Building your own blog can be very challenging. Prior to taking Pub 101, I thought being a self-publisher on social media is very straight-forward, self-explanatory, and not very challenging. I see Youtubers vlog about their lives, Instagramers take pictures, filter them, and posts them, and bloggers write about anything they want. However, throughout the course I realized there are many obstacles and challenges one will encounter when building a blog from nothing.
One of the biggest challenges of online publication was to design my blog. Thankfully, WordPress had many templates to choose from, however, I found out that a few of my classmates picked the same template. In order to differentiate my blog, I made a few design changes. Design changes were not easy to make as I had no background in CSS. I know some basic in html, however, CSS overpowers html coding which was evident in my first blog post. I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t seem to make the font size larger which I knew was not very user friendly. Some factors that helped with my design are the peer review feedbacks and tutorials. In tutorial, I was taught how to change the basics of the CSS, where to find the proper coding, and how to change specific elements of the design. Peer reviews were also helpful as I was able to get feedback from the audience and see what is working and what could be done better. Følstad, Haugstveit, Kvale and Karahasanovic (2016) discussed about the benefits of design feedback. Design feedback allows users whom are concern about their design to see what is working and get suggestions on how the design could be changed or improved (p. 421). Følstad et al. (2016) further emphasized that design feedback from users serves a valuable component to the online social platform. It provides rich insight both into how the design is received by the intended audience and find possible new directions to explore and further develop one’s design process (p. 421). Overall, as my blog develops, I believe there will be design factors that I can work on to provide an user-friendly website.
When I first started my blog, I had the idea of talking about food. It was something easy to talk about and nothing too personal. However, as I developed my blog I decided to begin to talk about my medication condition. Although it is a personal issue, I wanted to use my blog to record my journey with Acromegaly. Hollenbaugh and Everett (2013) discussed about the online disinhibition effect where anonymity on the Internet has been found to decrease inhibition and increase self-disclosure (p. 283). Suler (2004) stated that individuals act differently than they normally do in cyberspace as compared to the face-to-face world (p. 321). Individuals tend to feel less restrained, loosen up, and express themselves more freely resulting in the term the online disinhibition effect (p. 321). My online blog allows me to be somewhat anonymous and for me to speak freely and feel safe. This is also the reason why my photographs do not show my face; to maintain anonymity. Furthermore, Hollenbaugh and Everett (2013) stated that self-disclosure help build relationships and that close relationships are characterized by increasing breadth and depth (p. 283). By discussing about Acromegaly, I hope to bring awareness to the public as it is not a common disease and reach out to those whom have it. There is a lack of information about Acromegaly other than the basic symptoms and treatments and by speak about it I hope to help those with Acromegaly by providing some sort of support and educate people whom do not know about this disease.
As the semester comes to an end, I know that I will procrastinate with my blog. I plan to continue with my blog and also because I did pay for a whole year for web-hosting. I plan to blog at least once a week about food and expand my documentation of my medical journey by posting once a week/bi weekly. I wish to have enough content that I will be able to see more activity on my website. In conclusion, I’ve learned a lot by taking Pub 101 and saw a different perspective about online self-publication. I’m glad to have taken this course!
Følstad, A., Haugstveit, I. M., Kvale, K., & Karahasanovic, A. (2016). Design feedback from users through an online social platform: Benefits and limitations. Interacting With Computers, 28(4), 421-436. doi:10.1093/iwc/iwv017
Hollenbaugh, E. E., & Everett, M. K. (2013). The effects of anonymity on self‐disclosure in blogs: An application of the online disinhibition effect. Journal Of Computer-Mediated Communication, 18(3), 283-302. doi:10.1111/jcc4.12008
Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 7(3), 321-326. doi:10.1089/1094931041291295