Astroturfing

In order to complete the LEAP 2 project for COM 250, I worked collaboratively with Sammie Cochis. We had already met each other due to other school events which made it a lot easier to get in contact and start figuring out what we were going to do. One downside to working collaboratively and with school being hectic due to covid, was trying to find a time that worked for both of us to get together to work on the project. We eventually were able to get together, but then faced another challenge of deciding what topic to cover. We decided to use the suggestion of checking out the glossary and seeing what we both found interesting. Originally we were looking at the list independently, but then each offered up suggestions of what we each wanted to do. In the end we decided to focus on astroturfing and media trust because they were topics that were fairly new to us because of this course and wanted to learn a bit more. Once we selected our topics, I thought that we could make a powerpoint with a voice over to convey our ideas. Sammie had the much better idea of making a more vlog style presentation, where we could have a more casual conversation about the topic. I loved the idea and together we worked to write a script to discuss an astroturfing scandal. We researched astroturfing scandals and decided on a straightforward one involving a mayoral candidate from Toronto, Canada. The scandal was a perfect example of astroturfing as his public relations team had created a fake twitter account to show him support. It was very beneficial to work with a partner for this project because Sammie was able to feed me information from different articles that I could work into our script. We decided at the end that astroturfing ties in perfectly with the topic of trusting media and decided to include some tips at the end of our video to help people become more aware of the content they consume. We were able to learn more about the topics through the research we did and the articles we read and found more information that was valuable. Once the script was done, we got together to record the video and decided to add in some images and transitions to make the video more appealing. Sammie was very good with video editing, a skill I definitely am lacking in, and was able to put the final touches on the video to make it what we wanted. After completing this project I better understand how two is better than one in some circumstances when it comes to projects. We were able to communicate and collaborate efficiently in order to complete the project on time. I think we had a good amount of time to work on this project and we made the most of it given the circumstances. I think this project would be easier to complete in a normal semester because people are on campus more and I feel lucky that Sammie and I knew each other before this. It can be very difficult to meet up or collaborate with someone you have never met before. Although Sammie and I knew each other, this was the first time we had ever had a class together and I was very pleased with how well we worked together. I think this project helped me realize even more that as long as you are open minded and respectful you can work together successfully with almost anyone!

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