Final Publishing Reflection
Over the course of 13-weeks, I have learned the various elements of digital publication of the online self, which ranges from personal cyberinfrastructure to commentariat moderation. The development of my online self can be demonstrated through my audience, public’s engagement and design.
During the process of curating my blog, I have identified my targeted audience as mostly young women, between the ages of 17 to 25. They are interested in photography, lifestyle, and inspirational stories. To cater to my audience, I have published photography and portraits of my friends. In addition, I have also conducted interviews- asking them about their past, present, and future stories about their personal lives (whom are also students and young adults). This aims to target my audience by presenting relatable student and general life struggles to align with their current lifestyles. I aim to spark conversation, self-reflection, and self-realization through the interview questions. As my target audience read through the interview questions, they may feel prompted to answer those very questions themselves. This provides them with the opportunity to self-reflect and enables them to conceptualize how they would answer. This is implicitly addressed to my targeted audience and establishes a sense of relatability that focuses on their individuality and primes their ego. Such content is popular due to the fact that it is “addressed to strangers [targeted audience] … and the benefit in this practice is that it gives a general social relevance to private thought and life” (Warner, 2002, p. 418). Furthermore, achieving a personal or resonance with others will allow me further develop my engagement and relationship with my readers.
To further increase my engagement, I’ve used a different media channel to drive traffic to my Cyantro. Firstly, I’ve linked my blog on my main, public instagram account and made posts that encourage my followers to redirect to my blog. By incorporating a different media channel, it can increase exposure and attract new members of my audience. Social media icons are also provided on my sidebar to allow my audience to connect with me on different media platforms. Providing different outlets allows others to see more of myself and expands my branding of Cyantro. Furthermore, the inclusion of a pop-up for e-mail subscription gives readers a chance to stay updated. Consistent with my design choices, I’ve also incorporated a similar colour scheme and zany text, and placed the pop-up in the corner to make it discrete. This creates a better visual and fluidity to user experience while furthering my engagement. All the mentioned methods for engagement help increase my chances with user engagement. Duff and Hund (2015) argue that, to cultivate “a relatable persona, [it] involves interactions with audiences”. Audience interaction creates bonds where they feel invested, heard, and noticed, which can increase their interest and engagement level.
The ideal aesthetic of Cyantro is a minimalistic, clean, and comforting design. Firstly, the theme ‘Studio’ enables an unlimited sub and sub-sub heading for my menu links. This is beneficial because it enables organization between my categories and the different types of blog posts. It avoids clutter and offers clean navigation with clear indication of what each menu will bring. This simple interface will appeal to my target audience, whom are busy millennials. Furthermore, to cater to them, my storytelling and writing appears whimsical and trendy to attract their attention. The minimalistic layout highlights the crucial aspects of Cyantro: the blog posts & title, menu links, and social media widgets. The clean and simple element allows for my readers to quickly notice my content without noise and distraction. Secondly, one example of affordances on Cyantro is the use of the colour yellow to suggest that it is a link (Kaptelinin). Kaptelinin exclaims that “good design are intuitive” and once hovered over links, the colour changes to indicate that readers can click on it (pp. 44.2). This simple, yet effective design choice allows for interest (the addition of colour) and accessibility for my audience.
Prior to learning about audience, engagement, and design, I have considered publishing as a personal outlet for no other objective other than being read. Now, I have learned to efficiently and effectively publish content that caters to a specific audience through public’s engagement tactics and careful design choices. Instead of blogging about whatever we feel, I learned that it is important to give the audience what they want. This ultimately divides an unsuccessful blog from a successful blog. The future of Cyantro will contain lifestyle, adventures, and fashion, while expressing those topics through my photography. All photos will be either taken by me, or from someone else. This will allow me to develop my skills and showcase them to my viewers through blog posts. Although there may be limitations such as limited time and busy schedules, but having original photographs will show my dedication and professionalism towards my own branding of Cyantro.
Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counterpublics. In Quarterly Journal of Speech 88.4. (pp. 413-425). Retrieved from http://knowledgepublic.pbworks.com/f/warnerPubCounterP.pdf
Kaptelinin, V. Affordances. The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction. Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/book/the-encyclopedia-of-human-computer-interaction-2nd-ed/affordances
Duffy, B., & Hund, E. (2015). “Having it All” on Social Media: Entrepreneurial Femininity and Self-Branding Among Fashion Bloggers. Social Media + Society. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/doi/10.1177/2056305115604337.