Author Archives: Jesse

Does this mean the end? // Essay 2

Starting a blog this semester has been interesting to say the least. It wasn’t the first time I wrote for a blog; actually, it was the first time I did it for free.

My publication is focused on visual art and storytelling. I am a hobby photographer and I love creating. Whether it be simply taking a photo or editing a photo to create a new world, I love seeing what my mind can come up with. Whenever I see other creators online talk about the behind the scenes of their adventure, process, or life I am interested in their story. This was part of the inspiration to add the story component to my blog. If I want to post about the visuals I create, then I should also tell people the stories of how they come about. The audience that I am hoping to attract is people who are interested in photography, visuals, and the stories behind them. There is an adventure photography niche on Instagram that I am a part of and that is who I am targeting. Another inspiration for my blog is that I want to be a creator, I love making the ideas and notions in my head into realities. In Debbie Chachra’s 2015 article about the privilege of people who make, she describes that creators take pride in their creation and leave their mark on society through their creations, (Chachra, 2015). Although Debbie is arguing against the importance of makers in her article, I love the idea of leaving my mark on something or even inspiring someone with a creation of mine. I don’t necessarily want to leave a trail of products behind me, but create to influence others and have a positive impact in that way. This also speaks to the value I want to provide other people with my publication. Aside from hopefully enjoying the visuals and stories, I want them to be inspired, learn something, or simply feel like they can create too.

Reflecting on this experience I have learned a lot. I have learned that I enjoy writing when it is for me, up to me, and about things that I care about. There is something freeing when you can create and not have to get it approved by your manager. I think this is the feeling that people who quit their jobs to pursue their dreams chase. I am also really vested in documenting. I like the idea of documenting life and moments so that one-day I can look back and see what I’ve done. In the Leetaru article from Forbes, he talks about how the digital world we live in forces us to always be looking forward to the future. The past is just a memory hole that we never look at, (Leetaru, 2017). I understand what he means, most people save digital files on computers, external hard drives, or on clouds and then they never see them again. But when I want to document my life, I don’t just mean take pictures and videos and save them somewhere and leave them. I want to document my life; create vlogs from video clips and blogs from my photos & stories. I want to organize these creations so they are ready to be viewed in an easily accessible archive. As much as my website could be a place for others, it can be a place for me as well.

Moving forward I want to keep this publication going. My goals going forward for this blog would be to keep posting content to it, grow an audience for it, and also keep it organized so I can use it as an archive for myself. I will continue to take photos and have stories that go with them, so having content will not be a problem for me. The challenge will come with being consistent in putting it on my blog. My second goal will be the most challenging. I want to grow an audience for this publication linked to my Instagram. In Lindsay’s article talking about Zoella’s book deal, she talks about how these grown audiences have opened up opportunities elsewhere in creators lives, (Lindsay, 2014). For Zoella, her YouTube channel led to her getting a book deal, for me I am not sure where it would lead. I would love to one day have more opportunities to travel, document, and tell stories from new and exciting places. Therefore, continuing the blog seems like an obvious choice. Instagram would be a great place to grow and flourish, but bringing that audience to my own website will be key. I own the space on my website, which is more valuable then a following on an app that I just have an account on. Investing in a publication that I own, operate, and benefit from seems like a no brainer.

Overall, this whole experiment of creating a website, writing content, and posting it for the world has been a fun ride. I have learned why I want to create and affirmed the idea that it is so freeing to create for myself. It creates a great space to document my life and also in a format that is accessible. Focusing on continuing the blog and growing it could prove fruitful but only time will tell. Anyone out there that loves to create should try just doing it for themselves every once and a while. It can be one of the most freeing activities and maybe it will pour a little life back into your soul. I know that it has for me.

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@jessefinkle


References

Chachra, D. (2015). Why I am not a maker. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/

Leetaru, K. (2017). In A digital world, are we losing sight of our undigitized past?      . Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2017/09/29/in-a-digital-world-are-we-losing-sight-of-our-undigitized-past/#37319061cd01

Lindsay, K. (2014). UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube authors are ruining the publishing industry. Retrieved from https://www.xojane.com/issues/zoella-girl-online-youtube-authors

Family Day In Vancouver

Spending time with family is important. Unfortunately I don’t always get to spend the amount of time I want to with them. Especially when they live 4 hours away. I know that isn’t a crazy amount, but it still slows the amount we get to see each other.

When my family visited us we decided to spend some time in the city exploring what Vancouver has to offer. there are lots of great sights around, but that wasn’t my main focus.

I love capturing moments and people. Pictures of buildings and landscapes are cool, but I prefer taking photos of humans because they remind me of moments more. We could all take a picture of the olympic torch (of course I took one too) and they are all the same. Sure they are creative in their own ways and are from different angles, but the personality of the torch remains. When I take pictures of humans I get to capture so much more than the way they look that day.

I love documenting moments and having them forever. It is very dad of me, but I just think it is so cool when someone can dive into their archives and pull out images or videos from milestones or significant times in their life. Casey Neistat does a really great job of this when he makes videos and that is where I got my inspiration from.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed seeing a few pictures from our time in Vancouver and getting to hear me ramble about why I take the pictures I do.

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@jessefinkle

Best Monday Night Ever

I volunteer for an organization called Young Life. It is a Christian ministry that is based out of high schools instead of churches. On Monday nights we hold a weekly event called Young Life Club. This is a night where kids can come, let loose, play games, sing, dance, enjoy some quality entertainment, and at the end of the night hear about Jesus.

Twice a year all of the high schools get together to put on a “Super Club” with 6 different high schools. This event can have upwards of 200 kids and is definitely the best way to spend a Monday night.

I was in charge of doing video and photos for the event. Something that I really enjoy doing. But trying to capture live events has its challenges. When you are shooting live events there is no telling people to go back and do that again because you didn’t get the right shot. You only have one chance to capture moments. If you miss it, then there is no do over.

This is a lot of pressure, but luckily I thrive in the pressure. Plus I have been getting lots of practice capturing these events over the past 2 years.

Community Guidelines

This blog is dedicated to sharing. It is also dedicated to being a conversation. As a creative outlet for myself, I will be posting my pictures and stories. What I would ask of you is that you would help me continue to get better. Be constructive and supportive. We are all striving to get better and I can’t grow unless I know where to grow.

Be Nice.

I would ask that you be kind when giving constructive criticism or your opinions. No one wins when hate is being thrown around and we all know that keyboard warriors love doing battle in the comments sections. There is no room for that on this blog. Here are the don’ts of this blog.

Don’ts:

  1. Use of hate speech
  2. Use of Explicit Language
  3. Use of inappropriate usernames
  4. Creating accounts for trolling/harassment purposes only
  5. Use of offensive imagery
  6. Advertising in the comments
  7. Be a douche

If you are breaking any of these community guidelines you may be put on probation or banned from participating in this blog. All reports of violations will be seriously considered and attended to by a real human. However, I do reserve the right to change these guidelines without notice. I also can enforce or not enforce these guidelines at my discretion.

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@jessefinkle

More Channels, More Problems

Being that this blog is highly connected to story, photos, and my Instagram account, it makes sense that Instagram be the main channel to focus on. For most posts in the Picture + Story section there is a photo that is posted to my Instagram account. I can then use that to point people to the blog. Using the old ‘link in bio’ call to action.

For other channels, I could leverage my Twitter and/or Facebook accounts as well. I would be more inclined to use Twitter because I have semi-branded myself on there the same as Instagram. I could become more active on there and start to develop following and engagement. There are lots of photographers who use Twitter alongside Instagram but it is definitely is a tougher platform to grow.

I would be less inclined to start promoting my blog on Facebook. I don’t want to create a page and then have to pay money to promote it because Facebook is a pay to play platform. I also don’t want to ‘brand’ my personal Facebook account because I personally find that annoying when friends start doing that and posting about their brand/website/product all of the time. I tend to unfollow/unfriend people like that.

My current plan for including more channels to market my blog would be to leverage Instagram and Twitter followings. Focus on engagement on both of those platforms and grow them organically.

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@jessefinkle

An Unexpected Pic at Surrey Lake

During the summer Leeza and I were bored one day and wanted to do something fun. We didn’t have a ton of time and wanted to go on a quick adventure. A quick google search and I discovered that there is a lake in Surrey called Surrey Lake. Having never been there before, we thought we would give it a try.

It was also at this point during the summer when the smoke from all of the forest fires was lingering and hiding the skies. I ended up bringing my camera because you never know and when I was getting shots like the one above I was kinda disappointed because behind the trees it looked so blank.

But it was this point that I had an idea. The blank sky created by the lingering smoke would make it very easy to edit the photo and swap in a more exciting background. This ended up being the start of a theme on my Instagram where I would swap in backgrounds to create composite photos.

The photo on the left is the original (obviously) and the photo on the right is the composite. The composite is actually comprised of three different layers. I took the mountains from my friend Braedins photo from Chilliwack Lake. I also took the stars from one of Braedins pictures, I can’t remember which one though. It really changed the feeling, dynamic, and mood of the picture. Looking at this composite, I see a lot of flaws and now having a couple under my belt I would know how to mend them. It is interesting to look back at it and reflect on this experience, you just never know what an impromtu adventure will bring you.

That composite ended up being the most liked photo on my Instagram feed to date which is also pretty cool.

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@jessefinkle

GLFFJFL is not a typo.

Today I will be reviewing Hillary’s website GLFFJFL which comes from the english translation on a keyboard from Korean of her name. Her blogs main content is described as revolving around K-Pop (including related music, TV shows, and beauty products). Lets dive into how this translates into hitting her target audiences.

Target Audience

Judging by her websites description, I would assume that her target audience is women who also are into Korean culture. The minimalist design of the website coupled with photos of younger looking K-Pop stars also probably means that her target audience is younger. Likely in the 30 years of age or younger. This is all of the audience targeting information I can gather from her content.

Content

On the main page there is a beautiful full screen picture of a Korean woman marking her calendar, this paired with the text “2017 K-POP RELEASES” leaves no questioning what the site is about. Scrolling down is a neat list of album covers and titles that I assume are new releases of K-Pop music. In terms of marketing to her core audience this is perfect. There has been almost no navigation to find the meat of her content. A couple suggestions, maybe add something to that initial banner that loads to tell the user to scroll down. Another thing would be to add some functionality to the album covers? Make them clickable to play a sample of a song or even open up a new tab to buy the music?

Clicking to the next content page titled K-Drama, there is a couple blog posts written. In terms of content it is good. It includes a picture of the show and a fun writeup of her experience with the show. I think that a quick recap and endorsement of the show is what her target audience would be looking for. People could scan through her posts and decide if they want to engage with the content she is describing.

Design

The aesthetic of the site is pretty minimalist as I previously mentioned. I think this is good for her target audience because it allows them to focus on the content. If Hillary is creating content that aims to help people decide on music or TV shows to watch, you don’t want people to be distracted by all this extra stuff. The recommendations will be better read and received when users can easily find what they are looking for. However, I am not a fan of how her blog posts display.

I am not a fan because it looks disorganized, especially with not every post having the same sized thumbnail if any thumbnail at all. I think that this page would be way more visually appealing and align with the minimalistic and clean design if the layout of these posts was better. Especially concerning her target audience as earlier mentioned.

For the design of this blog, I believe that the content could be better organized to improve her audiences time spent on pages. Instead of having separate pages for each content piece, if Hillary page all of her blogs in categories (such as TV shows) one scrollable page so then users could quickly scan through TV shows and move on to ones that they read and want to watch. In the Kissane article, she cites that NPR switched to this design and saw an 80% increase in page views. I believe that this could greatly benefit the GLFFJFL blog.

Final Thoughts

I think overall the design and content of the blog is heading in the right direction in terms of audience marketing. In my opinion, if she made a few tweaks to clean up design and layout then she would truly be optimizing the website. All in all, definitely a great website that has a unique audience that is easily identified which means it is designed well.

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@jessefinkle

Goodbye Internet…

One hour left of Internet 5EVER??

One hour? That’s it? without debating the how or why. I am given one last hour of internet and then everything on the internet is deleted forever. WOW.

The first thing I would do would be to start downloading pictures from Facebook that I would like to keep for my archives. Other than that, I don’t know if I would need anything else (depending on the circumstances). If there was disaster coming or something, maybe I would download maps, maybe I would download other helpful info like that. But if there was disaster like that, I would assume I would lose power and access to any digital technology anyway.

Mostly, I would miss the convenience of the internet, I would no longer be able to bank online, tweet a company my dissatisfaction, or use group chats to plan hangouts (that one might not be so bad haha). I guess I would get used to playing a lot of this game…

How many times a day do I pick up my phone?

I’m not gonna lie to you, I use my phone a lot. I’m not proud of it, but I’m honest. I use it for school, work, friends, fun, and a thousand more things. I can feel the empty space in my pocket when it isn’t in my pants. I get anxious when it get low on battery. When I am low on data and out of wifi range I feel left out. All of this considered, it might be easier to just count the time that I am not holding my phone.

Anyway, in a 24 hour period I picked up my phone 150 times. If my phone weighed more, I would have some serious arm strength (and some big pockets I guess). Apparently the average is 110 according to Daily Mail. I am above average, but that doesn’t surprise me. Especially since I would assume once everyone realized just how much they pick up their phone they knocked it a few notches down.

Reflecting on this, I am content. I mean I would like to be lower on the scale, but in the scope of things I am not that bad. I have friends who are way worse than me (the worst defence ever). But I use it for work a lot (I work in social media) so that is setting me up to fail. The other factor that didn’t help is that I actually have 2 phones, so that second phone really was a dagger. I wish I could just…

I forgot to disclude my IP address for my Google Analytics, so my numbers were a bit wonky I think. I don’t really see much traffic, which makes sense because I don’t advertise my site anywhere. It isn’t quite where I want it to be in terms of content and structure yet to open fully. Pretty much all of my traffic is from myself I am assuming or a few clicks from posiel or Gillians Blog. So no major thoughts yet. To be continued…

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@jessefinkle

Monetization and Digital Breadcrumbs

Right now, I have no ambition to monetize this website. I don’t consider myself an influencer and I don’t have a very big platform to build this website from. But borrowing from Brian Feldman’s article on NY Mag, I would rather attach myself to a company or something that has resources that I don’t. For example, I have friends that are large influencers on Instagram (let me plug my buddy @braedin again) and I could attach myself to his brand or work with him to do creative projects. I know this has little to do with my blog, but what I am getting at is I don’t feel inclined to build this website and audience with it because I could have an easier time doing it under someone else. That is not to say that I want to abandon this website, far from it. I love getting to take pictures and share stories. But I love doing it in my spare time and just as a hobby. I believe that I would enjoy this website more if it remained simply a hobby.

Looking at Google Analytics, it is quite frightening. I am always well aware that my online habits are easily looked upon by sites like Google and Amazon. Reading Suzanne Normans’s post about trying not to leave breadcrumbs for Amazon in their physical book store, I could see myself doing the same thing. I intentionally don’t click advertisement links from social feeds because I don’t want to be fed those ads everywhere I go. Remarketing is the worst of all. I look up one backpack from Vinta.co and all of the sudden I see the ads in my Facebook feed, Instagram feed, when I am on any random website, and more. It is crazy.

At the same time, it is quite efficient, I have been served ads and seen the product and thought, “wow that is great, I actually need that.” There are powerful tools out there for understanding who is looking at your content, buying your products, or even simply searching your brand. My personal opinion on data trails and digital bread crumbs is that they are extremely helpful for businesses but extremely invasive for consumers.

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@jessefinkle