Tag Archives: Assignments

Some Semester Thoughts

This semester has been not just about creating a website, but about creating an audience. I have always been inspired to create something that benefits others, because a lot of what we learn in life is that the world can be a really negative and greedy place. But I feel that if we don’t take a little time to think about ourselves as well, we won’t be able to help others. If everyone thought like this, I believe the world would be a better place to live in for sure. My blog is for those who have the same ideals. It’s for those who feel a little lost or stressed out, for those who would like to contribute to a space that isn’t trying to sell you something, and a place for others to express their stories and how they get through their lives. I particularly want to cater to those going into University, because when I started, there was an overwhelming amount of opinions about what is healthy and what isn’t. Fab diets, fat loss pills, and insane and unrealistic expectations of how you should work out and look like are huge issues. My blog reflects this with calming or goofy pictures meant to make people reflect what they do in their own lives, or even laugh. It’s a space for people to get information that isn’t from a top-down perspective. Although I haven’t started gathering comments on my website yet, I would hope to see more as I post more content. I get a lot of comments and reviews on my Facebook as well, not necessarily on the website itself, but so far I have gotten a lot of good reviews and look forward to more, with criticisms welcomed.

Personally, I was really moved by Audrey Watters article, “The Web We Need to Give Students”. This class and this article sum up what I believe University should be all about; not just education, but promoting creativity and new ideas and challenging our perspectives. I feel that University doesn’t do that as much in this day and age. It is such a traditional industry that dates back thousands of years — don’t we think we’ve gone beyond that old structure by now? We need to be challenged and driven to new ideas, and constricting us to these traditional teaching practices is stamping out creativity and drive. This class allowed the students in PUB 101 to “have control over the look and feel of their own sites, including what’s shared publicly. This means they have some say — although not complete — over their personal data, and in turn they begin to have an understanding of the technologies that underpin the Web, including how their work and their data circulate there” (Watters, 2015). As Watters (2015) says, “giving students their own digital domain is a radical act”. I call for these education industries to do the same in returning the agency to students, and in return you will have students who will be enlightened and contribute back to society with enthusiasm and passion.

I was really glad we went over online behaviours, particularly the bad ones, and because of this I was extremely interested in Whitney Philips’ article, “Let’s call ‘trolling’ what it really is”. Trolls are essentially “why we can’t have nice things online” (Philips, 2015). In an internet-driven world, I constantly worry about what my younger sisters will have to go through in their online environments. My little sister even knows the term ‘trolling’ and will use it when describing certain people even though she doesn’t have any social medias. Philips (2015) emphasizes that the term itself “implies a level of playfulness that tends to minimize their antagonistic behaviours, or at least establish a firewall between the embodied person and their digitally mediated actions”. This was a huge wake-up call for me and I am able to better position myself on the impact of people’s online behaviours, especially knowing that’s not just us being sensitive when we go against trolls; we are standing up against hate and violence. Especially violence people wouldn’t even commit or act in if they were face-to-face with the person they were ‘trolling’.

Another wake-up call for me was actually when I reflected on my online data trail. I haven’t had much filtration or thought about what I put online besides the basics, like no revealing photos of my body or me at parties, no obscene language, etc. My digital breadcrumb trail extends long and true. I thought about it this way; if I tried to run away and disappear, I am not sure I’d be able to stay ‘missing’ because I know I’m very dependent on everything I use, like my bank cards, phone, computer, etc. Although I have to admit I love anything that makes my life more convenient, it does disappoint me how much companies know about me. Like with how Suzanne Norman experienced going into the Amazon bookstore in Seattle, data is collected everywhere. I believe I’m most noticed in my online shopping, because all the advertisements online are tailored to what I’m always looking for. Maybe we have just grown accustomed to accepting a lack of privacy. Podacademy sums up the issue perfectly in one question: “Should we then as producers of data benefit from the money that we help generate or is the fact that we use these services for free suffice enough to serve as a form of payment in return for our data?”. I would have to argue yes, because what other choice do we have? If Facebook suddenly decided that it’s users had to pay a monthly fee, would I? Probably, I’m too dependent on it now. It sucks but it’s the truth. All I would be able to hope for is a different company to come along and offer a free service.

I would like to continue on the blog and see how it goes, however, especially as I move into PUB 201, I actually have a lot of inspiration to create a new blog based on the EDM industry. It is something I am truly passionate about and can possibly monetize off of, whereas with this one, I don’t think it feels proper to have a lot of ads on my blog. I also have a lot of inspiration for it so I look forward to creating that before the next semester even starts.

You can find my inspired articles here:

https://brightthemag.com/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713

http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-sections/staff-editorials/12898/trolling-stem-tech-sexism/

https://publishing.sfu.ca/2016/03/breadcrumbs-of-data/

Podacademy’s article/podcast by George Philip, Jennifer Anne Lazo, Rooham Jamali and Rudy Al Jaroodi: http://podacademy.org/podcasts/digital-breadcrumbs-our-data-trail/

Essay #2, My experience as an online publisher

My online publication is focused on my self-reflective theme, 2017~ my year of humility. In the beginning  I wasn’t  sure of what to make my online  publication about. However, I felt called  with sharing  the other virtues  that I’ve learnt  from my vices  that were tied with my lack of …

Essay 2

My blog was made for a number of reasons. For my main objective, I was interested in experimenting with different digital media’s-Twitter, Instagram and Facebook-to create new infrastructures that would lead to my blog. Most importantly, I had a fascination with the comment section. Through dialogue, I wanted to build a relationship between my readers and myself. I was interested in this relationship because it could improve my audiences understanding the writer(myself). However, I am having trouble popularizing my blog and therefore a lack of people comment on my posts. Initially, I tried to take initiatives and have friends comment on my posts, but it took a lot of my time and their time to read my posts and create them. I am currently trying to create more posts that are shorter, easier to read and humorous.

In terms of creating a better comment section, I have been interested in adding an online chat in the future. In the article, How Facebook Messenger clawed it’s way to 1 billion users, stated that Facebook messenger was created as a means to increase the productivity of online chatting. One feature that I am interested in is creating an easier way for viewers and myself to interact. Hypothetically, if I were to increase my number of followers in the future, it would not be realistic to engage in conversation with every single respondent. I began to ideate ideas on how I could make communication more productive, similar to the external Facebook Messenger app. What made Facebook messenger so successful was that “people can instantly communicate with each other without anything but a name and internet access(source).” Although I do not have the competency or money to administrate my own communication app, I can utilize instagram, twitter and facebook to act as my messenger app.

To use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook effectively, I need to first establish the conditions of my external “communication apps (CA)”. Here are the guidelines for BookRiots commentary section:

Being able to monitor the comments will be an integral component in my interventions with my public audience. To limit the number of offensive comment, I will delete any rude or insulting comments based on my standards. In terms of freedom, the public is not free to insult others as my blog is personal and subjective. I aim for followers who understand the basis of my blog, a digital platform for creating content based on my own experiences.

An issue that I stumbled upon due to the asynchronicity of the conversations, through my media platforms, is the inability to respond quickly to my audience. Asynchronicity is a communication that is an email and message board (source). Asynchronicity is problematic because its people does not communicate face to face with long durations of pauses. Emails or message boards tend to take long segmented pauses in between replies. Ideally, I would love to reply constantly with my followers, but as my crowd grows a longer gap for me to respond will increase. As a result, a disengagement with my audience is prone to happen and I may lose the audience that I desire-A supportive community that empowers each other. Although these consequences are possible, I am still interested in will continue to grow my audience. Ideally, I will be able to grow an audience with similar beliefs as myself and naturally form a supportive community without my constant interventions.

Before I can grow my audience, I have been trying to create an aesthetic for my blog that is calming and minimalistic. These aesthetical choice are decisions that I’ve chosen, hoping to attract people who are seeking content to read that is relatable. I want to create a feel-good space that looks trustable and vulnerable. I used imagery of myself segmented parts of my face and hands to depict vulnerability. At first, it seemed strange and uncomfortable to see a disfigurement of the body.

 Original header image

 New header image

I changed the header because I felt the original image did not depict my own self properly. I did not want my audience to view my blog as someone who is insecure, but as an individual who was faced with insecurities and found confidence through experiences of being a victim of harassment and depression. My new header is an image of my own art that depicts a person as a weapon. Not a weapon for harm, but an individual who can protect him/herself from a toxic world.

In conclusion, my newest feature on my blog is the story section. I wanted to use this section to speak to my audience without needing to reply to them. By creating a story, I am able to narrate my life in the form of an online book. I am planning to post a short new chapter every week that works practically with my own work schedule. I do not have a set day that I will keep posting consecutively, but I may change that as my weeks become more free or vice versa.

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.

¯\_()_/¯

@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

Parodying the ‘Authenticity’ of Online Self through the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project”

At the beginning of this course, Pub 101, I had set out to establish a space to be creative in the form of a blog and through writing. I saw this opportunity to step away from my personal life and create the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” to have fun, to be imaginative, and to play around with the idea of hiding behind a screen. The concept of anonymity has been a strong influence in my what I produce online through this blog.

As an art student and as someone who plays with the idea of parody in her artistic practice, the concept of personal blogging and vlogging (i.e. daily vloggers on YouTube) was the inspiration for taking this blog to a parodic level. Not simply as a mere parody of vlogging or blogging, but parodying the thought that people assume all content online is a true representation of a person’s life as well as the whole scope of branding an image of a famous person onto a product just for marketability and money.

Take the Zoella controversy a few years back about the rumours that her novel “Girl Online” was ghostwritten. Not focusing on the truth of the issue, but of the issue itself, this controversy raises the issue of making money and marketing to young consumers “by churning out ghostwritten stories and slapping a famous face on them,” (Lindsay, 2014). As Lindsay points out in her article UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube Authors are Ruining the Publishing Industry“when emphasis is placed on marketing and celebrity, publishing companies are supporting the name, not the writing, and consumers are buying the novelty, not the words — and this isn’t something we should be celebrating,” (Lindsay, 2014). I think this was my main issue with monetization as well. I could argue that my content could be rationalized for monetization as it is an extension of my actual practice and work and I continue to play around with parody in my art works. I could also argue that monetizing my content would be an extension of my parody or critique of selling an image. However, monetizing the content on my blog simply doesn’t appeal to me mostly because I don’t think my blog is worth anything at this point. If I were to monetize my work, I would like to do it on my own terms when I feel like my work is crafted enough that it is worth selling to the public.

As this blog was the production of parody, my audience was geared toward the people who consume blogging and vlogging and see it as an authentic representation of life. But after publishing more posts and more content, I imagined my audience to be smart enough to recognize that these ‘lies’ I’m teaching is a reflection of life in the media or life in general. At this point, I recognize that my audience is neither here nor there, rather I’m producing this content for myself and not for anyone in particular. I’ve learned something from Jesse Thorn’s 12 Point Program for Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success: 5. Be Authentic; rather than making content for an audience and tailoring my content for marketability, I’m following my passion and creating my authentic content that speaks true to the medium and the issues I play around with in my work. “Rather than defining yourself by the medium you create, define yourself by what you offer to your audience,” (Thorn, 2012). I don’t define myself as a blogger or even an artist but by the work I produce. I’m not a videographer or a vlogger, I make videos about parodies of issues I encounter in my life.

I think this is the main reason I don’t have many visuals on my blog. I know the point of this course is to publish yourself to the online world and to establish marketability towards an audience. However, in the midst of trying to be different, I got carried away with wanting my blog to reflect what the concept was about rather than marketing it to an audience. Which is why my blog is very plain. There are absolutely no visuals aside from the colours of my header title and the hover links and a few images in posts like this image that I created in this earlier post. I think this also extends to my decision to not monetize, as ads are a very visual aspect of a site, it almost takes away from the plainness of the concept, as Debbie Chachra says in Why Am I Not a Maker, “creators, rightly, take pride in creation,” (Chachra, 2015), I think this pride is expressed through not monetizing and keeping my content pure from ads and unmotivated by ad revenue.

Looking forward, I think the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” has an expiration date. But that doesn’t mean my blogging will have one. I very much enjoy blogging and have done it sparingly in the past before this course, so if I were to continue blogging, I think I would take it more seriously than this blog. Not to say that this blog wasn’t a serious commitment, but I would create a more sincere content that speaks more to myself rather than my practice. I think the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” has restricted me in posting some content that I thought was cool but didn’t fit in with the concept and so therefore, a more looser blog will allow me to experiment with my online presence more than just trying to keep in character.

 

I hope to continue making this type of content along side my personal content that I will inevitably create.

 

Sources:

Chachra, Debbie. 2015. “Why I Am Not a Maker.” The Atlantic. 23 Jan. 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/

Lindsay, Kathryn. 2014. “UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube Authors are Ruining the Publishing Industry.” xojane. 26 Dec. 2014, https://www.xojane.com/issues/zoella-girl-online-youtube-authors

Thorn, Jesse. 2012. “Make Your Thing: 12 Point Program for Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success.” Transom. 11 Apr. 2012, https://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/

Peer Review #3

By Emily C.

Emily has a good sense of style and it really shows in her blog in the way she designed her layout and the colour choices she has in her images. I think her blog really displays her interests well. I really like Emily’s photographs that she has in her blog posts and on her Instagram feed, they are very nice to look at.

The only thing I would say to this blog and to Emily is that, for the last 2 peer reviews, I’ve seen the same theme as byemilyc. I know this theme is very popular because of it’s minimalistic appearance and simplistic design. It attracts a lot of people because it is so simple and pretty, but I think it’s overused. It’s no one’s fault that this theme is popular, and I’m not saying the theme should be changed, but I think some minor changes would at least bring some originality to your blog and your personality online.

As your reader, and as someone who is interested in the arts and artistic things in general, I think the strongest point on your blog is your images. They stand out against the white background and pull all the attention. Your photographs are what attracts your readers, I would like to see more of them when I click onto the home page of your blog. I think a header image that sums up what your blog is about or what you want to present yourself as is an eye catcher and would help your readers understand at first glance what your blog is about.

I feel like your title could be improved with an image displaying your calligraphy skills. The font imitating the calligraphy wouldn’t be as strong in conveying your interest in calligraphy and art as would an image of your own calligraphy. It would also be more personal and could help to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

I really think your Instagram feed on the side is a great idea and really connects you to another outlet. I noticed your Twitter is set to private which I respect but I think the more social media you make accessible to your audience, the more connected they become to your content. A suggestion I might have is to create a separate public Twitter just for your calligraphy and your art.

Overall, I think your blog will be successful. It’s attractive and the content is creative. The posts such as “Finding My Career Path” is a good post for connecting to your audience as it includes the drawings you have done in the past and they are very good, I must say.

I do think your blog will inspire people to be more creative and to live a more fulfilled life, I certainly have felt inspired to do more. Like Michelle Phan said, “influence is the new power–if you have influence you can create a brand.” (Robehmed).

I think you did a good job, Emily! Keep up the good work!

 

Check out Emily’s blog: byemilyc

 

Sources:

Natalie Robehmed. For Many YouTube Stars, Next Step Is An Old-Fashioned Book. 2015Forbes.

The Electronic Parasite

Over the last 8 years of my life, particularly through my life in high school and University, everyone is always asking about my phone, perhaps more than I’m actually on it. Everyone wants to know what everyone is paying attention to. Attention, attention, attention. What could possibly be distracting me from whatever I’m supposed to be doing?

ATTENTION! New things require attention. News grabs attention. It is completely possible in my mind that new = notification. Because when I am notified, I am drawn to my phone like a bug to a night light. There is a habitual need to put my attention on what is demanding it and reply. What if it’s an emergency? What if it’s important? What if I miss out? That stupid red notification symbol will get me every time.

I know from myself and from friends that we open apps and our phones just to be rid of that damn notification symbol. Inhale, exhale. Notification gone. I am updated. I have been productive. Nothing is wrong. Everything is right in the world.

However, I have noticed a few abnormal habits that have developed.

Phantom vibration syndrome. Most people know what I mean by this. You SWEAR you just felt your phone vibrate and now YOU HAVE TO CHECK IT! ATTENTION! You open your phone just to see nothing there. Lots of people can testify that this is a real condition and it baffles everyone, yet, it’s harmless.

And what about the mindless checking of your phone, where you open it and do absolutely nothing except scroll through the home pages, almost searching for something to pay attention to. There’s no notifications, nothing. There was just a need to open the phone, JUST CHECK and make sure you didn’t miss anything, and then go back to whatever you were supposed to be doing. Perhaps this happens more out of boredom, rather than as flashback to when your phone vibrated.

The worst that truly bothers me is when I check Facebook and I have it open on both my phone and computer. There is no reason for this whatsoever. It normally happens when I’m in class and bored, but that incessant need to BE UPDATED as often as possible irks me.

I think you know when you’re addicted to something when these dysfunctional attention syndromes arise. But is it necessarily a big deal? Yes. I’m trying to convince the whole population to give a shit — YOUR ATTENTION IS BEING DEMANDED ALL THE TIME! They know we know how much attention we give our phones. Advertisers and corporations want your attention and your data. We know that. Now what? Well, what are you missing out on when you erratically check your phone? At what point in every moment that we did we feel the need to pay attention to our phones?

I am critical of those who claim that this is not natural. Even when individual cell phones didn’t exist, people found other ways to distract themselves in class. Reading newspapers in public, for example. Passing notes or doodling in class. When we are in stagnant situations like sitting on transit, our attention isn’t being demanded, and why go through another mindless, routine, and systematic day, accepting the lack of control we have over our lives, when instead, for a moment, we can retake that control and take back our ATTENTION by deciding what to do with it?

For classrooms, teachers should not blame the phone but instead, wonder at which point students felt the need to be distracted. Is it the way the content is being taught? Is the content engaging? If kids feel like they already know something, or that something is irrelevant, perhaps it is time we challenge them and make it relevant for them. WHY SHOULD THEY GIVE YOU THEIR ATTENTION?

I am asked yet again how often I check my phone. First, I would have to break down when I mindlessly check it, like I’ve previously described, and when I feel I am being productive. When I consider myself being productive on my phone, I am checking messages, emails, making playlists or just lists in general, creating events and schedules on my calendar. This, in my opinion, is actually constructive. I am using the phone for what it was supposed to be for; as an aid in my daily life to help me be a productive citizen, student, friend, and family member. There are mindless messages, and constructive conversations.

I dismiss any arguments and criticisms to how much time is spent on phones when it is not defined as to what is constructive and what isn’t productive time on the phone, or even social media. A lot of work revolves around social media and being available in and contributing to digital spaces. In this day and age, how could anyone’s attention NOT be diverted to check their phones once in a while when we’ve all been trained to? Repercussions from mom and dad if we didn’t text or call back in a specific amount of time. Missing out on an opportunity or event, or missing the notification about an event when something about it changed. Loss of a job if our employers didn’t receive an email fast enough. This is literally Psych 101: over the years of negative reinforcement, we have been trained to check our phones. Obviously this is dependent on age and many variables unique to everyone, but the argument is still relevant. And we are still inevitably told that everything we have been trained to do is bad and wrong.

We live in a world where our attention is battled over and equivalent to work value. So much so, we crave times we aren’t on the grid anymore. We look at vacation as a time where we aren’t obliged to look at our damn phones all the time, where notifications can’t reach us and we have agency to look at them.

Nothing comes free, something is always given up. Everything must be moderated. My suggestion to anyone who feels they check their phones too much is to simply put your phone on silent. You can change the settings so that it notifies you when you get phone calls, but not when you get texts or notifications from apps. You’d be surprised how much less you may look at your phone, because now your ATTENTION isn’t being demanded, it is being given with your own discretion.

Essay #2: Reflection on Blogging

Picture credits go to Webnode.

It’s surreal to believe that we’re already entering the month of April.

I still remember the feeling of excitement and nervousness for our first class of our publishing course. Taking publishing was something I always wanted to do, however, throughout my academic career, I always stuck to my comfort zone, choosing courses that was related to my degree, yet, subjects that I had no particular interest in.

When I finally decided to enroll in publishing, at first, I had the irrational fear that I would be disappointed or find myself not enjoying our PUB 101 course. Boy, was I wrong to think that. I loved and enjoyed every aspect of this course. I liked how each week we learned something new, in order for us to develop experience as online publishers, whether it was guest speakers, learning different tactics, be able to design on our own, etc.

Once it was established that we had to create our own site for this course, I knew I wanted my blog to be about things related to Vancouver and anything that I found to be cute. Essentially my blog became a lifestyle one, which I’m please about. When it came to design and layout, I knew the colour scheme would have to at least involve the colour pink. Previously I had an initial design that was nice, but font was barely visible, we had learned that typography and readability, was an important factor to have a successful blog. Having this in mind, I knew I wanted my theme to be girly, cute, yet inviting. Which lead me to the decision of choosing the Enamored Layout by Beautiful Dawn Designs for my blog. The design had embody what I wanted my blog to be about, plus it was simple and made it easy to navigate.

When I began to think about what type of posts to write about, I knew I wanted to incorporate my personality in some way. I did this by writing in a way that I was talking to my readers personally. I also added cute emoticons throughout the post, showing how I felt about things. I did add colour to my writing as I felt it would make my blog pop out more and personal. Furthermore, I made sure I added pictures to have the visualization for my readers.

When it came to the topic of writing my entries, I typically wrote about places in Vancouver, events or reviews of items that I bought previously. I wrote about these topics because I wanted my readers to find the value or take an interest in the places that I had visited or ate at. If they had taken something away from my posts, I felt there was a nice satisfaction to it. Since my posts and writing style were catered to females, I did imagine my audience to be young females either in high school or post-secondary, with most of them living in Vancouver or those who had an interest in Japanese culture.

After the incorporation of Google Analytics to our sites, I learned that some of my viewers were outside from Vancouver and Canada. I won’t lie, I did feel pretty proud, as the majority of my posts were more for those who lived in Vancouver. One thing that surprised me was that I had absolutely no male viewers. When I discovered this, I did contemplate if I should change my writing style or layout to attract more male viewers. However, I decided against it. I felt that if I did, I would be changing myself and my site, just for the sake to obtain more views from readers who weren’t my original targeted audience anyways. 

There is still the urgency of wanting more readers to come onto my site, however, I do have to remind myself my blog is still relatively new. I also need to work on the engagement tactics that I learned in class to attract more people onto my site.

Looking back from the very first week, until now, I learned things that I never would have. I learned the term personal cyberinfrastructure, and how that nowadays when it comes to digital world, there’s more than having a simple template, there’s more skills involved.

More so, in the beginning, I believe I wrote my posts just for the sake of filling my blog with content and for this course. Now, I find myself getting back into blogging for the sake of my own interest and as a hobby. I do remember in the beginning of this course, I felt lost in what I wanted to write about, I was teetering between having a blog solely based on food in Vancouver, or having a lifestyle blog that pertained to my interest. My T.A actually encouraged me to do both, and so I did.

This course alone, has taught me so much. I like the fact that we got to use WordPress instead, as it taught me a brand new platform. I like the fact that I was able to create my own personal site and that all the design and layout decisions were done by me. The class also taught me a significant lesson in making sure not to add too much personal information online. We learned that all things that are published online have a data trail, meaning whatever we write can be traced back to us and those who have a malicious intent can use our personal information against us.

When it comes to my blog, I feel that my personality has been shown through my posts, the layout, the design, etc., since I’m in charge of all my own decisions. Whether these decisions look good or bad to some, I’m proud to say that at least I was one the who chose these decisions alone and no one else. And knowing that, makes me happy 🙂

References

Campbell, W. (2009). A Personal Cyber Infrastructure. Educause. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure

Jamali, R., Jaroodi, R. A., Lazo, J.A., & Phillip, G.,(2016, May 6). Digital breadcrumbs: the data trail we leave behind. Pod Academy. Podcast retrieved from http://podacademy.org/podcasts/digital-breadcrumbs-our-data-trail/

Snell, S. (2016). Blog Design: Does Design Impact Your Success? Vandelay Design. Retrieved from http://www.vandelaydesign.com/impact-of-design/

 

 

Essay #2

Although I was aware of what this course was called, as well as the content it would consist of, I never really thought that I would be able to consider myself an online publisher by the end of this term. But really—that’s what I’ve been doing this whole time. In some respects, that’s what I have been...

Essay 2

I have been an online publisher since the beginning of this term, and I have been highly enjoying it. I thought of my website as a travel and lifestyle website that would include my own experiences as a guidance for people that are interested in travelling. My website also has a section that I talk about the places that I have been in Vancouver and that I liked. Since I have been in Vancouver for eight months only, I am still a tourist here. In that sense, I thought I could offer my own experiences to the fellow tourists in Vancouver. So, I think the concept of my website was relevant and interesting as it is not a travel or lifestyle website only.

Firstly, before creating my publication for the travel section, I have checked my travel journal to see where I have been and which restaurants I have visited. In that sense, journal was very helpful to me as it reminded me of important aspects of my journeys. Also, I have found all my pictures that are taken in the places that I talk about in my website because I wanted the website to be personal and interesting. As we have discussed in class previously, personal attributes contribute to the authenticity of website and it makes it much more interesting for the audience. On the other hand, I have always took pictures at the places that I have been in Vancouver and noted my experiences in order to use them for my website later on. This practice pushed me into exploring new and interesting places in Vancouver and I ended up finding very nice spots to visit. I thought that people that would be interested in my website would be young adults whose age would be between 18-30. Also, my audience can be from anywhere in the world, as long as they are interested in travelling, especially in Western Europe area. In addition, people that live in Vancouver or people that visit Vancouver can check my website in terms of having an idea about where to go in Vancouver. Therefore, I can say that my website can be appealing for the people with different backgrounds and different aims. The main thing that would unite my audience would be the interest in travelling.

Secondly, while I was creating editorial content for my website, I tried to express myself in an informal way rather than having a didactic tone. I think that is the general tendency by many bloggers “as blogging evolves as a literary form, it is generating a new and quintessentially postmodern idiom that’s enabling writers to express themselves in ways that have never been seen or understood before” (Sullivan, 2008). My subject is a fun and interesting subject, so my audience would not really want me to have a teaching tone. In that sense, I tried to express myself as I am writing to my journal, but as if I am talking to my friends. Sullivan indicates “You end up writing about yourself, since you are a relatively fixed point in this constant interaction with the ideas and facts of the exterior world. And in this sense, the historic form closest to blogs is the diary” (Sullivan, 2008). So that is why, when I was thinking about my editorial content, I thought about diary. But of course, diary is something in private whereas blog is totally public. When I have asked about my editorial style to my friends they have told me that they really liked it as it felt like I am just chatting with them. And actually that was the thing that I wanted to achieve in terms of my editorial content.

Thirdly, I paid close attention on the design of my blog as in our class we always depicted on the fact that the design of the blog is very important and it can be the determinant factor that the audience like the website instantly or leave it right away. Tractinsky (2000) also “believes that users’ aesthetic judgment of websites occurs during their first impression of the interface, and will influence subsequent actual use” (Hsu & Chuang, 2013). I tried to make my website appealing for the people that are interested in travelling. I made a research and I have found out that blue and green are the colors that evoke travels and journeys and as I love these colors and find them lively, I have implemented these colors on the basis and the background of my website. I have chosen a colorful artwork that is predominantly green and blue, and that is influenced by pointillism. And I thought that would be very convenient for my website. All the people that I have asked seem to enjoy it. Later on, I have got some criticism from a classmate, and I have tried to change the background to a more ordinary and calm version. But I did not very like it and people that are following my posts told me that the first picture was much better and that it was very in line with the website’s concept. Therefore, at the end I thought the audience’s criticism is more important as they are the ones who consume the website, and I have changed the background picture to the first one. I included many images, photos and different attributes in order to attract more audience. “A study by Forrester Research indicates that high-quality content, ease of use, speed and frequency of updating are the top four factors contributing to repeat visits (Numbers, 1999)” (Rosen & Purinton, 2004). Considering these aspects, I tried to make my website easy to navigate, direct and straightforward. I had updates frequently on the different sections of the website. And finally, I have always tried to be creative with my website content. By doing implementing these things, I hoped to attract my audience as I thought my website content and design is in line with their interests and expectations.

I believe that I am providing a creative and personal content that can be valuable as it can be used as guidance for people. Also, it consists of my own experiences and when we consider the travel sector, people always tend to learn about people’s comments rather than the facts. That is one of the reasons why TripAdvisor is a very successful website as it allows people to rate restaurants, hotels, attractions etc. “Attracting millions of global visitors on a daily basis, TripAdvisor acts as a forum for everyday travellers to air their personal opinions regarding hotel quality whilst also reading the recommendations of fellow travellers” (Jeacle & Carter, 2011). This specific feature makes the website more authentic, realistic and credible as it contains the information that people are looking for. It illustrates people’s comments and personal experiences about specific places. In that sense, TripAdvisor has inspired me since it is a very successful travel website. And when I checked my Google Analytics account, I have seen that people from different places in the world have visited my website. That made me very happy since I wanted my website to be interesting for all the young adults that are interested in travelling.

Finally, I think that I have learned so much about creating an online publication with a specific purpose and for a specific audience. I have also learned about the design of the blog and the key points to pay attention to. Overall, I think I gained an importance experience about being an online publisher. And I hope to continue to elaborate on my blog and continue to improve it with the knowledge that I have obtained.

References:

  • Hsu, C., & Chuang, M. (2013). The Relationship Between Design Factors and Affective Response in Personalized Blog Interfaces. Interacting with Computers, 26(5), 450-464. doi:10.1093/iwc/iwt045
  • Jeacle, I., & Carter, C. (2011). In TripAdvisor we trust: Rankings, calculative regimes and abstract systems. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 36(4-5), 293-309. doi:10.1016/j.aos.2011.04.002
  • Rosen, D., & Purinton, E. (2004). Website design: Viewing the web as a cognitive landscape. Journal of Business Research, 57(7), 787-794.

Peer Review #3

For my third peer review, I was assigned Ji-Yun’s blog shiksohyeda, with the focus on her marketability for her intended audience group. Being an avid music lover, Ji-Yun uses her blog to express her love of music by sharing videos of various covers and artists. In turn, there is a lot of potential for monetizing in...