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assignment #1 – looking back a bit


Picking up from my last MA post, I thought I’d briefly embark on a little bit of reflection regarding the essay I wrote for the last assignment..

Last time, I wrote about the merits of honesty in self reflection. Then I re-read my last essay and have decided that honesty isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. With that in mind, my essay was the best essay in the world. True story. OR, if we’re rolling with my original honest thought, I’m now slightly concerned about getting the marks back this week.

Writing 10,000 words isn’t, in itself, too difficult. Writing 10,000 words about a subject that you get to choose and that you’re interested in is easier still. However, keeping those 10,000 words coherent and relavent is harder than I remembered (from my B.A. dissertation). I actually started writing a decent time before the deadline which meant that I wasn’t rushed toward the end but also meant that by the end, I had far too many words and felt like I had lost sight of my original point. In fact, I’d not even intended to do 10,000 words; the submission criteria allowed for (and almost actively encouraged) alternative documents to form the final assignment (e.g. videos, presentations, websites, whatever) so I hoped to take advantage of that and submit a couple of web pages too.

[Oh, just to note, the title of my piece was “Did MySpace Kill The Music Community?“, (even the title makes me wince now), and the basic point I was trying to make was that since the advent of ‘community’ sites like MySpace, real world communities have fallen into decline – and for musicians to maintain any sort of following these days, they have to become part of the digerati. I might post excerpts at some point.]

So yeah, as part of my assignment, I made a MySpace page and a home page for the ‘fake’ hip hop artist, English Bob. bob-siteThe home page had content from youtube, twitter, facebook,, iphone and a forum – the MySpace page had some music and all the messiness you’d expect from a MySpace page. Crucially however, I forgot to tell anybody about either of them (and it only dawned on me a couple of days before the hand-in) rendering their ‘social network’ value low enough that it didn’t really support the point I was trying to make with them. Totally the opposite in fact. So I scrapped them from the submission. Possibly not the best decision ever because it meant that my entire assignment comprised of a single 10,000+ essay. For a start, who wants to read that much(?) And secondly, as I’ve mentioned, I’m not sure that those 10,000 words are very good.

I suppose the main issue I have with what I submitted comes from a post hand-in glance at the assessment criteria. Obviously I’d read it prior to starting but somewhere along the line, I seem to have ignored some of the things that are outlined in that document and as such, I’m concerned about how that’s going to reflect on the marks. Note to self: print out the criteria and refer to it lots!

I also have reservations about my research methods.. I mean, my bibliography was pretty extensive (if not a bit narrow in scope) but in terms of research off my own back (i.e. questionnaires/interviews), basically, there was none. Again, I’m the only one to blame for that. I did produce a series of questions that I intended to put to a selection of facebook / MySpace users as well as people at gigs but I severely overestimated how much time I had left and before I knew it, it was the Christmas break and everyone vanished. 4 respondents does not a valid piece of research make. Scrapped.

Bah. It’s frustrating because I feel like I actually put a lot of work into the assignment but I’m just unsatisfied with the final product. I’m sure there was a bit of overconfidence there, and also a selective memory regarding how difficult it actually is to write a decent, long, essay. Not to mention that I probably tried to cover far too much and thus sacrificed a quality look at a more specific area of interest. Or *shock horror* I might’ve actually done alright and all this is an example of those nerves that everyone gets after they finish an important piece of work and send it off to be judged. (Everyone does get that right?). We’ll see.

I was going to end this by saying, ‘honest self reflection is depressing’ but really, despite it conjuring up all sorts of fears and insecurities, I hope that I’ve learnt something and should do better next time :) . Live and learn etc..

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