Author Archives: John

Final Thoughts

Final Publishing Reflection
John Luu
Words: 810

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.

 

 

References

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.

 

Meet Corrina

Corrina is a Interactive Arts and Technology & Business student at SFU. She has 2 main personas: an obsessive foodie that is always down for adventures or a zombie that is scrambling for and suffocating from deadlines and school work. She also has passion for aesthetically-pleasing packaging and products, which then leads to her shopping a lot. If you enter Corrina’s room, you’ll probably spend hours marvelling and picking up her ever-growing collection of things and such. Her favourite drink is the classic milk tea boba. Good taste, Corrina.” 

What’s one of your greatest struggles right now?
Self-identity. I’m still in university and as an artist and content creator, finding your style is really hard because I’m currently trying out a lot of styles and techniques to see what my work means. It scares me because each work I create kind of represents who I am because I look back at my work and ask, Is this me? Is this who I want to present to others?

Tell me about a memory you had in high school.
In grade 10, my friends and I were threw a surprise birthday party for my friend at his house. I had to bake a cake and sneak it into his house. Thankfully, his brother snuck us all in. That was really fun because all of us felt genuine care about the birthday boy. We all got involved in this surprise birthday party project and it felt very accomplishing.

What was a hopeful moment in your life?
Last semester, before I came to SFU. I was studying at KPU and didn’t like what I was studying. So, after I got accepted to transfer to SFU, I was really happy and excited because I was going to do what I want and like. I felt like it things were gonna get better from there on.

What was one memorable moment, from all things good, bad, and in between, that you would never forget?
Grade 12 was a year I wouldn’t forget. My 2 best friends and I were editors for yearbook. That was really fun because it was just friends getting together and making a book. Although it was stressful now and then, that year made me realize my passion for art.

What’s one current goal you’re working on right now?
One big goal I’m still working on is being comfortable in my own skin. That’s something that I still struggle with. And learn to not care about what people think and not giving a shit about what others say about me.

What’s something you’re really proud of?
I’m very appreciative of the people around me, especially friendships that I have developed and gained throughout the years. I love how my relationships with my good friends are really close and how I’ve learned to love and care for them. 

Vegan for a Week

Why?
One reason was because of my friend’s influence. She’s vegan and it was kind of interesting to see her lifestyle in front of me. She always checked everything she ate and it seemed like a fun challenge. Another reason is that I’ve been vegetarian for a week last year and I’ve always thought about going vegan for a little bit. Finally, I’ve noticed that the past year, I’ve grown a great deal of concern for animals so it was nice to avoid eating animals. I could’ve went vegetarian again, but I decided to go all-out for the extra challenge.

First Day Impressions
It was hard the first few days because a lot of things had eggs or milk ingredients in it! Even simple foods like potato chips may contain milk. I was also out a lot so I mainly able to eat fries and smoothies and juices. Whenever I include or exclude certain foods to suit my diet, the employees would be extra careful, as if they know I’m vegan or something. So I was kinda surprised and happy about that.

Also, I love how Vancouver has a lot of accommodating dietary options! It really feels nice when you’re not restricted to only fries or salad at a restaurant. For example, one of my favourite places to eat is MEET (on Main or Gastown). It’s a vegan restaurant with a bunch of options. I love that place, even when I’m not vegan. Try the Mac n’ Chez Burger, it’s really good!

Final Days
During the final days, it wasn’t so bad. I got used to it and I knew what I can eat or not. I even learned a lot about what goes into certain foods. Ultimately, in the end, I felt like I was doing so good, like an accomplishment and I felt like I should keep going.

Concluding Thoughts
Overall, I liked the challenge. I was able to adapt and get protein from elsewhere. After the challenge, I had a piece of steak and it felt nasty to me. Chicken and dairy products was fine and I actually miss it.

Also, I was around other vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores and they were so accommodating to me! I am so blessed to have friends that are understanding. To be honest, I think I’ll go vegan for a week again next month or some time in the future.

Are you vegan? What are your dietary options? Have you tried cutting out certain foods from your diet before? How was that?

 

 

Meet Jeanelle

Jeanelle is a third-year university student, studying education. You can find her at Urban Outfitters or spending time with people she cares about. One thing that motivates her is trying to be happy at the end of the day. Her favourite drink is Pure Leaf raspberry flavoured tea. Long ago, she was deathly afraid of animals due to an incident with a dog. Fast-forward to 2017, she recently adopted a cat- Ben. Ben is a soft grey and white cat and decorated with pastel pink accents. But that’s enough about Ben, today’s about Jeanelle. 

 

What is your greatest struggle right now?
I would say it’s my time management. There’s so many adult responsibilities and it’s hard to manage all that. I think another one would be my motivation because there’s so many things things to, but also I lack motivation to do them because I dread to do them, like adult responsibilities. There’s so many bills to pay, and people to call or e-mail. All those things take so much time to do. Like even making it to class or work on time. For someone in high school, it would be super easy, but for someone out of high school, it’s a lot harder.

What is one random location that brings back memories.
We used to hang out a lot at one of my friend’s house all the time in high school. Specifically, I love his living room because I love the feeling of it. It’s so homey and feels lived in. Although he argues that he doesn’t like it because it’s camped and messy, I don’t mind because it’s like a place where you can unwind and relax. A place with no judgement and everyone can be at ease.

Describe one of your most hopeful moment in your life.
Before I got hired at Urban Outfitters, I’ve only had experience in cleaning and fast food. I was really surprised to be even hired at a retail store because they hired me that I’m a hard worker. I enjoy working there because I didn’t like the fact that fast food defined me. I got to express myself with my own style in a retail store, compared to a fast food place. There were also a chance for me to grow in areas that interests me like management, merchandising, or even corporate. It was a hopeful time because if I believed in something or worked for something really hard, then it could happen.

Describe a memory, a time you will never forget.
Senior year in high school during theatre, we developed a lot relationships between our classmates. We see them a lot so we were able to become good friends. I was able to be creative because I learned the process of directing and writing scripts for plays. It was really challenging because I learned a lot about myself and theatre. I remember being really proud because in the end, we got to see the work I’ve put into the plays, which came to life. It was cool to see my name in the handbook.

Another one was when after we graduated. We had a pool party and it was really memorable because there were so much warmth in the get-together. It was just full of love. Everybody was just happy to be there. We had food and we were swimming and socializing, and even doing homework. It was a time where nobody had a worry on their mind. It was so peaceful to just unwind and not care about anything temporarily.

 

Breitbart: A Reputable or Treacherous News Network?

By John Luu
February 28, 2017
954 words

If we, users of the Internet, were to accept everything we read online as facts, then there would be a widespread of fear and confusion. To combat this, users can use media literacy to tackle “massive information literacy problems [such as] … fake news, misinformation, disinformation, and other types of spin” (Caulfield, 2016, para. 7). Polarized news sources that are based on political perspectives can provide opportunities for Internet users to exercise their media literacy skills to determine if it is a reliable source of news or not. Breitbart is a good example of a notorious and influential right-wing conservative news outlet that is heavily producing bias content and thus have implications on youth’s political opinions.

Firstly, Breitbart news appeals to the conservative publics. Its main website allow like-minded users to contribute political news and opinion articles, which are often bias. It can also allow for the “production and circulation of discourses, … and debating and deliberating” (Fraser, 1990, pg. 57) of opinions. Breitbart provides this public with a possibility to engage and participate in commentary through its comments section. Since this site is intended for right-wings, the vast sea of comments are clearly echoes of conservatism. In figure 1 and 2, users America is Great Again and DiscusstedConservative shares their right-wing political beliefs in the comments section and their usernames plainly points out their political views as well. There are even the upvotes for these comments, which suggests that more people agree with their comments.

 

Figure 1: Article comments. Screenshot taken from www.breitbart.com

 

Figure 2: Article comments. Screenshot taken from www.breitbart.com

 

Furthermore, other comments reinforce that Breitbart has a large following of conservatives that remind us of their traditional values.

 

 

Figure 3: Article comment on traditional values. Screenshot taken from www.breitbart.com

 

Breitbart’s merchandise also blatantly illustrates their support and promotion of Republican views. Figure 4 shows of a t-shirt with a border wall logo that references Trump’s wall plans and the mug in figure 5 depicts a rhino behind a target scope, suggesting that democrats are a “scourge upon the Republic” (Breitbart Store, 2017) which points to a bias political opinion.

 

Figure 4: Border Wall Breitbart Tee Shirt. Screenshot taken from https://store.breitbart.com/collections/all-products/products/border-wall-t-shirt

 

Figure 5: Breitbart Mug. Screenshot taken from https://store.breitbart.com/collections/all-products/products/rino-hunter-jumbo-coffee-cup

 

In addition to their publics engagement through the comments section, Breitbart News Network creates sensationalized headlines that attracts attention and fear.

 

The titles of Breitbart articles is arguably sensational and misleading, which can insinuate fear amongst its audiences. For example, an article titled Report: Social Media is Driving Americans ‘Insane’ (Nash, 2017), is blaming social media as a detriment to Americans. The argument of this article is based solely on one external source (Nash, 2017), which limits the credibility of Nash’s article. Also, Breitbart News website is designed to capitalize the letters article headlines, which can project an alarmist tone to readers. Before concluding his article, he mentions that “left-wing media was largely responsible for the public distress following Trump’s win” (Nash, 2017, para. 7). Upon further investigations of Charlie Nash, the young tech reporter is found with bias opinions on Liberals and the offensive use of a gunman for his tweets on his Twitter account. With the conjunction of Nash’s online activity and opinions, is it evident that his content can be seen as bias towards a certain political ideology.

 

Figure 6: Charlie Nash’s Retweet Showcasing Dislike for Liberal Ideologies. Screenshot taken from https://twitter.com/tciccotta/status/836098983135166468

 

Figure 7: Nash’s Tweet With Use of Elliot Rodgers, Murderer and Misogynist. Screenshot taken from https://twitter.com/MrNashington/status/833495979219415040

 

Referring back to his article, he claims that social media is a problem. This can ignite fear mongering amongst Breitbart readers/visitors and may believe that social media is actually affecting Americans. These types of “fearful headlines draw people in by capitalizing on their concerns and anxieties” (Boyd, 2012a, para. 3) that can shape opinions based on insufficient or incorrect information. Overall, Nash’s contributions to Breitbart faces an ideological trap of technological determinism. As Watson (2016) explains technological determinism, it can be applied to Nash’s content which it is presented through a deterministic stance, believing that technology determines human behaviour and ignoring the “subtle investigations of use and adoption practices.” Through the use of fear as an attention-grabbing tactic, Breitbart News can influence teen opinions.

 

With the rapid rise of teens as digital natives, bias online news outlets affect teen’s political education. For teens, the networked public is their new playground for social interaction and a participatory culture of generating and posting content to be seen (Boyd, 2014b, pg. 206). Some teens even actively follow politics and transcribe their political opinions into their networked publics (Boyd, 2014b, pg. 206). However, with questionable and unreliable news source such as Breitbart on the rise, the spread of misinformation can persuade teens into misleading advocation. For example, teens may jump on the bandwagon of the ‘Men’s Rights Activism” simply because a conservative news outlet promotes it or that it appears edgy to defy ‘political correctness’ (Hadfield, 2016). With such a large following, Breitbart has no issues spreading their opinions.

 

 

Ultimately, Breitbart News is a immense and proliferating bias news sources that favours the conservative ideology, which has a negative impacts on adolescents. However, news cannot be fully objective, because there will be varying levels of bias in every news. Personally, Breitbart News is an appalling news outlet that are more anti-liberal than their proclaimed conservative stance. On the contrary, one might disagree and support Breitbart’s opinions; which by all means, their gaudy merchandise can be found and purchased through their blaring advertisement on the homepage.

 

References

Boyd, D. (2012a). The Ethics of Fear and How It Undermines an Informed Citizenry. Retrieved from http://www.poynter.org/2012/fear-undermines-an-informed-citizenry-as-media-struggles-with-attention-economy/192509/

Boyd, D. (2014b). It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Caulfield, M. (2016). Yes, Digital Literacy. But Which One? Retrieved from https://hapgood.us/2016/12/19/yes-digital-literacy-but-which-one/

Fraser, N. (1990). Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Hadfield, J. (2016). The Men’s Rights Movement: A Smart, Necessary Counterweight to Man-Hating Feminism. Retrieved from http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/08/02/mens-rights-counterweight-feminism/

Nash, C. (2017). Report: Social Media is Driving Americans ‘Insane’. Retrieved from http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/02/24/report-social-media-driving-americans-insane/

Watson, S. (2016). Toward a Constructive Technology Criticism. Retrieved from http://www.cjr.org/tow_center_reports/constructive_technology_criticism.php

 

Meet John

“John is finally a student at Simon Fraser University after two tedious years of jumping around from colleges and universities. He studies publishing and communicationy things and does not know when he’s gonna graduate, but he believes that’s part of the experience. He enjoys good food with good friends and is passionate about Starbuck’s custom iced lemonade tea: half black tea & half passion tea, with 3 classic and 3 mango syrup (sometimes with lite ice).”

One of my greatest struggle right now is trying to overcome my driving anxiety. A couple years ago, I was getting lessons for a bit and during that time, I don’t think I was ready, but I pushed myself to take the road test. And so I did, and I failed. I think I had a breakdown after that and I remember it pretty vividly. Back to present time, I’m still not comfortable with the idea of taking my driving test. Maybe it’s because I doubt my abilities or that I’m going to crash into something. I mean, I don’t mind driving, but recently, I’ve convinced myself a million reasons or excuses that I don’t need my license just yet.

One hopeful moment in my life was when I got my first part-time job. I’ve never had a proper job until my second year of university, so I’ve felt very behind and embarrassed. During the interview, I got an offer on the spot. But actually, I didn’t realize until I left. I was really excited, happy, and hopeful because I started to think: I am going to earn money, have a new routine, experience something new, and overall incorporate something new into my life.  

One thing I’m working on is trying to be a better critical thinker. I’ve noticed that when I was writing papers in university, my work wasn’t the greatest and my ideas did not seem fleshed out. Also in real life, to think on different perspectives and like not judge people not too quickly and be more gentle and understanding of others and just maybe see how other people may think. So far, I think I’m getting the groove.

I would say I’m proud of myself. I’ve had a huge issue with my self-esteem in high school and felt like the runt of the litter. I just felt like I couldn’t catch up to others, whether the amount of friends or their appearance. However, I’ve noticed that my self-esteem has been solidified to a point where I feel confident in myself and clothes and style allowed me to express myself better. I’m also more confident in my decisions and my voice. I used to hate what I sounded like, but now, I’m so content with myself, I smile a lot in the mirror.

If I could write to my grade 8 self, I would tell him to respect your parents, embrace your culture, and don’t let eurocentrism mess with your mind. Be confident with yourself, dress better, and walk the halls like you’re not afraid of anyone because honestly, high school is nothing compared to the real world. The last 2 years will be the best so just relax and have a fun time. Also, save yourself the stress and don’t take Chem 12, you won’t need it.

Photo credits: Corrina Tang