Half Way There

My time here in Spain has gone by faster than I ever could have imagined. I am already halfway through my journey! Time goes extremely fast when you are constantly on the move. I haven’t posted much about my stay lately, but that is because I have been so busy these past few weeks. It was midterm time here in Sevilla, which forced me to actually sit down and focus on school. 

    Midterms suck in general, but I definitely was not prepared for how much they would suck abroad. Classes here don’t give out homework, or require much effort; however, once the midterm comes, they do require that you remember everything that you have learned in class for the first half of the semester. This becomes tough, being that I do no homework outside of class. Remembering the detailed, nit-picky material and concepts is near impossible when you have no notes to study from and no worksheets to look back on. I spent a little over a week studying for my four exams, and this past Wednesday I am happy to say I completed all of my midterms, and it was a success! 
    In this crazy week of studying and stressing, I did embark on a journey to a city near Sevilla. My program offered a second excursion to Ronda, Spain. Ronda is one of the most historical cities in Spain, and one of the most highly visited in Europe. After spending a day in the city, I definitely understand why, 
    We started out by catching our bus in Sevilla at 8:30 am. We departed towards a hiking trail just outside of Ronda. We spent a little over two hours walking along the River Majaceite. It was a beautiful hike and I learned a lot from our two tour guides. 

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The hiking trail
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My tour group!
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Me along side River Majaceite
 

   After the hike,  we got back on the bus and left for Ronda. I love the rides between cities in Spain. There are rolling hills of green, tall snowcapped mountains, and lakes that appear out of no where. The geography of this country amazes me, as you never know what you will come across. 
   In Ronda, we just went on a walking tour of the city. All I have to say to describe this place is amazing! There were views that could not be captured even by the most profound cameras. It was something that you had to see to believe. To describe my time in Ronda the best thing I can do is provide a few pictures! 

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A look at the countryside below
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The bridge connecting old Ronda with new Ronda
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Panoramic of the spectacular view
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One of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen.
 

   Ronda was definitely my favorite place I have traveled to thus far. The sites, the food, the history, it all captured my attention and left me wanting more. I plan on going back to Ronda one more time before my journey in Spain is done. 
   After my midterms were over, my roommate and I decided that we needed a little reward for doing so well on our exams. We decided to take our first trip to the ocean! Sevilla is in a great location as we have access to many different beaches, all of which are just about an hour away. Bus tickets are usually only 7 euro, so it makes going to the beach very attainable. 
   I am an ocean finatic. I love being on the beach, listening to the waves, and taking in the sun. So living this close to an ocean is quite honestly the best thing I could ever ask for! 
   We bought our bus tickets late Thursday night and left for the ocean early Friday morning. The bus ride there took longer than expected, as we stopped in 4 different cities before finally arriving in Matalascanas, Spain. 
    This small village is a beach town on the Atlantic Ocean. Being that it is not quite beach season, it seemed vacant. Most of the shops and restaurants were closed for the ‘winter’. I put winter in quotations because to the Spaniards, winter is a nice 75 degree and sunny day. 
    My roommate and I were blessed with clear skies and warm air at the ocean. We spent five hours just laying out, eating our packed lunches, reading magazines, and chit chatting. I felt so content sitting there listening to the waves crash on the shore. It is my happy place. Lucky for me, I will be on an ocean just about every weekend from now until I leave. 

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So happy to finally be at the ocean!
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White, sandy beaches
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We had the beach to ourselves!
 

   I have many more places to see in these next two months. I can only hope that the second half is as great as the first! Stay warm back home, sending my love! 

Gracias por leer mi adventura, hasta luego! 

Besos! 

It’s Viral!

     So I love videos. Anything that will capture my attention and have me laughing for a minute or two is a necessity in my everyday life. Thankfully, with YouTube I have the ability to surf and find new videos faster than I can blink. But how to choose what video to watch? It’s simple. I watch the videos that have the most views and are spread quickly across the web, also known as viral videos. Below is one of my favorite videos that went viral. 

     This video, titled Christian The Lion, has been my all time favorite viral video. I am definitely an animal lover, and this heart warming story of a man and his former lion pet really touched my heart. This video was posted by a user that is identified as SPFW21. The video was posted 5 years ago; however within the last few months it has gone viral, now reaching just over 10 million views. I believe this video was made to simply warm peoples hearts and inform them that animals can have relationships just as humans do. The video was created to show the close bond the owner had with his lion and to prove that everything can and does feel emotions. As stated before, the emotional experience that comes about from watching this video is happiness. Viewers feel content after watching and may even be jealous of the relationship the owner has with this lion. Some viewers may be skeptical, however, due to the rare idea this presents. 

Transmedia: Pottermore

Transmedia is the act of using many different forms of media to tell a story. With the rapidly changing and improved digital world, transmedia has become easier than ever to create and share. Transmedia has been accepted very quickly into our society because now a day, audience members will go just about anywhere and everywhere to receive information about their favorite shows and movies. Transmedia offers different forms of storytelling, and when a viewer sees it all, they will gain the knowledge of the stories entirety. 

     A very well known example of transmedia is Harry Potter. Of course we all know that there are books and movies, but true fans know about the Pottermore website that continues the story online. There is also a Pottermore Facebook page that provides an additional storyline. To start, on the Pottermore website, fans can find the inside scoop to specific parts of the novel, photos and images created by fans, videos and behind the scene footage, and even additional storylines created by J.K. Rowling herself. They can play games, share their fan art and fan fiction, as well as discover the history of the novels creation. They can find things online in this website that would not be known through simply reading the book or watching the movies. Likewise, the Facebook page contains all of the information seen on the website, while also posting status updates such as “Happy Birthday, Ron” or links to their twitter account. Users are able to post in the Facebook page and share their own personal ideas and comments. The picture posted below is a common post in the Facebook page Pottermore. 

 

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     The addition of social media really completes the transmedia. Transmedia places information about the story in many different media, and with the new technology being created, there is no better place to do so than Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Many teens now a day find themselves scrolling through social media frequently, so by adding social media in transmedia, I believe that it is hitting a wider audience base and communicating material that is easier to access. Also, users have an easier time spreading information that is posted in social media versus on a website. They can like, share, and comment on material that then goes to their own profile where new people can see it and do the same thing. I believe that social media in transmedia will spread the information faster and easier and will in turn pick up a wider audience. 

 

Pottermore Website: https://www.pottermore.com/en-us

Pottermore Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pottermore

 

     Overall, who keep up with the Harry Potter media will be the only ones who have the true, full story. They will be the most informed and updated audience members and are true fans! 

Comments on an Online Newspaper

CNN: Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, What we know and don’t know

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/10/world/asia/malaysia-airlines-knowns-unknowns/index.html?hpt=bosread#cnn-disqus-area

     Online news is everywhere. From CNN.com to NBC.com, people can go just about anywhere and everywhere to recieve the latest news and updates of the world around them. With that being said, most people just read the article and move along with their days. There are, however, many people who find it right to comment on the article. I have taken a look at some of the comments on this online newspaper (posted above) and analyzed their structure, purpose, and meaning. 

     To start, this article is a very serious issue. It is coverage of an important event that has captured the worlds attention. With that, their are over 1600 comments on this one article. I did not have time to read them all, but I did go through the first chunk of comments to gain an overall idea. 

     The first thing I noticed throughout all of these comments is that most of them are critical. Many people criticize the way the journalist has presented the information, stating things such as “We already know this” or “This article is a waste of time.” Mant readers who have commented feel the need to tell how they did not like what was said, and often times they would comment their opinion of what they though should have been said. I have named these commenters ‘The Critics.” They are very particular about how they want their news presented, and feel the need to blame the journalist for poor writing. 

      A second commenter has become known to me as the “Informational commenter.” This person adds additional information that they have found on the topic. They are professional about the material present and seem to comment solely to provide extra information to other readers. They are beneficial to the article.

     The third and final commenter I have come across is the “Childish commentator.” These commenters post unnecessary comments that relate to nothing that was said. They say stupid and childish things that don’t matter to the story that was presented. They may be doing it for attention or out of boredom, but they do not add anything to the information presented. I find it interesting that in such a serious, sad story, people would still be willing to poke fun and make unnecessary comments. 

     There are many different types of comments, but these are the three most frequent ones that I encountered. This is a very known online newspaper so the number of comments increase by the minute. People have a lot of stuff to say, and I find that the people with the most passion are the ones who comment the most. 

 

Orange Is The New Black: Fan Site

Lately, I have been very interested in the Netflix series titled Orange Is The New Black (OITNB). This show follows an inmate throughout her prison sentence. It is a very addictive program, as there is a strong plot line, and I always am itching to learn more. For this post, I have looked around the internet and found a fansite for OITNB. This site is located on Facebook, and anyone can simply like their page and post and comment as they please. I do not know who created or oversees this fan page; however, it has created a strong community of people that share an interest in the show. 

     https://www.facebook.com/OITNB

    There are many reasons why I would consider this Facebook page to be a community. First off, as Park’s discussed in his article titled Social Network Sites as Virtual Communities, communities can be anything with social or mediated ties between people. In the Facebook fan page, there are definitely ties being built by fans through a mediated context. Although the users are not necessarily in close geographical proximity and probably will never meet face to face, they still use other means, such as messaging, commenting, and liking photos to build close bonds with one another. Continuing on, this fan page can be seen as a community because it is highly self-sufficient. There is no need for someone to tell the fans to log on at a certain time and post a certain amount of items, they simply do it on their own. This is enough to keep the site active and flourishing. Moreover, users/fans are able to engage in collective action on this site. If someone post’s a scenario or question or photo, fans come together to either answer the question or provide feedback on a posted item. Even though they are not talking verbally to one another about what to do to keep the community alive, everyone seems to know when to post and what to post. Likewise, this Facebook page shows a strong community because all of the users have a strong common interest. All of the fans enjoy the show OITNB and they can relate to one another based on the plots, characters, and twists. Users post pictures into the site of their favorite characters, and other fans tend to comment/like to show their shared interest. All of the users seem to feel a large sense of belonging, as this is one place they can go to seek support from other fans. In this community they are not made fun of for being very into a show, and they can express their ideas with other avid watchers. Overall, I think that the fans on this site feel a strong sense of community. They know that they have a voice on the page, and that their comments and posts will be recognized and appreciated. 

     I find it very cool that sites like this exist. Although I am not an avid watcher, I do feel like I could it into this online community. If I had a question about the show I know I could post it in the site and many other members would be willing to answer it or me. I have also checked out other fan sites and there are many other locations where you can find forums for OITNB where fans write alternative plot lines for the show. This, too, resembles a strong community.