Author Archives: Sam’s SFU Publishing 101 Blog

Blog Post #11 The (After) Life Of The Party

Nothing really to report now. It’s finals season and I’m neck deep in papers, video projects, and still full time at work. I was hired for some Pro-Am nights at Yuk Yuks at the end of the month which I am super excited for, just need to write some new material and work up the strength to re-watch my set. Hoping to finish up my posts in this course too!

Process Post #13 (Paper #2)

This semester I created an amateur personal blog for our Publishing 101 class and learned the basic “ins and outs” of WordPress templates for online content creation. While some of my classmates created blogs about food, travel or websites showcasing their musical career, I focused more on learning about online content creation and website building. My website’s content was more of a personal blog, as I found content creation to be the hardest part of the exercise itself. I felt as though I wasn’t accomplishing anything (this semester) interesting enough to have a blog about, as I go to school full time and work an average of thirty hours a week. So my audience was non-existent. That is not to say personal blogs don’t find audiences regardless. An example of this fact is comedian Mike Birbiglia. Birbiglia started as a blogger who would write about his travels and post his material online. The final result ended up with him turning the most popular stories into his first one hour stand-up special: My Secret Public Journal (Birbiglia, 2015). So it can be done. For me, I found I personally didn’t have the time this semester to do anything that would be content worthy, other than my weekly attendance in the inaugural class of Yuk Yuks University. I did manage to capture the attention of a small following. Ultimately though, the lack of time and dedication towards keeping the viewer’s interest proved the need for two important components in order to be a successful blogger: commitment and follow through on content. As a result, the most important take away for me from this course was: time management. I am excited to take more publishing courses in the future, but upon reflection, think I would excel more at the marketing and advertising aspect, so that the focus is less about the content creation and more about the message itself.

Publishing 101 provides an overall introduction to the world of publishing, especially for Communications students like me, who have no idea how to create the digital media format we have spent years studying about. Finally, a chance to do some “hands on” learning. My favourite readings included the week four reading: Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse (Gertz, 2015). I loved the way it outlined the similarities of how websites were built using the same site layout. Readings I did not like were: the week 7 reading by John Green (2013), I didn’t have an issue with the article itself, more so the fact that the link was broken and never corrected. The other reading retrieved from the website: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2017-who-replies-to-trumps-tweets/ felt as though it didn’t align with the course content. It felt as though it had been added more for the political aspect, rather than the context of the overall course content for the week.

While I found it enjoyable to work on the design on my blog, I don’t think I will continue using my blog for now. For me, it is about the commitment of the time required to be a successful blogger. This course has inspired me to pledge more personal commentary on online articles, since I have opinions to voice on social media. The websites I frequent for news and culture tend to be: Facebook and the A.V club. The only other online attachment I participate in is watching YouTube. As an online content creator, I think the medium itself is in a bit of a jumble. Facebook has lost its original message of “connection” for a few years now. Facebook used to be a place to build an online community. Participants shared images, wrote statuses, everything on the site was created by the users on your friends list, a personal newsletter from the key people in your life. Sometime in 2011, the focus began to change. Facebook became less about sharing personal updates and more about sharing content. When I go on my Facebook newsfeed now by comparison to 2011, it is mainly just people re-sharing videos and photos, I can’t tell you the last time I actually read a status update that was a personal comment and not a political statement. As a result, other websites have begun to form to recapture sharing people’s actual lived moments in time. Instagram is now the place for people to share their photos and post personal updates. Communication via Twitter is on the rise (not just socially, but academically and in the corporate world) as well (Williams, 2018).

Another website I find it hard to create content for is: YouTube. The original message of YouTube was “Broadcast Yourself” however, every two weeks it seems there is another scandal arising from Google combined with excessive demands required to participate. The way the YouTube algorithm works promotes the top viewed users approved by Google. It is no longer a social network of people sharing content, but more of a sponsored hub of creators that have the same Into/Outro/Personality. The top YouTubers’ of 2008 was a drastically different mix of contributors compared to the top YouTubers’ of today. Nowadays, YouTube is focused more on maintaining corporate relations and staying “advertiser friendly” – than letting its users find special hidden video content.  I’m not sure if it’s possible anymore for someone to create an account (out of the blue) and start posting videos, with no experience in content creation. Clearly, in today’s market there is a very visible bubble of who the algorithm picks to promote.

While I think it is important to have a digital identity, I find the people I talk to about social media, are just tired and fed up. Social media has become more of a hotbed for political propaganda and scandal, for example: Facebook’s recent Cambridge Analytica indiscretion (Wikipedia, 2018). Society appears to be leaning towards avoiding or just completely deleting their social media accounts, as the trust in these online websites has disintegrated. I believe something new is on the horizon and will stir things up in the world of online social media. We have been stuck in a digital monopoly for quite some time and it’s starting to show in the content of the websites themselves. It is ironic to me that in 2004, Facebook was initiated under a cloud of theft and fraud with Mark Zuckerberg being accused of stealing the algorithm from his dorm mates and now fourteen years later, the very same accusation in relation to data mining, may be its undoing (Carlson, 2010).

References:

Birbiglia, M. (2015). My secret public journal. Retrieved from: https://mysecretpublicjournal.blogspot.ca

Carlson, N. (2010). At last – the full story of how Facebook was founded. Business Insider. Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-facebook-was-founded-2010-3

Gertz, T. (2015). Design machines. How to survive in the digital apocalypse. Retrieved from: https://louderthanten.com/articles/story/design-machines

Green, J. (2013). On self-publishing and Amazon. Retrieved from: http://fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/post/31026577075/on-self-publishing-and-amazon

Mosendz, P. (2017). The seven types of people who tweet at Trump. Retrieved from: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2017-who-replies-to-trumps-tweets/

Wikipedia, (2018). Cambridge Analytica. Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Analytica

Williams, S. (2018). 4 ways to use Twitter for schools to increase engagement. Campus Suite. Retrieved from: https://www.campussuite.com/4-ways-use-twitter-for-schools-increase-engagement/

Blog Post #8

This week we talked about marketing and site demographics. It’s paper season so nothing really interesting has developed outside of work and school but I am starting to get paper two done early hopefully. This one is kind of a dud I apologise

Process Post #12

Process Post: Develop community guidelines for your site. Why are those the right guidelines for you? How will you implement them?

My website doesn’t really have any social aspect to it for commentary or discussion. However, I do feel that community guidelines are an important part of a website. I believe people are entitled to say what they want as long as it isn’t harmful to others, but also guidelines can be used to keep things on the topic since internet comment sections are notoriously bad at keeping on track. I think giving people upvote/downvote systems work as a way of self-moderation as people socially want to get thumbs up, as well as the community itself moderating each other to keep the discussion positive. I don’t personally use sites like Reddit that often but when I need to find information there are certain pages on Reddit for the things I’m looking up info on like bands I follow or updates on things I use like apps. (Pokemon GO’s online community is a Reddit page and all information is on their Reddit page, it is the one place to go for updates on the game since I am the last person still playing it that I know of), and the discussions are on topic and comments are sorted by most useful by the highest liked comments as voted by the community.

Process Post #11

Process Post: Create a story out of media only: a sequence of images, an audio production, a video production. Avoid using text if you can.

 

😻🍕 |   😺🍕     🐊|   😾🍕🐊 | 😿 🐊 | FIN

Not my best, but seriously this weeks lecture was good I enjoyed the little writing workshop we had. I feel like that is something that’s missing from High School to University is that transition from high school writing style to full-on APA University Academic “smart talk” its something I still struggle with as I like to write similar to my own talking style and use a lot of slang and made up phrases. I find I struggle the most with commas in essays and papers, as I either use, too, many, or not enough. I’m not sure why it was just something we never really thoroughly covered in English 12. I just remember reading Jurassic Park and watching Macbeth and somehow from that I got a B+.

Blog Post 11: The Big Bomb

Whelp… At last nights show the worst thing that can happen… happened. I bombed, I lost my footing about 2 minutes into the set and just crashed, I felt the audience turn away and just had to get off the stage. It was the worst feeling, I highly recommend never experiencing this. You feel terrible about yourself and like you wasted everyone’s time. Next week is the big show where I get paid and am being professionally filmed so its a little scary to bomb this hard so close to the end. Hopefully Thursday night I can get out there and win back my self-esteem.
Even when you suck this bad, you can’t give up though. Unless you want to work at Starbucks forever, you don’t need to make a million Crystal Ball Frappicinos to realize this isn’t where things end.

Everybody sucks (in the beginning)

Process Post #9 Analysed

This weeks lecture was all about the ins and outs of Google analytics and other sorts of algorithms. Stuff like this really makes the course feel like a CMNS course. That’s what I think I like about the Publishing program is that it feels like a technical CMNS course where we actually get to see and make physical things instead of sitting around reading about McLuhan and Marx over and over again. So it was nice to see something new! The guest lecturer was also very interesting although I felt he was trying to get us all to follow him on Twitter. But hey the course is all about self-promotion so no biggie

Process Post: What surprised you about your findings in Google Analytics? Demonstrate how it may change your online publication in concrete ways.

My results didn’t surprise me as again this is more of a personal blog so I have done little to promote it but it is nice to know how/what to do with GA for when I need it in the future!

Process Post 10: Peer Review 3 Lemons to Oranges

Peer review #3 Lemons to Oranges http://woolleyh.com/

 

First Impressions:

When I first landed on the page I was greeted by a very colorful transition intro page, sticking to the main theme of Lemons and oranges. After the colourful splash page there is a vote section for what to do when life gives you lemons with humorous responses.

 

Accessibility:

The top menu works great although a slight issue I would have is that the dark font is hard to see on the colourful header although once I scrolled down a background appeared which made the menu options visible, but other than that all links work and I tested the site on a Microsoft Surface 3 and iPhone 8+ both using the chrome browser and the website looked fine!

 

Content:

The about page is very detailed in well… About info and the random facts are again humorous, the best part of the about page for me personally was the section labeled “My Cats” as the section contains six lovely photos of cats.

The Blog page contains multiple recipes and how to tutorials, as well as a few personal posts. What’s really nice is the implemented feature to allow custom serving sizes to change the recipe to match that request.

The Gallery page contains artwork drawn by the author (I assume?) clicking on the artwork leads to a zoomed in picture one could use to save/download the image. A feature I would like would be maybe a small description or reason/description of each image. Just a little something-something to go with the image

 

Final thoughts:

This is a really cute little food blog! I really like the recipes although I feel like those and the articles marked “random” should be separated perhaps? Other than that I like the use of bright colors and opening page feels really welcoming. The only question I have is, in the beginning, it says this is a blog for transforming. Leading me to think it was going to be some emotional journey blog, with a nice colorful backdrop, but turned out to be less emotionally investing. This isn’t a bad thing but first viewers might be scared off by the thought of having to be emotionally invested as the opening text might suggest the content of the website is about. Other than that it was a great website to read and I am looking forward to seeing what else comes out of it! *****

****Correction, I thought the posts were together but I realized there was a menu on the top of the site labeled “travel” however on the bottom menu the one I used while reviewing the Travel section is not there. An easy minor fix!