Author Archives: Clara Lai

Response to Grace’s review

Grace’s in her review gave me constructive advice on changing the colour tone and typeface on my page. I appreciate her attention to the of the colour tone in my header image and suggested me to use the colours in the image as the palette. As a result, I changed the main colour of the main text as reddish brown and the the colour for secondary text as green. I like the combination of these two colours.

Taking Grace’s advice, I have added the ‘Categories’ and ‘Archieves’to my other pages now. Grace’s suggested ‘classic’ as the theme of my blog. I think it is a good idea and I will definitely think through it. Changing the typeface and the font sizes are what issues that I would work on now.

Thank you for her constructive advice and please check out her amazing blog.:)


Traditional and Social Media

The speech given by David Beers pointed out the shift in the publishing industry. How the social media affect the operation of the print media.
Decades ago was the era of print media, the production of news is the job of the professional journalists who have to own the power to set the political agenda. Now, the power of voice is scattered to individuals.

I won’t disagree with the fact that “the internet blew up the newspaper” in a way that the audience is drawn to online content instead of buying a physical newspaper. Front the perspective of a staff in the traditional media, he would say it is a risk. But as a reader, I don’t see it is a risk but fostering the freedom of speech. Issues shown in the newspaper are often limited to content catering to the majority. The TV channels and newspaper produce discourses which are institutionalized and safe for sustaining the revenue. If the media can achieve the state that it doesn’t rely on corporate revenue, it would be able to be truly unbiased and free from self-censorship.

I think social media is where the counter-public can flourish. When the reportage on stories of abortion, LGBT, ethnic minorities, fashion, food is too niche for mainstream media, social media becomes an outlet where the minority can build their community and support each other. The large number of pages, apps and videos on fashion and cookery reflect the demand of these types of information, which are not common in the mainstream media.

I think the paramount problem faced by the traditional media was the high cost of production. Once you have to care about the revenue and profits, the principles and rules of generating profit have to be altered to adapt to the market economy. Whereas for social media, you gain your freedom of speech when you do not care about money. Social and traditional medias both have their opportunities and risks. It is readers’ choice on what to read.

Fake News

I was the kind of person who was easily tricked by my classmates when I was in high school. There were time they said “ There is a test today,” and I said “Oh, really?” I felt cheated as I found out they lied to me. Since then, I have become more suspicious towards things and people. It is a bit pitiful to distrust people but it is a lesson to learn to be critical and not to trust everything out there.
While my friends tricked me for fun, fake news tricked us by confusing the readers and intends to shift the the public opinion in an influential way. In a Ted talk, veteran journalist Ali Velshi discerned fake news with sponsored content, satire and editorial mistake. To him, fake news is made with an intention to look like a “real” and factual news with credibility.
A piece of fake news could sparked controversy, damages the credibility of a person which are the ugly goals behind the producers. During the US election, there was a news claiming Hillary Clinton involved in sex trafficking basement of a pizza restaurant. The news went viral and before it was identified as fake news and the pizza restaurant didn’t even have a basement. Edgar Maddison Welch, a 28-year-old man, because of the conspiracy theory, fired the restaurant to seek the truth. In the end, he found no eviedence of human trafficking for the store. The impact of this fake news is tremendous in a sense that it stirred up people’s emotion and drove people insanely firing a restaurant. Irrespective of of the intention of the producer of fake news, the article triggered a crisis to Clinton, brought harassment towards the restaurants owner which are undesirable. Fake news brings people’s integrity into a question and provokes unnecessary dependence for one’s integrity.
It would be too ideal to say I can trust in everyone around me. Likewise, it is too ideal to believe in the articles what appears on Facebook, Buzzfeed and Reddict. We should bear in mind that these webpages are user-generated social media that allows individuals spreading fake news easily with a low cost. All you need is an eye-catching subject or an controversial issue to play with. The “retweet”, “share”, “follow” and “like” buttons allow audience to react to a certain news easily. This often generates a responsive  on different social media.This creates an echoes chamber for the audience to believe in the news since being shared and forwarded overwhelming.
The consequences brought by the emergence of fake news do more harm than good to the society. Audiences are misled by the “facts” and change their perceptions because so. We should pay attention to the impact of social media in generating discourses and shaping audiences’ opinion and understanding of the world. As a blogger writing this piece to you, I am reminded of the significance of channelling credible sources with you since fake content can damage the credibility of the me.
The spread of fake content also damages the credibility of the media. A hoax that George Michael has not died came out after the reportage of his death by CNN, the New York Times and other media. The fake news confused people by making the to question about the traditional media in doing so. That means readers have to take up more effort in checking whether the information is reliable.
The good thing about the emergence of fake news is it encouraged readers to be critical about what they are reading. Instead of passively receiving the information from print and digital media. readers are required to actively surfing for multiple resources find out the “truth”. In the meantime, they are exposed to different media platforms, newspapers and TV programmes which each of them stands in a certain political spectrum, investigating the incident from different perspectives. This could be a chance for readers to reflect on their way of consuming information and see their role in being a fact checker for themselves. With fake news, it is a time for confusion, but it is a time for the emergence of clear-minded readers who have an critical eyes on what they are reading.
Meanwhile, individuals are trying to reclaim facts and journalism by themselves. Philip DeFranco, whose youtube channel earns as much as many as 1.5 million views, providing his aggregation of reportage on issues and an open-atmosphere for everyone to engage in the heated issue. In his video, he announces that he is launching Defranco Elite, a fan-funding initiative through Patreon and vowed to make the next great news networks that is independent of corporate interest. “A network that is run under my vision of it is okay to have and share opinions but let’s get the facts right first,” he said.  He claimed that he is  not hiding any existing content behind a pay wall and his success proves that individual can counter fake news with an endeavour to seek for the truth.
As an blogger, I see the importance of building my site with credibility. The public is looking for reliable information on certain issue and opinion with fair judgement. The yearn for authenticity is growing amid the booming of fake news. As a reader and a writer, the responisbility to dive in the issue is undeniable.

Velshi, Ali. (2017).How Fake News Grows in a Post-Fact World How Fake News Grows in a Post-Fact World. URL:

How to fake George Michael’s death, and other tabloid lies. Boing Boing URL:
Hsu, Spencer S. (2017) ‘Pizzagate’ gunman says he was foolish, reckless, mistaken — and sorry. The Washington Post. URL:


DeFranco, Philip. It’s Time For you To Know…(2017) URL:

Peer Review 2

I really like the layout of Grace’s blog ‘Sentiments and the Like’. The front page has a cheerful photo of her and an image of a beach with the blog title in it. For she is using uppercase letters, the tracking between the letter is wider than normal. I think it is a proper tracking and is easy to read.

The tone of the page is clear and warm which echoes to her heartwarming and personal character portraited in her About section, hoping to connect and inspire readers chasing for their dream. Just as what she said in her posts, she wants these colours remind her reader of a pleasant summer day. It works, sunshine taster! Using beige, brown, blue and black as her color palette when combines together make a warm and welcoming front page.

For the Menu, Grace used slashes to separate each page. The wide tracking between each heading makes the menu easy to read.  She may try writing a tagline for herself to showcase her personality. She explains her use of fonts in her process post and I agree with her that the typography of her blog is easy to read and clean. It may be better if she enlarge the font size of the body paragraphs a bit. The tracking could for the paragraphs can be wider as well.

One thing that I appreciate is the blog’s concept. It is not commercial, materialistic but personal. In her post ‘Dare to Dream Again’, Grace shares  songs that she grew up with, and through these songs, she links to her thoughts on childhood, school, marriage, faith, dream and LIFE. I like how she can see something bigger out of the small pieces of her life.

Under Posiel, a lot is happening. When sliding on the Posiel menu and the process posts, the title of her process posts appear. As more and more posts will be written, I am afraid the bar will be long afterwards, which maybe visually clumsy and problematic. It may be better to open a page with all categorized posts and take away the titles. When readers click inside, they will be directed to all the posts under certain a category.

With the archives and categories, different content is sorted orderly. Under Travels and Lifestyle, there is no post yet. As I realized she has categorized ‘Dare to Dream Again’ under lifestyle, I guess she can easily place the article under lifestyle through making the page as category. I look forward to her new posts and I am sure they would be inspiring.

All in all, I enjoy her blog and I look foward to her posts! Like what Grace says in her post, nothing is ever definite since anything can always be improved. She will definitely bring her audience a pleasant blog in the near future.

The Square (2017)

Directed by Ruben Östlund, the Square attempts to question art and humanity through art installations and the personal life of Christian. The Square is a social commentary that provokes audiences’ reflection upon their idea of community and care. The film begins with a ridiculous yet hilarious robbery happens to Christian, the chief curator of a contemporary art museum, and ends with his moral awakening.

“Do you want to save a human life?”
What is your response to homeless people on the street? and a woman yelling “do you want to save a human life?” on the street? I guess, like the crowd in the film, we just walk past them. We won’t look into their eyes because they are unpleasant to see. The Square is a film that you can see yourself in it. It is a long take the yelling woman with a donation forms in her hands and the multiple shots of homeless people lying on the ground that the director brings up the moral issue–are we responsible for the pain of one another?

“Do you trust people?”
The director, through another art installation, poses another moral question to his audience explicitly–“Do you trust people?”. People’s choices are shown on a machine’s screen. Arts works in the film push people to reflect on themselves, the society and propose a new vision to the world. The Square as a film is bringing its audience a new perspective on our society. The question is how to expand the square that can accommodate conscience.

All in all, The Square is a film that conveys a political message. The director leads us to see an indifferent society and through it asks its audience to make changes for a better society.

Rate: 8/10

Designing my blog

In this week lecture, I learned the importance of creating a blog that is aesthetically pleasant and easy to follow. It the the details –the font size, colors, leading, images that contribute to pleasant visual presentation.

For a decent blog, the format, tone, images have to be as consistent as possible. It is the combinations of consistent pieces that create a recognizable and distinct tone of the blog. While bloggers may use similar themes and colors, it is significant to make your blog unique so as to build up a distinct online representation. When you want readers to remember you, you have to stand out from the crowds.

After reading Rachel’s review on my blog, I adjusted the size of my image, reorganized my menus and sorted my posts, hoping to bring my audience a better reading experience. In the meantime, I am figuring out the fonts and colour palette for my blogs. Any suggestions for me? Feel free to leave your comments.

Here are some really useful tools that I learned from the lecture and would like to share with you:

Cropping and resizing images: Webresizer 

Fonts: Google font and Font Pair

Happy blogging and stay tuned!

The Idea of ‘self’

To me, the idea of ‘self’ is not singular. Self is ‘multiple’ in a sense that it changes as my roles (student, daughter, friend, employer……) change. Meanwhile, it is fluid as we behave differently in different contexts like we dress differently for different occasions.

Suler’s article points out one’s true emotions, no matter they are benign or toxic, can be easily expressed with our online identity because of dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection, dissociative imagination, minimizing authority. To a large extent, I think the online platform allows me to express the true self. Using myself as an example, the sense of ownership of having this blog drives me to produce something more “me”.

In the process, I do have to, to a certain degree, brand myself, please the audience. However, pleasing the audience doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice the self. Instead, I am trying to make my blog more reader-friendly, through crafting the sidebars and menus. I am learning to fulfill readers’ expectations at the same time retaining my voice.

Suler points out the possible benefits and risks of the disinhibitions of self. I think the online self and the real self are constantly negotiating with one another.  In“Is there a real you?”, Baggini suggests that “what you are partly doing, at least, is actually creating your true self.” In this sense, building an online self can actually change the “self”. Through sharing your opinion online, you may in the end become a more outspoken person with more confidence. Self changes as we have new experiences, memories and ambitions. The key point is to beware of how the ‘self’ changes and try to limit the toxic disinhibitions of self ‘online’. We should be considerate and respectful to ourselves and other online users when we use the internet.