Digital Capstone Composition Proposal


After exploring Rachel Hulin’s “Hey Harry Hey Matilda” on Instagram and through her website, I was enamored with the idea of developing a novel for the web. Jessica and I plan to write our own narrative for the web; like “Hey Harry Hey Matilda,” the narrative will be available as installments on Instagram and as a navigable website. The website will be my primary focus, as Jessica will be developing her narrative through Instagram. I had originally planned to use Tumblr, but after exploring the site, I believe a WordPress site would create the brand recognition I’m looking for.

During my time in entrepreneurship courses, I have been disappointed to find that the creative aspect of marketing is often lost in the search for a profit. Today’s marketing is product and service driven. I want to create a brand that does not necessarily exist to turn a profit; although Jessica plans to continue working with this project after graduation, my goal is to build a space online that allows users to engage with our novel. This digital space will create brand recognition by disrupting the way people are used to reading; it will provide information regarding the novel and its content, but it will force readers to be active participants in the brand.

My audience will be Dr. Wharton and other faculty in the Rhetoric and Composition concentration. Instead of using this project as a chance to demonstrate my writing skills, I would like to demonstrate my ability to create appropriate content for the web and to build an online platform that appeals to an academic audience. The construction of this novel is a chance to build a brand online; my goal is to create a collaborative novel that has an easily recognizable web presence. While Jessica focuses on writing and character development on Instagram, I will shift my focus toward building a website that explores the brand we will be working with.

Like Jessica, I also plan to write a brief explanation of my work with the website. This written deliverable will allow me to explain the design choices I made and how those choices were influenced by the context of the project. Since my portion of the project focuses on marketing and branding, the written explanation will serve as my written argument for the way I design the site. I believe this reflection will be helpful as I compose the site, as it will encourage me to think critically about each choice I make while creating the content.

The site, when finished, will represent a brand with a personal connection. It will be interactive, intriguing, and memorable. Much like Misty Copeland uses personal experiences on her Instagram to connect with her fans and followers, this site (in combination with the Instagram page) will allow users to connect with a former dancer and explore the beauty of everyday dance with her.


Bannon, Fiona. “Articulations: Walking As Daily Dance Practice.” Choreographic

            Practices 1.1 (2011): 97-109. International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance

           with Full Text. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

In this study, Bannon reflects on her own experiences with urban walking and discusses how urban walking can be thought of as a choreographed dance. She describes it as a “flow,” an interaction between herself and the people and city around her. She provides her audience with the steps to become aware of this dance, using “Walking with attention” and “Walking with intention” as ways to mindfully enjoy an urban dance. Much like Jessica and I are attempting to capture dance in everyday activities, Bannon looks for the choreography and flow in menial activities that participants often get lost in.

Edensor, Tim, and Caitlan Bowdler. “Site-Specific Dance: Revealing And Contesting The

            Ludic Qualities, Everyday Rhythms, And Embodied Habits Of Place.” Environment

          & Planning A 47.3 (2015): 709-726. GreenFILE. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

Note: The GSU library portal does not allow web access to this article. I found it through the library, but searched for it on my own through the actual journal on

This article will work well for our project, as it explores the relationship between dances and the places they occur. They also argue for the significance of dance outside the theatre. In the article, Bowdler and Edensor multiple dance pieces, including Traffic and an unnamed work from the Guerilla Dance Project. They look at how spaces confine dancers and people, and how something as menial as passersby on a sidewalk can take part in a graceful dance. As a final experiment, Bowdler performed her own dance in a park in Manchester to study the relationship between her performance and the park’s space around her and her peers.

Geurin-Eagleman, Andrea N., and Lauren M. Burch. “Communicating Via Photographs:

            A Gendered Analysis Of Olympic Athletes’ Visual Self-Presentation On

            Instagram.” Sport Management Review (2015): ScienceDirect. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

This study will be especially useful because it explores how athletes can build their personal brand on social media. While it also discusses the gender-fueled stereotypes that are present among athlete portrayal, I would like to focus on the relationship that social media allows between the audience and the figure they are watching. The study showed that “backstage performances,” i.e. personal photos of athletes outside of their respective sports, lead to stronger relationships between athletes and their followers.

Gómez, Miguel A. “Rudolf Von Laban’s Labanotation: The Origin Of Notational Analysis

            Methods In Sport Sciences.” RICYDE. Revista Internacional De Ciencias Del

Deporte 11.39 (2015): 96-99. Fuente Académica Premier. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

This article provides a basic introduction to Labanotation for audiences that are unfamiliar with the term. Miguel Gómez writes a brief history of dance notation and how Labanotation has developed through the decades since its creation. He also describes how Labanotation can be used to analyze certain sports, such as synchronized swimming and gymnastics, and how it allows certain audiences (coaches, doctors, physical therapists) to look at agility requirements and risks for injuries in their respective sports.

Hulin, Rachel. “Hey Harry Hey Matilda.” Hey Harry Hey Matilda. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

Hulin’s website serves as the catch-all for her story. The site provides character information, audio and visual aspects (the audience can even hear Vera sing), and a brief summary of what the novel is and where it exists. Site visitors can also read all “Hey Harry Hey Matilda” installments in order, without scrolling through photos on Instagram. Jessica and I plan to create a website for our story to provide readers with another outlet of information.

Hulin, Rachel. “Matilda and Harry Goodman (@heyharryheymatilda).” Matilda and

            Harry Goodman (@heyharryheymatilda). Instagram. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

As part of her web-based story, Rachel Hulin posts each installment of “Hey Harry Hey Matilda” in separate posts on Instagram. Jessica and I would like to follow this model of writing for Instagram, and like Hulin, we have started to gather original photos to use as our posts. Hulin posts weekly, every few days, or sometimes every day, and the Instagram account links back to the website that she writes on.

Kriefman, Laura. “Guerilla Dance Project | Finding the Dances in Everyday Life….”

            Guerilla Dance Project. Pervasive Media Studio. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

The Guerilla Dance Project is a dance company lead by Laura Kriefman, and the company are resident at Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, UK. Kriefman and her company attempt to bring dance to everyday occurrences, such as interaction between atomic energies and human interaction with natural elements. Kriefman’s work is exactly what we want to do: find the rhythm and dance in everyday activities. Her work has been featured around the world, and she and her other collaborators also use the website as a blogging platform.

Schulaka, Carly. “Brittney Castro On Instagram, Periscope, And Why You Should Always

            Be Sharing.” Journal Of Financial Planning 29.1 (2016): 12. Advanced Placement

         Source. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

In an interview with Carly Schulaka, Brittney Castro briefly describes her method of marketing thorough social media. She emphasizes marketing on Instagram and how posting with intent has helped her promote her brand and build customer relationships. I would like to use this information to question how we build our Instagram story, for example, are we going to post at the same time every day? How will each of our photos capture our audience? Who is our audience and what are they looking for? This interview, especially since it follows a successful Instagram marketer, will allow me to develop the content of our Instagram page.

Gantt Chart

After opening the link, it may be blank. If this is the case, look in the top left of the screen, next to “Menu” and “View.” You’ll see a blip that says “14 tasks hidden.” Click “Clear” and it will display our timeline. If this doesn’t work for some reason, let me know, and I will be happy to add you to the group.

Jessica and Danielle: Gantt Chart

Photo: Clipart Panda

CTW: Humphrey and Hulin

“Where can we find authority in a book with multiple authors working in different modalities? (Humphrey 5)”

In his comic “Multimodal Authorship and Authority in Educational Comics: Introducing Foucault and Derrida for Beginners,” Aaron Humphrey explores the idea of authority and how it is embodied through multimodal texts with multiple authors. He does this by examining various examples of “An Introduction…” and “For Beginners” books, specifically those that speak on the theories of Foucault and Derrida. Experimenting with writing in a comic and analyzing collaborative comics allows Humphrey to question how we have previously viewed academic writing, and his techniques aid in decentralizing the voice of authority that is so prevalent in the academic sphere.

Rachel Hulin pioneers a new kind of composition in her novel “Hey Harry Hey Matilda.” One of the captivating elements of her work is that it exists in two spaces: Instagram and a blog-style website. Her story follows twins Matilda and Harry Goodman as they navigate adulthood together; their dialogue features everything from relationships and psychological states to genetic testing and aging. The secret to their relationship, though, is that they seem to be fighting feelings for each other. Their conversations are nostalgic, yet modern and laced with anxiety. Hulin posts new segments of their story on Instagram every few days or so, sometimes every day, but it varies; alternatively, on the website, Hulin provides segments in posts that the audience can scroll through in chronological order.

How do these pieces interact?

Hulin’s work directly embodies Humphrey’s decentralization of authority. Whether the audience is looking at the story through Instagram or through the website, it is difficult to identify one solitary author. The dialogue is constantly shifting between Harry and Matilda, and the audience has to adjust accordingly.

Humphrey’s text literally engages the reader; an audience of this comic cannot be a passive learner. Much like Hulin’s work disrupts our search for authority, Humphrey’s use of handwritten text and thought bubbles forces the reader to navigate between different voices. He or she must engage with the text because it is written in a non-linear fashion, and the use of images, thought and speech bubbles, and handwritten text keeps the reader constantly working to comprehend  the message. We’ve been trained to read in a pattern: left to right, top to bottom.

Flash mobs totally disrupt our way of viewing texts and performances. We look for a pattern, a system, or an order, but flashmobs take that from us. Irish dance, especially combinations of  hard shoe and soft shoe dances like the one shown here, send dancers in so many different directions that the audience’s way of viewing the performance is disrupted, much like Humphrey’s comic disrupts our method of reading. 

Why analyze multimodal texts?

Multimodal texts are arguably more difficult to compose; the author has to find or create visual elements that flow with the text (if text is present at all), and likewise the text must be composed with regards given to its spatial layout. Additionally, any images used by an author will have a spatial component, and images of living things will contain a gestural element as well. Hulin’s use of cover photos not only draw the reader in to the story, it also distorts the authoritative voice that readers have been trained to look (or listen) for.


Multimodal texts are often constructed like pottery in a children’s class: it takes more than one set of hands to build a container.

When reading Hulin’s story on Instagram, the first thing the audience sees is the photo. The caption is positioned under it, but users have to scroll down to see it. On the website, Hulin disrupts our linear way of reading with hyperlinks. Readers can choose to explore characters through their own stories, or they can simply read the description that Hulin provides.

Deconstructing My Personal Biases

Since I am a Millennial with a preference toward social media, I was utterly enamored with “Hey Harry Hey Matilda,” while I will admit that Humphrey’s comic disrupted my way of reading. Navigating through the comic forced me to examine how I interact with texts, and I found that even though I am comfortable with web-based texts, I have a tendency to favor linear reading styles. Humphrey did not compose his comic to be easy to read; rather, he wanted his audience to think about the text that they were interacting with.

When I was composing my portfolio, I chose a layout that still encouraged my audience to read my posts similar to how they would read a book. If a reader chooses to navigate my site “out of order,” so to speak, the portfolio still makes sense. Engaging with Humphrey’s work and comparing it to my own made me realize why I struggled with reading the comic: I cannot read the comic linearly, but I cannot rearrange it either. I have to read it a certain way, but before sitting down and working with it, I did not know what that way was. Reading Humphrey’s comic allowed me to reflect on how I view multimodal texts and revealed to me what I need to work on in regards to reading and composition.

Before reading Humphrey’s piece, I was not sure how to feel about academic writing in a text like  his. I had been trained to recognize academic writing as bland and primarily linguistic, perhaps with a graph or other visual aid thrown in for good measure. Engaging with Humphrey’s comic allowed me to reflect on how I previously viewed academic writing, and I’ve realized that to truly embrace multimodal composition, academic writing must start to engage all the modes.


Multimodal texts disrupt the way we have been taught to read texts. They are immersive; they fascinate us and encourage us to reevaluate how we view multimodality and academic writing. Multimodal texts allow us to reflect on how we’ve composed in the past, and they help us develop our own multimodal composition skills. Hulin and Humphrey embody the shift toward multimodal composition by creating works that transform us from passive learners to active readers.


Cover image: Kate Reed

Hulin, Rachel. Hey Harry Hey Matilda. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.

Hulin, Rachel. “Matilda and Harry Goodman.” Instagram. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.

Humphrey, Aaron. “Multimodal Authoring and Authority in Educational Comics: Introducing Derrida and Foucault for Beginners.” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly. The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, Sept. 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.

Image: Cameron, Melanie R. “Conflicting Voices: Why Parents Choose Not to Bring Their Children to Mass.” Catholic365. 4 Sept. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

Take The Floor. “TAKE THE FLOOR Flashmob Dublin Airport.” YouTube. Take The Floor, 03 Aug. 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.

Visual Annotations

voices pic

Image: The graphic novel provides us with conflicting voices; we can’t simply focus on the words anymore. Our pattern of reading is disrupted, and we have to discern between voices on the page. We can’t just look at these pictures, because they are literally worth words.


Image: I see this photo as two things: first, I see it illustrate the metaphorical tug-of-war between the linguistic and the visual/spatial. There is a power struggle going on, but some audiences fail to realize that the modes cannot be separated. What if this power struggle was forgotten? If we learn to embrace the modes as a system and not as separate parts, we can begin to incorporate all modes into critical thinking.

uneven bars

Image: When I read this, I immediately thought of a gymnast on uneven bars. The bars run parallel, but the gymnast has to flip between the two. The gymnast obviously needs both bars; without both of them, the routine would not be near as beautiful or impressive. I think this speaks to the hesitance to compose with pictures and words… Pictures are difficult, if not more difficult than writing alone. The uneven bars are arguably more difficult than a routine on one bar, considering the athlete doesn’t have to switch between two bars that are feet apart. The same can be said for writing with words and pictures.


Image: This picture makes me think of the “omnipresent gaze” and how this gaze influences the way we write. A doctorate student in the Rhet/Comp concentration once told me that we have almost “fetishized” the written word and linguistic component of writing, and this comic made me think of how there is possibly a gaze from the academic or older world… Perhaps there is a gaze that forces us to favor the written word. A good chunk of academic writing is written and refuses to employ drawings and other visual aspects.


Image: Why do the blending and bleeding of voices and agency make us uncomfortable? Because it sends us into the unknown. In “Introducing Derrida,” we see the roles of writer, designer, and illustrator blend together. This made me think of driving or walking into fog, and how it forces us to focus so much harder on what is directly in front of us. It makes us hyperaware.


Image: How does multimodality complicate composing? Complicate has a negative connotation, but the word works here. Multimodality, as seen with comics and graphic novels, disrupt our typical way of reading. It makes us interact with the text, and it ties different meanings into one page or piece. This comic made me think of braided cords; Humphrey says that “Meaning is braided throughout the network of a comic.” This braided meaning is present not just in comics, but in all multimodal texts.

Book Review

For my book review, I ventured into the world of Public Relations (PR) with Making It in Public Relations: An Insider’s Guide to Career Opportunities by Leonard Mogel. In this career guide, Mogel describes the responsibilities of a public relations professional and examines various case studies of PR  performed in the top PR firms. He speaks on the different practice branches of PR and profiles the top 10 largest PR firms. He also talks briefly about women in the PR world, interviews successful PR  professionals, and even provides information on how to get a job in PR.

The day-to-day responsibilities of someone working in PR varies by practice area and organization, but Mogel asserts that almost all PR professionals will deal with client placement and publicity. Generally, PR professionals spend a lot of their time making sure their clients’ (positive) information makes it to the right media outlet at the right time. They diffuse crises, compose press releases, write speeches, arrange press conferences, and can even act as the spokesperson for an organization. They use rhetoric daily to ensure that the public (audience) sees their client the way their client wishes to be seen.

Model takes his audience through major corporate crises to illustrate how PR is used today, and all of his case studies are so obviously tied to the use of rhetoric. In fact, he devotes a whole chapter to crisis management, and the information he provides is directly related to the use of rhetoric. He provides Hill & Knowlton’s () 10 “Rules of the Road” (Mogel 221) and 6 out of the 10 rules arguably deal with the appeals. Crisis management is a careful balance of ethos, pathos, and logos, and good crisis management can save (and even advance) a company.

I am proud to report that women comprise more than half of PR employees, but Mogel laments that women are not nearly as prominent in positions of leadership. Mogel cites multiple sources claiming that gender no longer plays a role in the hiring process for PR, and that there may be more qualified women than men entering the field.

If you’re interested in working in PR, you’ll need at least a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in a program that builds strong communication, writing, and analysis skills (like English, and especially Rhet/Comp). It is also extremely helpful to achieve membership in a professional organization, such as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) or the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). These organizations not only shine on a résumé, they also provide members with development and networking opportunities.

Mogel specifically addresses salary, and most data suggest that the longer you work in PR, the more you’ll make. Salary depends heavily on the location and size of the firm, but the profession allows many opportunities for advancement for the motivated worker.

This book, while choppy and a bit difficult to follow, provided me with a solid foundation of PR knowledge. I’ve been focused on marketing as a career, but the information that Mogel provided has me rethinking my options.