Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Portfolio

Francisco Legorreta
English 114 B
Cover Letter
            In this particular English course I learned many different things, some of which I had a feeling I would learn. However, we also discussed and learned material that I would never have thought we would talk about in an ordinary English class. Even though the class was constructed in an abnormal way we still learned many new things while enjoying it at the same time. Some thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that we would look at and talk about current issues that we live in our modern society. These issues could have been have ranged from economic to social issues. No matter what topic we would talk about, it would always end up being very interesting. Even since the beginning of this course, which was last semester we have been doing these unorthodox assignments, but in my opinion I believe that these different methods have made me into a better writer. One method that I really enjoyed was how we did several drafts and progressions, which would slowly ease us into the bigger more important essays. These helped a lot because I saw them as practices, and during this we also would be put into groups in which we discussed and reviewed each others progress. I thought that this process was essential to my success because it allowed me to stay on course and fix my mistakes and improve my writing style before I turned in my actual essay. Another method that we did last semester that I really enjoyed was how we were able to watch videos and look at images on the issues we were writing about. To me this helped because of the fact that I happen to be more of a visual person. My favorite assignment that we did last semester was the Ethnography, the reason being that we had the ability to choose our own topic to do an essay on. The most important and interesting part about this assignment was the fact that it all started with us choosing a simple image and describing it, and then eventually elaborating on it. This method was important because it showed that an essay could be written with an image and a survey. In my overall opinion the first half of this English course was more creative than any thing because we would be talking just about anything, even current issues that would happen on a daily basis at CSUN. No matter the case the first half showed us that we could create an essay on any issue, which would be essential in the second half of this class.

            In this current semester, I noticed our English class changed a little bit, however it still had its unorthodox feel to it. For example we had to do more critical thinking, such as the identity of a person. Almost all of our works dealt with the identity of the person, but the difference is that we had to talk about the identity of the person in different situations. For example we had to talk about the identiy of the person in an the form of an Avatar, I thought that this was a creative angle on how to approach it. The reason why I thought that this was a good idea is because this topic has such a huge amount of people who apply. This topic opened  my eyes and I learned that people can enforce their personal identity on their Avatars, and at the same time the Avatars identity can be rubbing off on the person playing as well. Another thing that I found to be extremely peculiar was that we were to explore and research different spaces, of all assignment I found this to be the oddest. However, once our group went to our designated locations we noticed that a persons behavior and even identity of the person can be changed by the simple space of the area. However, perhaps the most controversial and most informative topic had to be about the book we read, which was As Nature Made Him. This was the ultimate test of identity of a person and it showed me that there many different incidents that may or may not change the identity of a person. In this particular case it was a huge deal and it really had huge implications. Since this half of the class was primarily based on a persons identity I decided to choose essays that deal with this reoccurring theme. The two essays that I decided to put into my portfolio would be my Ethnography of why people decided to switch from MySpace to Facebook, which at first does not seem as if it deals with identity, but in actuality it shows how a persons identity can be changed by the general population. The other essay that will be in my portfolio would be the most recent essay we did which had to deal with identity, this time I decided to do it on music for the simple fact that music can have a huge impact on a person’s identity.

            Overall during my time in this English class I was able to learn new methods of writing and new ways on how to improve my writing style. The best part about it is the fact even though we all were being productive we were still writing issues that caught our attention. From the first half of this class I believe that learned how to be a more creative writer, and above all I now have a proven method in which my essay can be the best it can be. Which is I must do several smaller drafts and progressions and still be sharing my work with some one who can give me feedback. In the second half of this class I believe I learned how to become more of a critical thinker and writer as well. All in all I think having this class through out the entire year allowed me to develop into a better writer, and I am leaving with new knowledge.

Francisco Legorreta
English 114 B
Social Media Ethnography
            As most people may or may not know MySpace was the first social media that grabbed the attention of both the older and younger public. Since being the first social media, MySpace was groundbreaking because it gave an immense amount of freedom to the general community. Even though MySpace was indeed huge with the general population, it was much bigger deal to younger kids around the ages of thirteen or fourteen. MySpace served more as an outlet from the boredom of being home. The reason was because MySpace allowed all people to communicate with their friends and even make new friends and relationships. Another thing that most young users including myself really liked was the fact that each person was able to customize their own profile as much as they pleased. However, the feature that people from my survey thought was the reason why MySpace became such a phenomenon was the fact that they could communicate with such a large audience. This was extremely important to the younger generation because they were able to communicate without being charged a fee.  Mostly all of these young users had no income so to them a free social media sounded a whole lot better than calling one another; This made most teenagers choose MySpace over a phone. People who I interviewed were people who I grew up with so they were more or less my same age. Even though MySpace was the first social media that gave people the ability to communicate in a whole different manner than ever before certain users eventually became bored with it. These few users who got tired of MySpace found Facebook (another social media), so they decided to switch over to Facebook and give it a try. At first it was a gradual transition the public had, but eventually more and more people began to switch over to the new social media until Facebook eventually took the crown of social media supremacy. This to me was astonishing and it made me wonder what were the reasons why the MySpace users left and decided to make Facebook their new social media of choice. So in order to find this answer I decided to conduct a survey with the people from my hometown because they were the group of people who I was associated myself with when this shift happened.

            Since I knew that I was going back home for the weekend I thought that this would be the best time to conduct my survey because I would have the chance to ask all of my friends why they switched. Even though I was going back to my hometown to where most of my friends were Latinos I knew that I would mostly have similar answer, well only if they applied to their demographics. For this survey I also made sure that these people who I interviewed were of the correct age, well at least old enough to remember about MySpace and remember why they switched. Most of the people who I interviewed were around my age so they all are about nineteen years old right now. And when they made the switch from MySpace to Facebook they were between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. Another thing that I made sure with the people I interviewed was that they all lived in a common area, which happened to be my hometown of Santa Maria. I knew that the best way in which I could conduct my survey was to try and have as many friends as I could to talk to me in person. By doing this I was going to be able to see their body expressions to their answers. For example I would be able to tell that one of my friends felt very strongly about his reason if he was flapping his arms around. While I wasn’t able to get a chance to get a face-to-face discussion with all of my friends, however I thought asking them through a phone call would have to do. All I all I interviewed 30 people in total, 16 of them were guys and the rest were girls. Most of the people who I interviewed were Latinos, while the rest were either Asian or Caucasians. I was also able to make the assumption that not everyone who I questioned would be doing well economically, because most of us lived in a predominantly Latin based town. However, in order to conduct a very accurate ethnography I tried to get an even number of guys and girls, and to ensure accuracy even more I came up with 4 very simple questions that will be the exact same ones asked to each person. The first question I asked was, “What was the reason why you decided to get a MySpace?” The second question was, “What was your favorite feature about MySpace?” The third question was, “What made you want to switch from MySpace to Facebook?” The final question was, “Now that you have had both a MySpace and a Facebook, what do you think is the biggest difference between the two social media websites?” I was pretty confident that if I administer these questions I would be able to discover the main reason why most MySpace users switched over to Facebook.

            When I asked the first question of my survey to my 30 friends I got answers that I was pretty much expecting to hear. For example, 20 of the 30 replied that the reason why they got a MySpace was because their friends also had one and they did not want to be left behind. In a demographic point of view the answers I got from this question did not really make a difference because those who gave me this answer were not predominantly a certain race.  Then from the 10 remaining 7 said that they got a MySpace because of the fact that they did not have a phone and they thought that their only way of communicating with their friends when they needed something was through MySpace. This answer however made me realize something else; the people who actually got their MySpace because they needed a way to communicate with their friends were all Latinos. At first I did not notice but then it hit me, since they did not have the financial means to own a cell phone, they turned to the only way other way that was free, which was MySpace at the time. While the remaining 3 said that they only got one to have it and that they honestly do not even use it, they even said that they could live without it. However in my second question I was expecting my answers to be a bit more diverse than my expectations for the first question. This time 7 of the 30 replied that their favorite feature about MySpace was how they were each able to customize their individual page as much as they wanted without having anyone telling them something. To me this answers I got from this question could not show me what race or age a person maybe, because no matter who it maybe everyone has their own opinions. Then from the 23 remaining 8 said that their favorite feature was how they were all able to find old friends and new friends and be able to talk to them. Then 10 from the remaining 15 said that their favorite feature was how they were able to upload their pictures and have people comment on them. Most of the people who said that they liked this were girls because they all admitted that they all like to have guys commenting on their pictures because they feel wanted. While the remaining 5 said that their favorite feature was how they were able to show off their favorite things such as music, books, movies and sports teams. This answer to me was intriguing because it showed me that some of the people liked this feature were Latinos because they were able to put their favorite soccer team. The next question was the most important one, and I was very intrigued to see what the answers are going to be. From the 30 I found out that 17 switched to Facebook because everyone else was doing it as well and they did not be the only one who stays on MySpace. This was pretty much the same reason why I also switched over to Facebook. From the 13 remaining 4 said that they switched over to Facebook because they liked the layout of Facebook a whole lot more than the one MySpace had. The remaining of my friends said that they didn’t really switch over to Facebook but instead they pretty much just got a Facebook while they had a MySpace and was using both of them at the same time. For this particular question and answer for my survey I believe that it did not matter what race you were, I think it mattered on how mature you happened to be. For example all different races eventually switched over to Facebook, this pretty was self-explanatory with the results I got because more than half did it because everyone else was doing it. However, the bigger question is probably when, the people who told me they switched over because they liked the lay out better than the one MySpace had, well these people happened to be the slightly older ones from the bunch of people I interviewed. For the final question I was not to sure what the responses were going to be but I wanted to know their answers. From the 30 of friends 3 of them said they did not really know the differences between the two social media websites because as they had already mentioned in question one they did not really use their MySpace accounts that often. However 10 of the remaining people said that some of the biggest differences was that Facebook was so much more formal and more for mature people while MySpace was much more juvenile. Two people said that the biggest difference for them was that Facebook had a LIKE button unlike MySpace where you could only comment. From the remaining 15 people 6 of them said that the biggest difference for them was how Facebook was so much more global than MySpace. As we all know MySpace was global, however, Facebook is far more global. This made sense to because almost all of my family members from Mexico are able to talk me. Four of these people said that their biggest difference was how people can create an event and also make a group for a club, fraternity, sport, etc. While the remaining 5 people that their biggest difference was how much bigger Facebook is than MySpace in both schools and in businesses. This makes sense because now that I think about it CSUN and the businesses that are on campus have a Facebook page, to me this is incredible. Just like in the last question I believe that the answers mattered more on the age of people rather than the race or even their economic status. The reason why I say this is because more than half of the people who answered this question gave reasons older might give as well. Which are that they can now communicate with their family members from other countries. Another answer in why the age mattered in why they switched was because they said that they liked the fact of how Facebook allowed people to create groups in both their Universities as well as businesses.

            MySpace was the social media that set off the trend that people could communicate with one another through a free online website. When it first came out it was breathe taking because this had never been done before. MySpace was incredibly huge for a while until the new social media site, Facebook, came around. Once Facebook came around MySpace began to dwindle away because people were leaving. MySpace is still in use at this point in time, however it lost a lot of users when Facebook came into the picture. In the responses I received I was surprised yet I already had an idea that some of the answers were going to be similar to reasons why I decided to either get a MySpace and then get a Facebook. In my personal opinion I think that it does matter who you interview and how many, I also do believe that maybe if I would have interviewed different age group or even a city with a predominantly different race I might get different answers. However all I know is that the answers I got came from mostly nineteen year old people who have lived in the same town their whole lives. Nonetheless I believe that my predictions were on point with the answers I got. However, this just makes you think that what’s next for when it comes to social media sites. What is going to be the next big thing that comes around and eventually knocks down Facebook from its high horse? This is bound to happen either way because social media sites are just like in electronics there is always something new coming out. As of right now Facebook is the top social media until another tops it, but when it does I would really be interested to see why people leave Facebook for another site.

Francisco Legorreta
English 114 B
East Coast Rap Vs. Pop Rap
            Music plays a huge role in almost every individual’s everyday life. The influence of music can be as simple as a person listening to a song on the radio while being stuck in traffic, or can be as inspirational as person who listens to music to rid their drug and or alcohol addiction. No matter the case, music has always been a key influence on a person’s identity. One of the biggest forms of music happens to be Hip Hop, the reason being that it has so many subgenres. And each and every one of these subgenres have their own unique identity in the Hip Hop industry, however two of the biggest and most influential styles that we have today are East Coast Rap and Pop Rap. Even though these two subgenres have the same roots, they still both represent different styles and create different identities all together. East Coast Rap for example usually has very simple beats, but always makes up for that with its extremely lyrical style. East Coast Rap is such an influential form of Hip Hop because of the fact that some of the most respected and lyrically acclaimed artists have come from the East Coast. Pop Rap on the other hand incorporates more upbeat type of music and uses far less lyrics; hence it personifies the image of flashiness. This form of Pop Rap is often revered as party music. Nonetheless the identity of the two genres can vary a lot, from the simple clothing style that the artists endorse to the life long messages they happen to be spreading. Either way music can shape the identity of the listener and the artist.

            All forms of Hip Hop come from the same roots and beginnings, but there are certain genres of Hip Hop that have had more success than others. However, East Coast Rap happens to be a very sacred type of Hip Hop because it happens to come from the same place in which Hip Hop was born, and it happens to be the city of New York. Since the beginning of its existence East Coast Rap has always had a very unique style, which is that the beat is simplified and the lyrics amplified. This in a sense causes the listener to pay less attention to the actual beat and more to what is being said, some people have even said that this style is considered inner city poetry. East Coast Rap talks about all kinds of subjects, they can range from social to political problems, but nonetheless East Coast Rap has served as the voice of the people and has also greatly influenced the identity of the listener. For example unlike other people who enjoy Pop Rap and Southern Rap and like to go out and show off their wealth and materialistic items, people who personify East Coast Rap would much rather not go flaunting around. The reason why is because just like in East Coast Rap they would much rather have their intellectual vocabulary do the talking then their wealth, this identity that the people are exhibiting resembles East Coast on how the beat is not as important as how the lyrics are. Another way in which East Coast Rap influenced the identity of the listener was both through slang and wardrobe. Some slang that is used is still considered to be only understood in New York, it seemed as if they would speak another language. The wardrobe that was used by people in New York usually consisted of Timberland Boots, baggy pants, hoodies, and a high fade, people didn’t wear the top of the line clothes because they knew that if they were showing it, there was a chance they could get robbed. New York was also known as a rugged town so the people too wore rugged clothes; this just further more exemplifies the influence of East Coast Rap on the identity of the people who listen to it. The East Coast artists also have a very unique identity about them, something that artists from other Hip Hop genres try to emulate but can’t. These East Coast artists have lived through tough times and hardships, creating a hardened identity, this is clearly evident in the type of music they create. For example in their music these artists talk about the constant struggles they have endured and give vivid imagery of how cruel the world can be, while at the same time still giving the youth positive messages. Since East Coast Rap is predominantly lyrical, MC-ing and free styling have become synonymous with this type of Hip Hop, further showing that the power of their words is much more important. Some of the most famous East Coast Rap artists of all time happen to be The Notorious B.I.G, Nas, KRS-One, Rakim, and Big Daddy Kane, these are just a few artists whose music have lasted the test of time. Overall East Coast Rap has a very distinct style and both the artists and audience who enjoy this type of music also have their own particular identity.

            Even though the East Coast Rap and Pop Rap originated from the same birthplace, they still offer contrasting styles. Pop Rap represents different philosophies than the politically revered East Coast Rap. One of the biggest differences is the fact that it focuses on more entertaining beats, hence it glorifies the party life more. This type of Hip Hop also uses far less lyrics, and the few lyrics that are being used do not make sense at all. Most people who listen to Hip Hop on a frequent basis have dubbed this type of music as Mainstream, for the fact that it is the music that gets all the radio plays. In this more ignorant type of music it talks primarily about drugs, alcohol, women and flashy materialistic items. This type of music also influences the identity of the people a great deal, for example more and more young people are far less intellectual and care more about image and flash, which in a sense pretty much summarizes the style of Pop Rap. Another huge factor that has contributed to the identity of the listener is the fact that artists emphasize that we only live once and that we should do things with out caring about the consequences. One of the biggest quotes that young people use in our modern day is Y.O.L.O, which means (You Only Live Once). Hence this shows that the listeners care far less about committing crimes or committing illegal actions, such as doing drugs on a regular basis or driving drunk. This clearly shows that the identity of a person who listens to Pop Rap can easily be manipulated. The artists who make this type of music also have an identity, however their identity is formed through different circumstances unlike the East Coast artists who live through hardships. For example most Pop Rap artists such as Drake and Wiz Khalifa did not endure these turbulent circumstances, instead they received a helping hand into the music industry. Drake in particular has been an actor since the age of thirteen further showing that he never endured hardships; instead he had it made since a teenager. This is perhaps the reason why these artists make Pop Rap, and why they focus on mostly on party music because in their entire life it has all been one huge party and they have never had to go through any adversity. Other Pop Rap artists who fall under this category include Lil’ Wayne, Big Sean, Chris Brown, and all of Young Money. These are just a few artists who make this party type of music. Even though this type of music is somewhat idiotic it still reaches a larger audience than East Coast Rap for the simple fact that it is still able to mix with a variety of genres other than Hip Hop. Pop Rap also has the ability attract people from all different backgrounds, for example some of the music that is being played in California can be playing in Vermont. Pop Rap may not be putting out the best messages or even teaching anything but it still happens to be one of the biggest forms of Hip Hop.
            Music does plays huge part of everyone’s daily life and has been ever since the beginning and it will forever be a huge factor. Hip Hop and all of its subgenres all represent different things. For example people who will continue to listen to Pop Rap will have a different identity opposed to the people who listen to other forms of Hip Hop. Fans of Pop Rap will continue to focus completely on their image instead of more realistic matters, such as their education and what is going on in the world. Which goes to show us that Pop Rap will continue to represent the party life as well as the wealth and flashiness. This also goes for the artists who make Pop Rap it seems as if they will continue to make this form of Hip Hop.  While people who listen to East Coast Rap will also have their own identity. They will focus more on the lyrics of the songs and to what is being said. The audience to East Coast Rap will usually focus on the artist’s social, economic, and political views, which will make the listener in a sense more intellectual. Hip Hop as a whole seems like it will continue to thrive with all of its different subgenres it now has. However with all of these subgenres in Hip Hop there will always be fans and artists with different identities. But no matter what subgenre of Hip Hop it is and how different the identities of the artists and audience who listen to it may be, it will not change the fact that they all came from the same roots. Even East Coast Rap and Pop Rap, who seem as if they are the complete opposite in a Hip Hop point of view, they too have that factor in common. Overall East Coast Rap and Pop Rap have different things to offer, but they still have the ability to greatly to influence the identity of the listener and the artist.

Work Cited

Alexander, Ron. “The Differences That Define Rap/Hip-Hop.” Web. 7 May 2012.
Fabian, Jefferson. “The Evolution of Hip-Hop Today.” 24 Aug. 2011. Web. 7 May   2012.
Haram. Dime Wars: Daily Insights, Music & Entertainment. 23 May 2008. Web. 7 May 2012.
Hip Hop Lead. Glish Productions,2012. Web. 6 May 2012.
Hip Hop Music: Hip Hop Social Media. Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, 2012. Web.  7    May 2012.
“History of Hip Hop.” Web. 4 May 2012.
Shafer, Eric. “West Coast? East Coast? Hip Hop Explained.” 19 Nov. 2010.  Web. 6 May 2012.