a look at it for themselves.

Now, imagine yourself as a circus elephant. Every day, you are forced to learn frivolous trick and acts in a strange environment totally different from your native one. A couple times a day, you get fed food that you don’t particularly like that much, but you know that you can either eat it, or be starving for the rest of the day. Even though you are tired, hungry, and uncomfortable, you better not show it, otherwise you’ll get whipped, again. Does this sound like an enjoyable lifestyle to you? I think not. In fact, it sounds terrible to me. Even though I adore circuses, I really dislike the way some of the circuses treat their elephants. The thing is, the tricks that the elephants are forced to learn aren’t natural to them, and they have no say whatsoever if they want to learn them. I was talking with someone about this subject the other day, and we came to the conclusion that this occurs in many circuses simply because they aren’t very wealthy, so they can’t provide very enjoyable lifestyles for the elephants. The sad part about this subject is that many people are totally unaware that this is occurring in many places. I mean, even I didn’t know about it until about a month ago, and let me tell you, it wasn’t a good time for me when I discovered it. It was like finding out a dark secret that is kept secret from the world, but for bad reasons. The good news is that there are many organizations working towards ending this sad story. One of the main organizations is the PETA, or the People of Ethical Treatment of Animals. Also, Many circuses don’t contain a single animal act, such as Cirque Du Soleil, and Circus Oz. I mean, elephants are becoming extinct, and this problem definitely isn’t helping. It’s time to step out of the arena and ask, “what can I do?”

* I got that awesome picture from: