Digital Literacy Despite Technology Challenges

I took digital communications simply because it is a requirement for a Communication Studies Major.  I do my best to not deal with technology and so I knew this class was going to be a challenge, but I didn’t know just how valuable it would be and how much I would learn.

Learned Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is something that prior to this course I would have described as simply the ability to use technology proficiently enough to handle at least the basics of mainstream media.  I’ve been amazed with how much more goes into the mainstream media, that you truly need to be fluent in digital literacy.

literacy map

A web of digital aspects that can be tied together; Credit: CCG Teachers Digital Literacy Project

Making my definition the ability and awareness to utilize aspects of the internet to connect various aspects of media (images, sound, and video) to tell an story that is not necessarily unique to you but available to be added and contributed to by other media users. One should also be able to utilize various methods of communication among other media users to consider oneself digitally literate.

The Evolution of My Definition

Social Media

The ways that social media truly can connect to work; Credit: E-junkie Info

My definition began to change as I was introduced to different technologies and see the connectives of the digital world.

Professionally being introduced to the professional method of blogging with WordPress, or the idea of having a FREE professional website through Wix, or potentially most importantly the different methods of making resumes and infographics. Then seeing not only in class but also through my works Twitter account the ways that social media could be adapted to a professional environment, and that there are even tools to help, like Hootsuite, persuaded me to see a more in depth idea of digital literacy.

Especially as I learned through a group project that collaboration is truly key to online success, and means there’s more to the definition than just the tools used to publicize.

What My Definition Means to Me

Group projects and technologies are two of my least favorite things; however, this class opened my eyes to the importance of both.

The group project had two major components- a podcast and video.

I felt I was able to excel at the video aspects in large part to previous history. Although working with the group enlightened me to new tricks to improve my individual video.

As for the podcast- I don’t feel like it was a terrible start though it could definitely be improved upon and more skills need to be acquired before I would say I was proficient in that. Just as I would say my skills at blog writing exist, but I’m much more successful with a personal blog then I am with a professional one. However, I’m still capable of writing for a blog, which is something that was new to me and an important skill to have even if it’s a work in progress.

Despite being a work in progress because information changes I do feel competent and  completely literate with my website.

Why A Website

My website is the most valuable thing I’ve created in this class:

Home SS

The homepage of my website; Credit: Bronwyn Frank

Creating a website was significantly more complex than I expected and put me to the test of my digital literacy. Ultimately I was glad to have a last project that had me tie everything together and showed me that as much as I’m still against technology I can be considered literate. . . at least for now.


Believing in Your Brand

Everyone has a brand, being conscious and aware of your brand is important.  There are many ways to evaluate your brand, but Nur Costa, a blogger,  provided a solid ten ways to focus on and represent your brand accurately.

Top Ten Ways to Brand


Various popular brands in the united states and around the world; Credit: Telemetry

These are the 10 ways that Costa recommends focusing your brand.

  1. “Celebrate your singularity and conduct a self-branding auditing”
    • Basically you really want to focus on how others see your for a more accurate less self critical/self confident version of yourself.
  2. “Overview Control”
    • This is better explained through a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis aka SWOT.
  3. “Do not avoid competence”
    • Basically means that you should always strive to be challenged in order to better yourself.
  4. “Find the sweet spot”
    • Look to succeed at something you love, are good at AND people want.
  5.  “Take advantage of the self-introduction power”
    • This is being able to verbally acknowledge and explain yourself.
  6. “Take advantage of the power of words”
    • Have a motto or mantra something you can stand by and explain to others.
  7. “Think big”
    • Be aware of your market and keep an eye on the big picture.
  8. “Expand your networking and visibility”
    • Share what you’re doing and accomplishing and be able to be professional at all times.
  9. “Put in action your personal branding plan”
    • Set goals and timelines have something to work towards and accomplish.
  10. “Stay relevant”
    • Keep track of what you’re doing and where you’re going.

Why Does it Matter?

Mary Kay Logo

I do love my Mary Kay and my Business opportunity that’s arisen from it; Credit: Mary Kay

I personally didn’t think much of my brand prior to this year. I’m me. I’m an individual and I’m proud of that- why did I need a way to brand. Well over the summer I got hooked on Mary Kay and by August I was my own consultant. I’m still working on becoming my MK brand and being able to run a business successfully based off my brand. There are definitely goals that I’m having to work towards and I find myself using a variety of branding ideas- including Costa’s.

Basically there’s always something to learn and new goals to meet and different ways to consider getting there, but you have to be your brand.

Science Behind Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites are an ever evolving social setting. Zizi Papacharissi and a team of other specialists delve into the connections and roles that social networking sites (SNS) showcase in their book A Networked Self.

Evolution of SNS

Social networking sites are said to start with niche audiences and then expand to a wider audience. Most SNS have a general usage purpose and a specific demographic. The demographic aspect was intriguing to me with the claim that different demographics had different SNS preferences not only that, but that political preferences and predictions could also be made.

Social media

A collage of social networking site words and images; Credit: Forensics Magazine

Who Uses SNS

After knowing that different demographics use SNS it was also important to consider why they use SNS. There are two main distinctions that most people deal with in real life. Personal/private life as well as there public/professional life.  As I’m getting older and as this blog can attest I’m beginning to utilize SNS as a way to create a public persona especially now that I have my own Mary Kay Business to market and promote. However, my primary usage is still that of a private connector to my friends and family.

Balancing Public and Private


Ven diagram explaining the overlap of public and private information within the digital world; Credit: Love Make Create

With my Mary Kay business I’m having to find where that balance of personal and public is since I used to keep my profile as secure and private as possible- for me and my closest 1,700 friends, which really wasn’t that private to start. I’ve contemplated creating a second Facebook account for the more generalized public or a page for my business as a way to separate the two spheres. Papacharissi’s excerpt allowed me to consider the closing of the gap of private and public. Especially since my co-workers are my friends and not just people I work with.  Overall it’s a balance that I don’t think has been standardized yet and that the research is considering to be evolving. The conclusion was thought provoking and explicit of things to consider with regards to interactions with SNS.

Linkage in a Linkedin Age

As a technology based generation it seems someone is always willing to offer the information that the internet is forever. Before that was the parental teaching that actions have consequences. Rarely are the rationales behind internet consequences explained to the extent of Bivins with regards to morals and ethics.

Linkage and Organizations

Bivins makes a point that I fully relate to and appreciate though I’ve never thought of in those exact terms. That is to say that “Organizations exist in an environment that is relevant to their survival.”

Org connections

A diagram demonstrating links and connectivity; Credit: Rich Allen

This may seem strange but when looking at all the connecting parts some organizations thrive in some environments while others might fail in the exact same situation.  The survival and failures are what are then explored by a variety of experts with consideration to ethics, consequences and obligations.


Obligations and Consequences

Obligations in this chapter are defined as a duty. Whereas consequences can be either issue based or ethically based and be results of obligations.  Both obligations and consequences are discussed through various philosophers and their ideals.

The positive I see of philosophers is that they can evaluate on a deeper level and come up with a range of thoughts to consider. However, I find philosophers slightly too abstract to fully consider their deepest thoughts with regards to something that ideally should be a basic concept since it’s relevant in daily life.  Thus I greatly appreciate the inclusion of “translations” such as that of T.M. Scanlon with regards to the golden rule, which I find to truly be an important principle that can be easily applied with regards to both obligation and consequences.

Conflicts of Organizations

The way conflicts were explained was where I truly saw and understood the concepts of linkage. This was where consideration had to be taken for all actions and what priorities are and to whom they benefit. Frequently every action can benefit the individual completing the action but the response of others around them and where the priorities lie based on jobs or obligations is intriguing.

According to William Ross these conflicts should be evaluated with regards to preestablished as well as recognized obligations and the ethical choices behind them.  Ultimately the ethical choice should win and be the choice made.


Though I appreciated the insights that Bivins provided and it was thought provoking I’m more concerned that the ideals within this chapter are still stuck more in the past of philosophers. It seems as though the points made support that everything should be thought out and contemplated prior to decision making. While I don’t disagree that decisions particularly conflicted decisions should be thought out I see a world of instant gratification, self importance, and quid pro quo around me.

Take it from the Professional

Learning from a variety of trainers since I was six has given me the confidence to take on training projects of my own. They all have different techniques and I’ve learned different things from all of them.

Myra Williams


Myra Williams showing her affection and bond with a pony at the barn; Credit: Myra Williams Facebook page

I began my time riding with Myra when I was six years old and I trained with her until I was eighteen and had moved to Ohio.  She runs Heads Up Riding Academy in Apex, North Carolina. She taught me the basics and has done the same for a number of other riders. At least two riders she’s trained are now training for their own barns, Blue Moon Stables and Crimson Acres.  Although I’ve never seen her use natural horsemanship tactics I’ve never seen horses more attached to a trainer. She also is always happy to share her knowledge and train her riders to train themselves. I know I would not have had the success with Dizzy, who was my first training project,  without her encouragement and assistance.

Ohio Trainers

After moving to Ohio I needed someone to continue to keep my training on track. I was riding with the Denison Equestrian team, but that was a different style of riding then I was used to. So my boarding barn owners pointed me in the direction of Windgate Farms, which was based more on the training of riders than it is the horses. Then big news arrived that Morgan Reiser Stables would be taking over training at Deep LM farms, where I was boarding. They then became Razin Arizona and I’s primary trainers.

Reiser party

The opening party of Morgan Reiser Stables at Deep LM Farm. Where both the Reiser Family and the McCutchan families are pictured with customers; Credit: Deep LM

The Reisers and the McCutchan’s are both families that have generations of Saddlebreds in their blood. The Reiser’s grew up with horses and now Tami trains her mother, her brother, and her niece. Lili McCutchan’s mother rode and thus she grew up riding and now her children also ride.  All the years of experience allow for a variety of insights ranging from technical aspects to the tricks of the trade.

Although I haven’t been able to spend much time with the Reisers’ they have made impressive amounts of progress with Razin Arizona in just the first week. I can’t wait to see what else I continue to learn from them.

South Carolina


The welcome sign at Stonefield farms; Credit: Stonefield Farm

Since moving to South Carolina, I’ve come across some fantastic horse people. Juliet McDonald who owns Stonefield Farms and breeds world champion American Saddlebreds and Hackney Ponies, such as Willie. She had Justin Silvers working for her, and he has since moved his business Silver Stables, with Juliet’s horse, to Omega farms where Gwen is the owner and a trainer with over 30 years of experience. I’ve enjoyed getting to take lessons and watch both Justin and Gwen train the show horses. Justin was also kind enough to take time from his training day to be interviewed and share his insights on the basics of horse training despite his higher expertise.

Training in Three Attempts

Horse training is an ever evolving process, but knowing the basics can get you far. The reason this blog is so important to me is that Willie will be my third attempt at training a horse/pony on my own and I wanted to make sure I kept expanding my knowledge of the basic training techniques.

My Start to Training


The first pony I trained, Dizzy, waiting to be called in his pasture; Credit Bronwyn Frank

When I was 12 I fell in love with a pony, Dizzy. A pony my trainers decided was too dangerous. It didn’t matter to me he was dangerous, and as soon as I was given the chance I began training him myself daily over summer break.

At that point I knew only what I had read and what I had picked up in my six years of riding lessons.

I started with a non Parelli natural horsemanship technique of joining up. Though I read it in the Phantom Stallion series, upon further research it was a valid technique. Almost every session I had with Dizzy started with a join up, and to this day he accepts me as the alpha and follows me around like a puppy, so I would say there is some benefit to this technique. Though the major draw back I’ve encountered is that I’m the only one that Dizzy trusts enough to cooperate with. On the contrary though I’ve never been able to successfully join up with my horse, Anchor.

Anchor AM 12

My long time partner and retired show horse, Anchor, waiting in the wash stall; Credit: Areon Mobster


Anchor, my retired show horse, is much more of an alpha than Dizzy. He doesn’t want to allow me to become the “herd leader” and refuses to actually join up with me despite the bond we have after eleven years together.  I’ve been working with the first few Parelli games as something different for him to focus on, not because he’s a training project, because the second training project was Razin Arizona.

Attempt Number Two

Training Dizzy was enough of a success for me to feel confident working with another horse. Although I did want to insure that the next project would cooperate with people other than me.  Thus when I met Razin Arizona-an nine year old who had been to over 10 training barns in two years and needed a fresh start. I figured that with now almost double the experience I’d had when starting with Dizzy I could actually accomplish enough to show Razin.

That didn’t work out for me. After two sessions a day- one natural and one traditional, five to six days a week for around six months without making progress. I decided it would be better for both of us if he went into training at Morgan Reiser Stables. They worked wonders with Razin and we’ve even been able to successfully show. Making the lesson from this project be ask for help when you need it.


After struggling with training Razin Arizona while in school I decided that I really didn’t need another training project, but when one comes along I find them hard to turn down. That’s exactly what Willie was- hard to turn down. So after 15 years in the business with successes and failures I’m trying again. Taking it slow and working through what I can focusing on the ground work and building a relationship that way before trying to train on a higher level like I did with Razin Arizona. Thus a refresher in natural horsemanship is important to me for anticipating future training success.

Blog Willie

Fidgety Willie searching for treats in the palm of my hand; Credit: Bronwyn Frank

Lights Camera Action

Putting together any project is always a process- particularly a good story.  That was the main theme of Todd Chappell and the Media Services department of the American University Library’s Video Production Primer story. Their story was also broken up into three sections:

  1. Pre-production
  2. Production
  3. Post-production

Having been fortunate enough to not only have struggled through creating videos for lower level school activities and then help cinema students during my time at Denison I’ve learned an appreciation for all the aspects of production.  Though Chappell brings up some important reminders.


I completely agree with Chappell here that this is the most challenging part of production. There’s a lot of importance placed on the story that you want to tell and then how you’re going to do it.

Scripting and planning out the film occurs during pre production. However, the hardest part about this for me is that I’ve found I get very specific ideas in my head, which is good, but they can’t always be executed the exact way I planned. The other thing is to have alternatives as to what can be used if footage doesn’t come out quite right.

Chappell does acknowledge these concerns as well as provide helpful and beneficial suggestions of:

  • Having interview questions prepared
  • Scheduling extra time for set up and clean up
  • Plan what you want to get on film
  • Always film more than you think you’ll need
    • And allow yourself time to potentially have an extra film day


The start of this section was not as useful with the discussion of different gear that could be used. However, he easily made up for that page with the variety of tips that were included regarding both audio and video.

Tips included:

  • Tripod- Always use a tripod
  • Test the camera before taking it to the actual shoot
  • When videoing an interview move the camera closer to the interviewee instead of zooming
  • Always check the backgrounds of shots
  • Similarly always check for ambient sounds that my hinder the interview but be useful if recorded separately

Post Production

Again Chappell provides a wealth of knowledge about editing technologies. Many of which are not all that useful since he just states who may be beneficial for contacting if assistance is required.  Then his tips tend to be more common sense based in this section. Though it cannot be repeated enough to give oneself an abundance of time with regards to the editing process.

Cue the Credits

My final thoughts are that the article was definitely worth the read and did have some interesting ideas and approaches to evaluate hopefully allow a smooth production… but then again there’s always Murphy’s law. Good luck!

Lights, Camera, Action

A clap board- ready for filming; Credit: Daily Digi Com

Training Through the Years

Horses have been used for centuries. I’m going to first cover the history of horses and how their jobs have evolved. Then I’m going to discuss the modern day training that is shared amongst families involved in the Saddlebred industry.

History of Horse training

New Time Collage_edited-1

War Horses, Farm assistants, and Transportation are all jobs that horses have had in the past; Collage Credit: Bronwyn Frank

Horses have long been used out of necessity in battle, farming, and transportation. The idea of horse sports evolved from work, and thus the training methods also needed to evolve.  Typically this evolution occurs as most trades do- by watching and apprenticing.  Luckily the horse industry is one you have to love to be a part of and many times trainers will gladly add another person to the barn family.  With the breed I’ve grown up with almost everyone has family in the buisness and that’s where they’ve learned thrived and are now showing.

The Saddlebred Families

For example my current trainers, Chad and Tami Reiser, all have family members still involved in the business. Tami’s mother and brother now show with us under the Morgan Reiser Banner. Chad’s brother on the other hand owns and shows under the Reiser LLC Banner. They aren’t alone. There’s also the entire Shiflet Family whose been passed down through generations of Alice and Claude Shiflet, Harrison and Suzy Shiflet, and now Matt, Grant and Taylor Shiflet.  Of course the Moore’s also have to be included. Tom Moore is possibly one of the greatest saddlebred trainers in history and is even commemorated at the American Saddlebred museum. His ex-wife, Donna Moore, was also known for her training abilities, and now this year both of their daughters, Melissa and Melinda took home top honors at the American Saddlebred World Championship Horse Show.

Collage blog

Melinda, Tom and Melissa Moore up and surrounded with the farm banners of different saddlebred families; Credit: Jamie Donaldson. Banner Credits: Farm Facebook pages

Where to learn

Just because it’s typically a family business doesn’t mean it has to be. Just this past year two of the girls I grew up training with went to one of our largest horse shows of the season working under Melissa Moore.  Two others are running their own training barns – one in New Hill and one in Chapel Hill.  All it takes is some drive and a mentor and you’re on your way to becoming a trainer*.

*A trainer is someone that receives compensation for their work, which I am not doing, I just wanted a project to love and work with.*

Green Horse- in Training

Green Horse

Green Horse

Green Horse; Credit: Turf Town

Horses have a variety of nicknames with regards to how far along they are in training. This blog is mostly about the green horse(pony) because they lack almost all training, and that’s what Willie, the pony who inspired the blog is.

After some training horses are considered green broke or broke, depending on how advanced the training gets. When the horse has seen it all they’re what we call bomb proof and ready to handle anything. Ideally you want a horse to at least be broke to the point that if anything were to ever happen to the horse (or pony) that you could handle them safely and take care of whatever emergency was happening.

Willie the green project pony that inspired this blog; Credit: Bronwyn Frank

Willie the green project pony that inspired this blog; Credit: Bronwyn Frank

The pony who inspired this blog hasn’t been handled essentially at all- making him a green pony. Thus he’s a perfect example of why training is important. I need to get him to the point that if something were to happen to him or the barn we could handle the situation safely.  I have had prior experience with horse training, but I think it’s important to review and expand on different methods to come up with a plan that will be the most effective, as well as help other new horse trainers have success with their projects.


The definition of training for this blog will involve:

Training also typically goes further to deal with the frame (body placement) of a horse as well as how they respond to riding aids and follow the standards of the discipline they are trained for. However, I want this blog to be more of a basics for anyone who is just starting to work with a green horse or pony.

Natural Horsemanship

The idea of natural horsemanship is to work with your horse as if you were another horse. Horses are herd animals and through natural horsemanship you become a member of herd-hopefully the alpha.

Within the past few decades’ natural horsemanship has emerged as the preferred way for horse owners to go about training their horse themselves. It allows the horse and owner to bond together and become a pair.

There are a number of experts that have different approaches to natural horsemanship:

They generally share similar principles and ideas.  For more detailed information their websites are included. I’m going to focus on Parelli in this particular post.


Parelli is a form of natural horsemanship that is particularly user friendly and popular. There are four levels to work through; although the first level is the basic’s and what I find applicable for initial training and have a slight background in after volunteering for Horse and Buddy, a therapeutic riding program.

The Parelli basics of horse training are found through Seven Games:

parelli pic

Founders of the Parelli technique Pat and Linda Parelli; Credit: Horse Channel

  1. Friendly
  2. Porcupine
  3. Driving
  4. Yo-Yo
  5. Circling
  6. Sideways
  7. Squeeze

The games provide a base foundation which can then be applied when working through either Parelli, natural horsemanship, or traditional training methods at an upper level.

Overall, at least the first few Parelli games will allow you and your green horse to become familiar with one another to begin working your way up into more advanced training, without causing too much stress to your horse.