Browse Exhibits (5 total)

Facebook: A Place for the Social

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Facebook is currently undergoing an interesting transition. It is transitioning demographically from young to middle-aged users in part because the users who initially joined Facebook in their teens are aging and in part because of the expansion of Facebook beyond the university population. With this shifting demographic, Facebook's purpose is similarly in motion evolving from the casual social media site which hosts conversations between college students towards an easy to use communication platform utilized for a variety of purposes. While many users have personal opinions as to what is appropriate to post on Facebook, besides the monitoring of explicit content, the site is a merger of many kinds of statuses and posts. This exhibit is intended to feature the different kinds of everyday writing that appear on the social media site, Facebook.

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Lists: Organizing Everyday Life

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To-do lists, reminders, schedules, and shopping lists help individuals remember tasks to be completed, items to be purchased, upcoming meetings and events, and the order in which these things all need to happen. 

As these various examples demonstrate, list-making is not a process that happens once and is then finished. Whether composed in print or digitally, lists are meant to be viewed multiple times, and altered as needed with each viewing. Some writers do this with checkmarks, others by crossing items out. Some items appear in lists multiple times, as tasks from a previous day remain incomplete and need to be added to a later date. Still other lists are adjusted to show progress made on a task, or to approximate how much time or work still remains to be done before the item can be fully "checked off the list." 

This exhibit is organized into three categories: schedule lists, task lists, and shopping lists. Though each category serves a distinct purpose, all three categories demonstrate the writers' needs to organize their thoughts and their lives by writing things down. 

 

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Memes: Cultural Snapshots

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The Internet has transformed everyday writing. No longer is everyday writing restricted to physical vehicles such as letters or papers. Through technology, digital writing is at the forefront—and even more ephemeral in the fast paced technological landscape. Out of this fast turnover, one medium has managed to survive long enough to become a cultural staple: memes. Memes, in a literal sense, can be defined as combining text and images in order to relay a message, however in a broader, more figurative sense, they can be described as cultural snapshots. Richard Dawkins coined the term in his 1976 book The Selfish Genre defining it as an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. This spread of memes creates a general understanding of them amongst us, thus giving them a communal sense.

Everyday writing is a facet of writing that includes works of a casual nature—meaning the purpose of such writing is not for professional means, but rather means of convenience. Everyday writing embodies the everyday, from grocery lists, annotated notes, jotted down details, etc., it is a style of writing that captures the moment of its creation. There are memes that reference cultural phenomena like elections, celebrities, societal issues, and more, giving people a glimpse of the time they were created in. Memes fit into this category in two ways. One of which is that they can be created by anyone. All they require is an image and some text. The second way is that they too capture the moment of their creation.

Memes change as fast as the world around us, and people are becoming quick to create new ones to address these changes. People even use them as a means of communication (i.e. sending a meme or a GIF as opposed to a standard text message). Perhaps the reason behind the longevity of memes is how relatable they are to the millennial generation. Memes are shared so much and through so many channels that tracing them back to their original source can be a daunting task—cementing them as forms of everyday writing. In most cases, the source of a piece of everyday writing is unknown to all except the composer, so in this sense, memes are able to continually exist in the space of our lives. 

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Email Spam Scams and Shams

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This exhibit is organized to focus on three aspects of malicious spam: its circulation, the networks created by its dissemination, and the literacies that surround it.  

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Handwritten Texts and Familial Love

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This is a gallery based exhibit meant to showcase how everyday writing is a part of how family members express their love for each other. The artifacts include letters, scrapbooks, and other forms of everyday writing created out of the love for family. This exhibit is also focused on how familial love is expressed through cards in particular, and why even in our digital age these texts are seen and held with more value than other forms of communication. 

I was inspired to create this exhibit when I considered how everyday writing is an almost universal aspect of living in modern American culture. I wanted to connect the widespread nature of everyday writing to another ubiquitous topic, and I couldn't think of anything better than the love people hold for their families. It is this deep love for family that inspires countless people to both create texts for and save artifacts from their loved ones everyday. I feel the writer of smallnotebook.org captures the feelings of many very well: "Be sure the things you are saving are about you and your family. You don’t need to save the program from a friend’s wedding ceremony just to prove you care about her. That belongs in her keepsake box, not yours." (smallnotebook.org)

It is in this spirit that I put together this exhibit. It is my hope that by saving these artifacts related to the bonds between several different families, the love they represent will outlast both the original documents and creators. I want this exhibit to be a "keepsake box" for multiple families. I also want to make a point about the importance of everyday writing in areas of our life that we may not intially associate with everyday writing.

Cited source: http://smallnotebook.org/2012/09/10/what-to-do-with-neutral-or-negative-keepsakes/ (Neutral Keepsakes)

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