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The Life of Pip: An Analysis of PUB 101

The Life of Pip: An Analysis of PUB 101

Over the past semester, I have learned so much about the blog sphere, from content creation to audience development, and in doing so, I have gained an appreciation and interest in blogging as well. It has been quite a fun learning experience, with informative lectures and in-depth tutorials. Incorporating guest lecturers with experience in publishing was a great asset to the course because it took us students one step further, rather than relying simply on experience. Hearing their experiences regarding Google Analytics, advertising, typefaces and design was very helpful when developing my own blog.

The First Step in the Creative Process
Deciding a topic to focus on for the entirety of the blog and course was not all that difficult for me. I knew immediately that I was going to incorporate Pippen, my four-year-old Golden Retriever, as I usually do with school assignments. He is by far, the most fascinating being in my life, which makes writing about him even easier. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to incorporate Pippen in some way because the content was already there, it just needed to be fleshed out.

Registering domains in the first week of class was very helpful because it gave me a strong sense of freedom over what content I was about to post. Having one’s own domain gives the user more say over their public profile and digital identity. They have more control over how their website looks and what they share publicly (Watters, 2015). It allowed me to take more time and consideration to brainstorm ideas about what I wanted my website to be about and to put thought into the name because it is, in some ways, the first impression that the consumer has with the blog.

Theme and Audience
The Life of Pip is meant to document the daily adventures of Pippen, his nightly walks, and the ultimate joy that he brings into my life. During one of the earlier process post activities, I laid out the website through the vision board activity. This helped quite a lot because it made it easier for me to visualize my ideas and thoughts about my blog, like having a page for the gallery of pictures and another for my stories of Pippen when he first came into our lives.

In addition, I wanted to make sure that the blog was lighthearted, because for me it was about letting loose of all the daily struggles of life and reading these adorable stories about a big fluffy energetic dog. The best way for me to do this was to change the post category titles like, “Pictures,” and “Pub 101,” to “Piptures,” and “Pip 101,” which I was actually advised by your son. After all, the blog was being targeted to animal lovers.

For me, it was not about looking smart or making a point to seem intellectual, it was focused on bringing the readers into Pippen’s daily life. It was for the animal-loving readers who do not have animals to hear the experiences of someone who does or for those who already have or had pets before and wanted to hear of experiences of someone with a crazily energetic dog. I did not want to target a certain age group because being an animal lover has no age restrictions. There was also no target gender either, as being an animal lover has no gender restrictions. Now that I think about it, being an animal lover has no restrictions at all.

The Public
According to Habermas (Fraser, 1990, p. 58), the public sphere is made up of people who would meet up to discuss their common interests. The imagined public of The Life of Pip are the animal-lovers and owners who got their first pets later on in their teenage years and earlier on in their adulthood, similar to myself. In my opinion, these types of readers are likely to resonate most with my content because of the possible similarity in our experiences, like the keeping up with school and managing the responsibilities of an adult, also known as “adulting.”

The real audience of my blog are those in my social network or in the social networks of people I know, who may have heard from my friends and family about the blog. They could potentially be reading my posts on the basis of supporting my endeavors, or even just reading up on some funny stuff regarding animals.

Addressing the Audience
I address my audience through my easily understandable and enthusiastic vocabulary and phrases, as well as the content, editorial layout of the featured images and posts, and the overall design of the website, like the color scheme and widget and view configurations. The overall use of easier words and chronological arrangement of the sentences makes for the story to be better understood and perceived.

Content development is not all that easy and it requires a lot of copyediting work in addition to the layout and design (Gertz, 2015). Prior to entering the blogging sphere, I thought that blogging was very easy because of how the media portrays it. It is made to look as if there is no editing and that it is straight from the mind to the page rather than all of the other key components like the integrated media, the layout ideas and the overall editing process.

When it came to developing the look of my website, I made sure that the editorial layout was minimal but impactful because as a reader, I don’t like seeing too much on the screen. By this, I mean that I did not want the pages to be cluttered with content but I also did not want for the sidebars to be empty. Throughout this entire process, I have used my own experiences as a reader to guide my website development because in addition to listening to the guest lecturers like Mauve Page, I also understand how the reader, consumer, and viewer feels because I am one myself when I choose to go on the web.

The Value
My blog gives users and readers insight into what me and my family experience with Pippen. In writing and editing this blog, I feel that I am helping other dog owners who may also be experiencing the same things. I also think that I am giving my readers the value of respect and responsibility because I talk about my own struggles with my brothers and the division of responsibilities. To me, it is a bout understanding each other’s feelings too, to ultimately view the experience from everyone’s perspective.

Google Analytics

Observing Google Analytics was a turning point for me in the course because I started to realize the importance of spreading the word about my blog especially considering how much time I have put into the content, layout, and design. I started spreading the word more and not just through text like before. It provides so much feedback regarding my audience like their location, the times at which they viewed my blog and for how long they viewed it. I found that Google Analytics proved to be such a useful tool for my blogging experience because it did all the talking for my audience so they didn’t have to.

Reflecting on the Course
Prior to this course, I thought that content creators were not deserving of a pay because they were not really doing much. However, I was very surprised because I began to see how hard they must work when they are blogging because there are so many factors in the process like editing, creating original content, remixing content, maintaining the layout, reaching out to your readers, and much more. Nonetheless, managing this cycle of work is very difficult because many of the factors depend on each other to work successfully.

Building a personal cyberinfrastructure allows users to develop a sense of self and identity throughout the digital age (Campbell, 2009). Creating my blog, posting original content and designing the layout gave me a sense of personal identity in the digital sphere. I was able to express my thoughts and feelings through this personal cyberinfrastructure that I had worked so hard to build.

I also realized how hard is to flesh out content because you have to take your overall idea and go full steam ahead. While doing the process posts, it became easier for me to understand what my blog was about, who it was intended for, my goals, and the process by which I was going to achieve them.

Goals for the Future
I hope that once my blog has more content and has a more fleshed out design and layout, that it attracts a larger audience outside of my social network. Currently, all of my readers are apart of my social network, whether they are friends, family, or co-workers. I want to expand from my network to a group of readers who are more interested in the content and not me or my interests. I want for the content to speak for itself and for the readers to keep coming back to read about Pippen.

Also, I want to work harder to make the layout more robust and better designed because I am still not fully satisfied with it at this point. This course has been a split between design and content for me, as I have spent each week working on perfecting both to the best of my ability. Although I feel that my content posting has gotten really better, I still think that the design of my website could still use some work. I edited each of the featured pictures for my original posts on Photoshop so that they all have a paw print in the bottom left corner and a frame inside the border. By doing so, I feel that I was able to add a sense of originality to the design, one that my audience could pick up on.

Once this course has ended, my primary goal is to continue posting at least once a week because this course has taught me that by sticking to a routine, I find that I keep myself in check and do not become lazy. By sticking to a weekly posting routine, I can guarantee that there is always new content on my blog, which is likely to appease my audience. The freshness of content will assure my readers that I am attentive to their needs and that whenever they check my website, there is always at least one new post.

References
Campbell, G. (2009). A Personal Cyberinfrastructure. EDUCAUSE Review,44(5), 58-59. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure.

Fraser, N. (1990). Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. Social Text, (25/26), 56-80. doi:10.2307/466240

Gertz, T. (2015, July 10). Design Machines: How to Survive in the Digital Apocalypse. Retrieved from Watters, A. (2015, July 15). The Web We Need to Give to Students. Retrieved from https://brightthemag.com/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713#.4d7j8rs6x

Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counterpublics. Quarterly Journal of Speech,88(4), 413-425. Retrieved from http://knowledgepublic.pbworks.com/f/warnerPubCounterP.pdf

Watters, A. (2015, July 15). The Web We Need to Give to Students. Retrieved from https://brightthemag.com/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713#.4d7j8rs6x

Community Guidelines for the Blog

Community guidelines are important because they dictate how the users who access your website behave and the rules by which they should abide by. I am fortunate that this blog does not deal with heavily debatable content like politics and current events, but I still think there are a few guidelines that I should set in place:

  1. No stealing any of the pictures I post on this blog – They are private and I don’t want someone passing Pippen off as their own dog. No one should be benefitting from content that is my own.
  2. No commenting about what animals are more important than others – This will just ignite a huge mess because some people like cats, some people like dogs. My blog is for ALL animal lovers.
  3. No swearing/bullying/rude language in the comments section – I will monitor the comments, delete the rude ones and then block those users.
  4. No threats – I don’t want to see this kind of stuff on a harmless dog blog, so I will just block these users.
  5. Comments on blog posts become property of The Life of Pip.

My goal overall, is to prevent any form of online abuse or harassment on my blog. I want it to be a fun place, not one where users are afraid to comment out of fear that some troll will just harass them afterwards. These 4 guidelines are important to my blog because they leave no room for negative behavior, making for a funner time and experience.

The Commentariat

The debate that we had today in class was very engaging and probably one of my favorite activities that we have done in lecture to date. Although we were split into two teams and took opposing sides of the argument, it was still great getting to hear what the class thought about commenting online and how to deal with threats. I was fortunate enough to be on a side that I personally agreed with.

In my opinion, I feel that users who choose to threaten others online should, in some way, be punished for doing so because they should be held accountable and the online community needs to see the outcome of such actions so that it deters those who are planning or currently do threaten online from doing so.

When it came time to the debate, I was very impressed by the other side’s argument because even as they were speaking, I started to think of points that they could have possibly said, like the “freedom of speech” argument and the fact that the Internet is a worldwide community so you cannot necessarily regulate certain behavior that would be regulated if it was in real life when someone from a different country would say different.

10pm on the Dot!

Dogs are smart. Dogs are loyal. There is no doubt about it. Pippen has this one very special ‘trick’ that he does that I cannot get enough of. So as many of you may have already know from reading my blog posts, I, along with my cousins take Pippen for his walk later at night.

Well…after a few weeks of doing this, Pippen picked up on it and he started scratching on/slamming open my bedroom door right at 10pm! When I say 10pm, I mean ON THE DOT! This happened quite a lot back in the day, when we would always leave at 10pm.

Recently however, my homework has kind of pushed the walk even later, around 11pm. The flexibility of walk times has kicked him off of this habit but I will say, me even quietly saying, “Lets go” will cause him to run to my room. It’s adorable.

Surveilling the Dog

Over the summer, my brother got engaged and we had a half-week-long celebration at our house. Months before, I was warned by mom that men from the local Gurdwara would be staying at our house for 3 days. Because of this, I had to give up my room and Pippen had to go stay at my cousin’s house, which is just down the block. I was happy to tag along because I was kicked out of my room and any new experience with Pippen is worth it for me.

Sleeping over at my cousin’s house was an amazing experience because I got to see Pippen feel out a new experience. It was hilarious, waking up at 4am to Pippen digging through the rug.

I made sure to set up my iPad so that it would automatically answer calls, so that I could FaceTime him from my iPhone. When me and my cousins would head over to my house, leaving Pippen home alone, I would simply call it and see what he was doing. Most times, he would be right there in front of the camera, napping. There was the odd instance where I would be shouting Pippen at my phone screen and people would be staring.

Overall, the week went by pretty fast because I didn’t have to worry about Pippen’s safety or security and he got to have his first sleepover too!

Wattpad

Today’s lecture was very interesting because I got to learn more about the importance of editing content and Wattpad, which after listening to Ashley Gardner, seems like such a great opportunity and writing outlet for aspiring authors.

Prior to the guest lecture, we participated in a group activity around editing. It definitely made me more aware of the issues that are likely to arise when not taken the proper precautions before posting content. With the online voice, it is very easy to be misunderstood so you have to choose your words carefully and you have to be aware of your audience and how they could interpret your content. I am fortunate that my blog topic isn’t really that controversial, nor do I try to make it sound like such.

I enjoyed Ashley’s lecture because although I knew about Wattpad, I didn’t know what it actually was. It sounds like such a unique idea and like Ashley said herself, some of the authors on the website don’t even want to get published anymore because they make enough money from views alone. This is an interesting point because it shows this change in book publishing. The writers are satisfied with their content being heard and being paid for it and they don’t even need for their books to be physically published. Another great part about Wattpad is that the author’s have full ownership over their content. That’s probably every writer’s biggest concern when publishing content through websites like Wattpad because you never know what the terms and services could entail. Nonetheless, today’s lecture was super informational and pretty fun to watch.

Pippen’s Cousins

I am so thankful for my two cousins, Karan and Raj, because they do so much for pippin. They go on every late night walk with me, it is not for my personal safety (well, I don’t think it is) but for Pippen’s joy. Anytime we have had to go to the vet, they have offered to come with or even to drive us there, which makes my life so much easier. Both of my brothers are really busy with school and work, which usually leaves me with most of the responsibilities like grooming, walking, and vet visits. Anytime I am angry over how much work I do for Pippen and the lack of responsibilities that they do, I cannot even be upset with them because Pippen is a blessing and I really do not want to come off as ungrateful.

Planning More Transmedia Integration

For the future, I plan on integrating more text-based social media platforms into The Life of Pip because I think that speaking to my readers from the perspective himself will be funny. Basically, what I am saying is that I want to create Pippen parody accounts where users are able to engage with my content, not necessarily for the sake of responding to each other but just reposting. I am mainly thinking of Twitter and Facebook for this, although I will still post images on all 3 platforms (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). I could potentially integrate Snapchat too but that would require more treats and spur-of-the-moment pictures.

My plan is to increase Pippen’s Instagram following so that I have a larger audience to experiment with. I feel that I need more of an audience to start with because then, there is a higher chance of my content being liked and reposted. My intention throughout all of this though, is to drive users to come to the website. I think that from Instagram, I want to start tagging the Twitter account so that the users are moving to Twitter to see that content. I already have a Facebook page for Pippen but it has absolutely no content. My goal is to get a larger audience for Twitter and Instagram so that when I do choose to post content on the Facebook page, there is already a solid audience to begin with. It’s kind of like a snake effect, collecting the followers as I go along.

I want to focus on Facebook and Twitter because they are both image and text based. They’d be great tools for me to speak to my readers because I would be able to link/attach several different types of files like pictures and links.

I like that Suzanne suggested that I try to include an automated follower greeting because I never thought of that myself and it makes so much sense because it makes the readers/followers feel like they are being acknowledged.

Peer Review #3 – Makeup Your Mind

Link: Makeup Your Mind, by JordanAnne

First Impressions
When I first arrived to JordanAnne’s website, I landed on her About page. I think that, in most cases, this would not be the best choice of landing page but in hers, it works because the overarching theme of the blog is about her experiences with makeup and her thoughts on self care too. For this reason solely, the reader needs to at least have some trust in JordanAnne and thus, it makes sense for them to get to know her first. I would say this is a good marketability choice on her part because she bridges a connection between herself and the reader immediately when they click on her URL.

Title, Slogan, and Categories
The title of her blog is very well thought out, I love how I knew immediately what she was going to be focusing on just from reading the title alone. However, I do think that the slogan seems a tad confusing: “Turning Looking Good, Into To Feeling Good.” I think what she means to say is: Turning looking good into feeling good.

When you hover over the main title, the typeface turns to a yellow, but not one that matches the JA logo. This yellow is more golden than the JA logo. I would recommend changing the hover yellow to match the JA logo because it would unite the overall theme and website design better.

     

I would advise that JordanAnne delete the “Posts” category and rename the “Categories” category to Posts. This makes more sense than what she currently has because “Posts” is such a generic title name and “Categories” is kind of just an odd name for a category.

In addition, I don’t think that she needs Self-Care Sunday to have any subcategories so she should try to get rid of the #SelfCareSunday from the categories. Although it is a necessary tag, it doesn’t need to be in the categories. Self-Care Sunday should be a single page within the categories.

I will say that I think it was very clever of JordanAnne to divide up her self-care posts from her makeup posts because her vision is all about this dichotomy between the two.

Creative Layout and Design
The colour scheme is very calculated and well decided in that I, the reader, was able to easily pick out the pink/grey floral vibes and overall theme of the website. There is however, a little too much white space which takes away from the content. I think that the blog would benefit from making the wallpaper larger and maybe adding a background image or colour to bring the readers in. With such a decisive theme, JordanAnne is able to present herself as a blogger who knows what they are about because readers are looking at such a collective idea, rather than a mess of just everything.

I like how the sidebar is set up but I do not know if the “Recent Comments” section is really a necessary part that JordanAnne needs because it just ends up crowding the sidebar section with comments that the reader may not want to see.

I would suggest making the social media icons bigger if possible because I could barely see them when I was scrolling down the page. I think it was very smart to post them though because it allows for her readers to get a better sense of who she is, away from her blog.

About
The JA logo is very nicely designed, however, there are two of them on this page. I would suggest removing one of them, preferably the one in the center because it takes away from JordanAnne herself and brings too much white space along with it.

I liked how the first sentence alone lays everything out so well that I knew exactly what was in store for me with this blog. I think that it is very important that this section was written in first-person because the readers are expecting to build a connection with a writer for a blog of such context.

I would also suggest changing “Most of all, hope…” to “Most of all, I hope…”

My Vision
I love how there is an individual page separate from the About one, about her vision for the blog/website, I wish I was smart enough to have thought of such an idea. This really goes well with her overall blog theme because her goal is to help her readers feel good while looking good and for them to get a better understanding of who she is, they can go to her About page but to get a better idea of what she wants to do and her intentions, they can go to her My Vision page.

I would suggest changing “…with one simple goal, Unapologetic happiness” to “…with one simple goal: unapologetic happiness.”

Let’s Talk
I wanted to give a heads up that this page goes nowhere, and so I would urge JordanAnne to deal with this issue first because the bond between her and her readers depends on this kind of feedback.

Self Care Sunday
Self-Care does have a hyphen in between Self and Care, however, I do not know if JordanAnne is following the dictionary’s rules, it’s honestly not that big of a deal if she is or isn’t because she isn’t spelling the word wrong. What an amazing idea though, she has done such a great job fleshing out her content so that her readers have a good understanding of what she is blogging about and who she is as a writer. This is what makes her marketability so great. She can not only promote beauty products and services on her blog, but also retreats and fun things to do and places to go because she is all about looking and feeling great.

Making it a specified day post is so smart for marketability reasons because she will see that there will be an influx of users who visit her blog on Sunday. If she continues with this smart idea, she is able to promote content to her readers with the help of brands who support her. Overall, very smart to go through with such a concept.

I don’t think that she needs to number her SCS posts because they already have date stamps which differentiates them from one another. I also don’t think that she needs to sue the same SCS logo for every post, she should try keeping it at the top of the page on the left sidebar. But if she chooses to keep them for every post, she should make sure that they are all centered and that the earlier posts have the same SCS logo as the later ones.

Final Thoughts/Conclusion
Overall, I must say how much I enjoyed reading JordanAnne’s blog because she knows who she is and what she wants out of the experience. Because of this, her marketability is so high. She is able to blog about beauty products but she doesn’t have to be limited to that because she has this whole other half of her blog which is about feeling good, she could talk about anything regarding feeling good like food, places to go, and even her own tips and suggestions. This is all in part, because of how fleshed out her content is. She has a wide variety of stuff she talks about but she isn’t that type of blogger who goes straight from left field to right, she revolves around her vision, to blog about beauty and self-care. I see her reaching mainly young adults and teenagers because of her own age and experiences but I don’t think her audience is limited to just that. She reviews beauty products which any beauty product lover can resonate with. This is what makes her so marketable. She is a chameleon in a sense, because you cannot really limit what her content is about into a single box.