Reflections on AOM2013 Blog Project

Looking back over www.feedmesomethingdecent.co.uk I am pleased with the short updates that built up to provide one big picture of my overall stay at hospital.

I tried to keep the updates short and light-hearted to avoid it being a moan and for it to remain reflective.

I used tools such as Instagram and tagged the location as ‘Southampton Hospital’ which saw click-throughs and sharing of the hospital food pictures there as well. I also sent all of my posts out to a twitter @DoctorFeedMe as well as my personal social networks to encourage views and clicks. This was also a good place to gauge how effective the blog was. Here are some of the comments I received:

Rebecca Elizabeth Smith good job!! hospital food is so s***! the pic of the spag bol – like, wow! well done!
Kirill Nad You’ll be pleased to hear, it doesn’t look far off the food forced on me in a private hospital shortly after having wisdom teeth pulled out under general. Lucky my mouth was so numb everything just kept falling back out onto the tray, bedding and generally all over the room
Overall the site received 806 views, with days that had posts published on them varying between 22 & 114. I used the content management system WordPress.org and set up a domain on my hosting. I used plugins such as Simply Instagram, to pull in my pictures from there in real-time, ‘Sticky Social Bar’ to encourage sharing which follows the reader’s screen on the left hand side and the powerful ‘Jetpack’ tool which provides the site with stats, uses Photon to load images from the WordPress.com to speed up load time and allows for subscriptions by email among other features. Jetpack can also provide a mobile version of the site, however I did not need this feature as I had looked for a responsive theme so it would available on any device when I set up the blog. In the end I used the free theme Live Wire.
Screen shot 2013-05-18 at 1.49.13 PMI hope that the variety of styles of posts helped to spread out and tell the story in a more interesting way. I used galleries, single picture posts and a video to pick up on different concepts. The video was inspired by the concept of how easy I knew it could be to make some good food, especially as towards the end of the blog the food improved – but only because I was picking it up from the chef myself. I felt that a video was the best way to see this A to B style of story arc, especially as the blog had been mainly static with text and pictures so far. I used the style of Thomas Rees Kaye’s YouTube channel which successfully mixes spoof, quick cuts and longer talking pieces to create medium length YouTube videos, his normally last 6-10 minutes. The reason Thomas’s style worked for this video was because it needed to sustain interest between the more boring parts of the video like the facts and promo’s for the website – The humor and music helped carry the narrative along and keep the viewer watching rather than just skipping to the end for the final product.
My largest disappointment was being unable to get someone from inside the ‘system’ to openly talk to me about hospital food. I spoke to several dietitians and bowel clinical leads and many were pleased a patient was going to try to tackle and expose the issue of poor food. However when asked for statements, help and comment all shied away behind their job and said they were restricted by their contracts and pressure from bosses to not speak out. My criticism from this doesn’t go towards the staff, although it would have been nice to see doctors standing up for their patients in the public domain, but instead towards the system itself which clearly prevents and gags critique. This could be a large part of the reason why hospital food has been bad, and remains so awful, for so log.

Final plans for AOM2013 blog project

Here are my final plans for my blog project.

I’m going to post between 5 and 7 article style posts posts over 3 weeks that will include a mix of:

  • How the food is awful
    • How and if it improves
    • What steps I took
  • Context:
    • Horse Meat
    • NHS Budget Cuts
    • Happieness/Wellbeing
    • Other Health Scares

Then a series of shorter posts and galleries as round ups:

  • Instagram/Photo Galleries
  • Cooking Video
  • Revelations: Like teaching them how to cook pasta well.

I am going set up a Instagram profile and install a widget on the blog to display pictures as they go live. I’ve also installed a Submit tool so people can send in their own experiences and pictures of bad hospital food.

The blog is live (But currently empty) on www.feedmesomethingdecent.co.uk I built it using the wordpress.org content management system.

I plan to start releasing context next week. I am going to use the Publicise tool (in the Jetpack plugin) to bounce content out to a Twitter & Facebook account too.

Week 2 – Audio Slideshows #AOM2013

So far at every masterclass or industry led lectures, everyone has spoke about the importance of being able to do ‘everything’. Having dabbled in web design and enjoying new and interesting ways to share hopefully this module will open my eyes to even more.

We looked at Audio Slideshows this week. I’ve been interested in the concept¬† since it was mentioned in a radio lecture last year, but never enough to go looking for one. We looked at several in class and I enjoy the focus to the moments captured they bring.

Orignally from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/01/31/fashion/20090131-street-feature/index.html

Orignally from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/01/31/fashion/20090131-street-feature/index.html

One particularly enjoyable, if not 30 seconds to long, was a New York Times (NYT) Fashion Journalist’s where he spoke over a collection of pictures taken on 5th avenue of workers, tourists and city goers ‘Jumping’ the massive puddles where the snow has melted between the side walks and the relative safety of the elevated roads. I enjoyed it as the speaker was so enthusiastic and descriptive which made the pictures come to life.

I enjoyed the NYT’s slide show of busking on the subway; the best ‘word’ to ‘picture’ that was used for me was when he was speaking about enjoying and we saw someone with a wonderful natural smile.

The best out of what we watched was the story of the school, the reason being I felt like it told a story that had the right balance of shock to draw you in, human interest for you to care, perspective from different players and a hopeful ending.

The concept that excited me most, the one from this session that I’d most likely to pursue for my project was the sound scape idea. We looked at a poorly recorded Alexander McQueen show on the Guardian website. I can imagine doing this backstage at a theatre or a gig. What I’d do differently however is either have a lead narrator or include lots of small specifically caught audio clips of people talking about what they were feeling too before ending as they did with a show of them on stage.

I learned that audio slide shows need to have any and all radio elements applied as well as photography, it’s all well and good having some good photos if you have a dull speaker; Wildtrack is key here too. They are good for

  • Photo Journalism
  • Lists
  • Top Tens
  • Strong Characters
  • Colour Piece/Flavour of an Event

I also have understood that the reason black and white imagery is used is to focus the viewer’s attention on whats actually going on, to focus the attention and it does this because it takes away information and therefore requires more concentration.