Puerto Rico is a small island (100x35 miles) located in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico was discovered November 19, 1493 by Christopher Columbus under Spanish imperialism. It was instantaneously converted to a colony for raw materials and central production for coffee and sugar. Puerto Rico was under Spanish rule until the Spanish American War where US took over PR in 17 days under General Nelson Miles. The island was defined by two acts Foraker and Jones. The Foraker Act of 1900 regulated political and economic relations between PR and USA and organized a civil government, where the US president appointed all governors. In The Jones Act of 1917 the US Congress grants Puerto Ricans US citizenship and provided for the creation of a local senate.
Puerto Rico is a commonwealth meaning it is a territory of the US, the federal court applies, semiautonomous, no federal taxes apply, no vote, and limited representation in Congress. Puerto Rico by definition is a combination between a nation, colony, and a city-state.
Modern struggles that the Caribbean island face are citizenship without a valid vote, lack of US or UN political influence, strict international commerce, divided political parties, large public debt, cycled bankruptcy, and low employment rates. The problem of today is the law PROMESA (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act) where the US has totalitarian control over the affairs of the island to balance the budget and restructure debt, which completely strips Puerto Rico from its semiautonomous state and illustrates modern American imperialism in the act.
Artifacts for the autoethnographic project are objects that poses a deeper meaning than the simple physical representation. These artifacts are special emblems with a strong relevance to the stakeholder. Possible artifacts are the following: the national PR flag, El Morro, or the coqui. The flag is a national symbol like no other as it has two versions. The color blue changes from the US navy blue to a clear light blue to resemble an independent identity isolated from American imperialistic influence. The flag also carries a heavy significance of the past as it assimilates with the brother island of the Caribbean, Cuba. El Morro is a Spanish fort and historical landmark that amounts the origin of the Puerto Rican blending of a variety of cultures. The fort was the main front the Spanish rule had to defend the entrance of the the Caribbean and other colonies. The coqui is a small tree frog that emits a loud resonating call that is iconic to the nights of Puerto Rico. In addition, the coqui is the national animal of Puerto Rico and is of great significance to the locals of Puerto Rico. For this project I will most likely choose one of the three artifacts.
A landing page is the first sitting and impression the autoethnographic has on the audience. It must capture the attention and illustrate the main idea in a simple visual manner. A radiant image or impactful title to greet the observer will catch the eye and interest of any individual. The title should be short and concise, but if not, it must be perplexing or controversial. Another possibility for the landing page would be to form an irregular style/format to catch the audience unexpectedly. What one shouldn’t do is to have lengthy block of text to great the visitor. The goal is to make the audience remember the title, the topic, the image, the project in any way, shape, or form. If one can spike the memory with the landing page the intrigue factor and state of interest is maximized to maintain the attention.
A stakeholder is the person or group of people that the auto ethnographic project is aiming as the audience that will be affected. Stakeholders is the community that is directly under effect due to the autoethnography. The project is about Puerto Rico being the 21st century modern colony that is masked as a commonwealth. The project’s purpose is to display the critical political-economic crisis locals and politicians are suffering to hopefully inspire a change. The direct stakeholders would be the Puerto Rican people and politicians. The secondary stakeholders would most likely be the people who could potentially take notice and make a change to the modern American imperialism such as the United States representatives, United Nations representatives, and historians (stopping documented censorship).
In the book “Writing & Editing” chapters 4 to 6 explain and discuss how to create a webpage from interactivity to spacing. There are tools to expand space, control navigation, set hyperlinks, correct and revise, format text, edit images, and the list goes on. In chapter 4, there is an emphasis on the creation of titles, but especially on making great headlines. The headline is the first seen on a webpage so it must be simple, have a shock factor to grasp the reader’s attention and interest, summarize content, and function as visual identity for following information. I was surprised the detail the chapter goes into explaining how to develop an ideal headline from what to omit to how to write. Another important tip was about hyperlinks and if a new tab is needed or completely different window should be used or even just using the same window all depending what information is going to be presented and how to manipulate the audience’s navigation through the website. Other interesting topics such as page planning, tone, website usability, and information architecture. In summary, I must make a plan of the website identifying hyperlinks, headline placement, data location, and the overall interaction between links, tabs, and pages.
In the book “Writer/Designer” chapters 4 and 5 discuss the use of sources and the use of all technologies needed for the designated purpose of the multimodal project. The focus of chapter 4 is how to find resources, cite correctly, the permission of use, and balancing one’s citation style. I believe that the difficulty is giving the reader enough information without being a mosaic of citations. This means the writer must prove a point and use citations to either to reinforce claim or use as evidence without the oversaturation of quotation marks. Chapter 5 suggests understanding all the programs one can use and integrate into a webpage to bring unique navigation created by the collaboration of multimedia diversity. Using more than one form of media allows for the audience to be engaged in more ways in order to gain a greater interest.
Even though there is copious amount of information about the effects on the people due to Puerto Rico’s subordination, a primary source such as a real-time interview captures an honest personal record of history that a secondary source could never portray. I want to obtain the first hand experiences of individuals from different backgrounds and ages in order illustrate the transformation of a suffering island over modern times. The factors I want to ponder are mainly national identity and individuality, the economical struggles, and the political involvement and understanding of each individual. I am going to interview a total of three subjects from three consecutive generations. The first interview will be with someone who was born and raised in Puerto Rico and is around my same age group to identify contemporary problems observed by the young adults of the 21st century. The second subject would be an individual who is a parent of a 21st century young adult in order to observe modern effects of political instabilities and short term economical inflammation. The third subject would be my grandfather, an individual of unparalleled experience and wisdom who not only possesses the treasure of time but also predicted the economical calamities Puerto Rico is suffering currently. A few drafted interview questions are the following:
To identify the factors of an ideal infographic, one must understand the sole purpose and functionality of it. An infographic is a presentation of information similar to a poster that displays dense blocks of data to give off a message and lead the audience to a designated conclusion with the use of facts, graphics, colors, and fonts. A great infographic should catch the readers interest whether be the initial photo, color, font, or text. The beginning should be simple but general enough to encompass the topic that will be elaborated throughout the graphic. The text displayed at any given moment must be short and straight to the point preferably accompanied with an image that summarizes the thought to maintain a quick pace of acquiring information to maintain interest and engagement. The creative use of graphs for statistical based information is expected, use of colors for contrast or unity, and use of space for organization to improve the overall understanding is ideal. The display of information as one goes down an infographic should be a logical linear gradient of information from start to finish.
After brainstorming within groups of the English 101 classroom, a rough draft rubric was created using the five general factors: creativity, legibility, organization, simplicity, and credibility. A creative infographic should be unique, diversely display information (graphs, images, text), and dynamic in structure. Legibility of the graphic should be easily understandable, cohesive, and fluid with a logical line of thought per block. Organization includes a good use of space throughout a continuous theme and structured main ideas with labels for topics and titles. Simplicity is for the reader to not be oversaturated with information with the concise but dense display of data with the use of a phrase or image instead of a paragraph of information. Credibility is simply the use of correct resource identification and the diversity of sources within the infographic.
Chapter 1 of Writer/Designer depicted and emphasized that multimodal projects are everywhere and are used daily. A common misconception of mine was that I thought multimodal only referred to a speech or website, when in reality it can be anything that uses multiple modes of communication. I also learned that the term “text” can be used to refer to any form of communication. When defining communication, the chapter also identifies the five modes of communication: visual, aural, gestural, spatial, and linguistic. At first I found ironic how certain modes seemed to overlap until I read in detail each mode. Visual has to do with the colors, point of view, and use of objects in a display. Aural is all about sound, tone, or even silence used to convey a message. Spatial is purely organization and placement, such as one would see on a website. The gestural mode, as it infers, is about body language and expressions. Linguistic is the use of delivery and choice of words while being coherent.
In application to my auto-ethnographic project, the website that I’ll create will require writing and designing using as many modes of communication as a multimodal project would have. Depending on my targeted audience I will have to manipulate my way of expression to entice viewers while getting the main idea across. For my multimodal “text”, the webpage must be visually engaging, special pleasing without being overcrowded by information, and linguistically direct to the point to maintain the interest of the audience.
In the book Writing & Editing, chapter 1 focused mainly on how and why to write well and chapter 2 on the change from writing on a document to writing on a digital interface. Important terms that were mentioned are the following: the medium, organization (division and proximity), creativity and linearity, active voice, consistency, readability, credibility, bias, and transparency. When reading the chapters, there were certain concepts that I thought were obvious but was interesting how an aspect so simple has a great effect such as the dimension of space and using different organization skills to entice the audience. I also found quite intriguing how the style of writing changes when changing to a different format of display from essay to webpage.
For my project, I want to attract the audience using subtle aspects of space and placement to engage the reader with a peripheral vision effect using what I learned of organization. I also want to be able to transform my writing to be packets of information easy to follow along without elaborating towards a lack of interest for being verbose. Although the goal is to be interesting, I want to achieve a certain credibility with the bias I inherently carry when writing about a topic I care deeply of.
My proposed auto-ethnography topic is about my home island Puerto Rico. I will be researching and attacking the fact that the Caribbean paradise is an unacceptable colony under the masked title of a commonwealth. I will be researching on how Puerto Rico has gain such a status and what this means for the wellbeing of the people. Some curious questions to answer are the following. What is colony? What makes a country or a nation? May a nation be a colony or can a country contain multiple nationalities? What is the problem with multi-nationality? How does political subordination affect the people? What are the consequences (political, social, economical)? What led to this disaster? What about the people? The effects of political turmoil on an individual within the island? How come nothing has changed over centuries? What needs to be done and how? Will Puerto Rico ever be liberated from it’s contaminated past?