Tag Archives: Assignments

Who Can We Trust in the Age of ‘Fake News’?

In the new age of social media and content production, many people are finding themselves in a black hole of information that may or may not be true. Often, the things we read online have been fabricated, been blown out of proportion, or is just clickbait. Many readers of online news consume this digital information passively and very rarely engage with the text to research more about the topic.

With technology rapidly growing every day and the fast pace of developed economies, immediacy is at the forefront of consumer culture. Consumers are conditioned to expect information presented to them at face value rather than taking the time to click through to more sites to learn more about a topic. Technology is allowing people to create and produce more creative content that hides it’s credibility through seemingly (but not) verified sources that come across as believable and real to the untrained eye. The immediacy of media is incriminating some news sources and putting their reputations at risk. People are now finding themselves unable to trust the news and are looking for multiple sources for the truth.

When we think of “Fake News” we think of Donald Trump, he is at the centre of this fake news epidemic. Let’s first take a look at the ongoing issue Donald Trump has with “Fake News” or NBC and CNN, tweeting about how dishonest these new sources are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

True that these news sources aren’t the most reputable but it’s ironic that the news source he does trust (Fox News) is even less reputable than NBC and CNN.

According to this study done by Michael W. Kearney on which news sources are and are not trusted (with Trump ranking as the fifth least trusted source) NBC and CNN rank higher as more trusted than Fox News.

But with over 40.5 million followers on Twitter, it is no surprise that some people will take this advice seriously because he is at a position of power, especially through the internet where he has the autonomy to Tweet at random his honest opinions.

Buzzfeed is listed as the second least trustworthy news source, but until recently I had never considered it as a news source at all because of its predominant entertainment value. Buzzfeed, for me was a website that consisted of personality quizzes, cat pictures and gifs representing the struggles of the female body, but this is beside the point. Buzzfeed caters to a passive viewership, it’s content is far from “news”, but it is a news source, nonetheless, that “poses a fresh challenge for traditional media companies as they battle for web users’ time and attention” (Halliday, 2013).

Obviously social media has changed how we communicate. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and others have allowed for unmediated publishing. It has generated a viewership and audience responsiveness that is immediate, thus creating a culture where information spreads like a wildfire. Social media has given people the experience and opportunity to voice their opinions or communicate with others while separating themselves from the real world in what John Suler dubs “dissociative anonymity“. This has made it easy for people to separate their actions from real life by publishing false content and passing it off as truth. With this immediacy people are conditioned to expect in the digital age of social media, these false news stories are mostly not fact checked and are shared worldwide before people have the chance to question it’s legitimacy.

New sources tend to follow this trend of immediacy as events and situations are being broadcasted in real time across the globe. People assume the things they read from these news sources are factual because of the way the news story is presented, usually with statistics, quotes, and sources (sometimes false or taken out of context) and don’t bother to ask further questions.

I think this hoax interview with ‘Jude Finisterra’ from The Yes Men impersonating a Dow Chemical Spokesperson on BBC World promising compensation for the victims of the Bhopal chemical disaster in India 20 years later is a great example of how reputable news sources can have their faults and the how immediacy of the media can be taken advantage of.

After the truth was revealed that ‘Finisterra’ who had appeared on BBC was a hoaxer and was part of the Yes Men’s stunt as part of a contemporary art agenda to “impart a significant political message through the media” (Kim, 2014), the BBC had quickly pulled the video and issued statements claiming they were victims of this elaborate hoax and that “its procedures regarding the trustworthiness of information obtained from websites would be reviewed” (Wells and Ramesh, 2004). Although we can argue it was incredibly problematic to present this piece of art in the context of reality, this incident forces consumers of news media to take a step back and question the legitimacy of the source of their information.

Many hoaxes (some not nearly as elaborate as this) have fooled a wider audience and have generated talk surrounding the situation. This reminds me of Wikipedia and it’s questionable legitimacy in the past, before editors started to crack down on verifiability, where people were allowed to edit pages and create new pages of their own free will, sparking a culture of hoax Wikipedia pages with fake sources.

As someone whose content revolves around the concept of lying and generating fake content, I have to step back and ask myself how this fits into the world of social media and the credibility of news. Am I contributing to the fake news epidemic? In some ways you could argue that yes, I am a creator of fake news and I am teaching my audience to be creators of fake news. But, the way we use this knowledge and information is ultimately up to the users who hold the information. I am merely providing the tools for creating this type of content.

Like the Yes Men, how do we justify how we use this information for the greater public? I think this is a question we all have to ask ourselves as online content creators whose credibility is important to the wider audience. Is this content being published in the context of reality or in our own public spheres online and does it affect the consumer’s lives in real life? I think this is a question of morality that we have to address within ourselves.

 

Sources:

Halliday, Josh. 2013. “11 things you need to know about Buzzfeed” The Guardian, 6 Jan. 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/jan/06/buzzfeed-social-news-open-uk

Kearney, Michael W. 2017. “Trusting News Project Report 2017.” Reynolds Journalism Institute, 25 July. 2017, https://www.rjionline.org/reporthtml.html

Kim, Adela H. 2014. “Yes Men Bhopal Legacy.” The Harvard Crimson, 5 Mar. 2014. http://www.thecrimson.com/column/the-art-of-protest/article/2014/3/5/art-of-protest-the-bhopal-legacy/

Ramesh, Randeep, and Matt Wells. 2004. “BBC reputation hit by Bhopal interview hoax.” The Guardian, 4 Dec. 2004, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2004/dec/04/india.broadcasting

razorfoundation. “Bhopal Disaster – BBC – The Yes Men.” 2007. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiWlvBro9eI

Suler, John. 2004. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html

Trump, Donald (realDonaldTrump). “I will be interviewed tonight on @FoxNews by @SeanHannity at 9pmE. Enjoy!” 11 Oct 2017. 5:32 pm. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/918227740700102657. Tweet.

Trump, Donald (realDonaldTrump). “People are just now starting to find out how dishonest and disgusting (FakeNews) @NBCNews is. Viewers beware. May be worse than even @CNN!” 12 Oct. 2017. 8:12 pm. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/918630610167529472. Tweet.

Essay 1

With the rapid growth and development of technology, there is no doubt that social media platforms continuously influence the public opinion, touching on the economic, cultural and social aspects of society. Stated from News Use Across Social Media Platforms, “two-thirds of Americans report they get at least some of their news on social media” (Shearer, 2017). Because of Facebook’s large user base, being a dominant force, it takes the lead on every other social media site as a source of news: a whopping 66% of Americans use Facebook on a daily basis (Shearer, 2017). For many, the social media site remains as an important news outlet source that has made digital communication more transparent and malleable. As a regular social media user, it is crucial to understand the impact of social media because of its creation and impact on social life.

Digital communication tools are the source of facilitating the exchange of information across platforms, resulting in the manipulation and distortion of truths. Consequently, the misinformation leads to what is known as the creation of “fake news”. False stories have been becoming hugely popular online with deceptive titles that attract the reader into believing as real news. Recently, in the last three months of the US presidential campaign, fake news outperformed real news. As a result, a blur between what is genuine and what is false is increasingly becoming harder to differentiate because in a world of easily accessible digital devices, consumers have the ability to play a role in being producers of information. The creation and circulation of public opinion affects social life on two standpoints: cultural and social. Not only does public opinion have the competency to corrupt traditional values, it can alter the audience’s perspectives. Thus, public opinion is ever-changing: it is persuaded and influenced through social media — making it more achievable, yet uncontrollable.

The distribution of fake news on Facebook carries uncontrollable and disruptive ramifications on an individual’s life. Take for example: a photoshoot to promote plastic surgery became viral when false stories began to spread quickly on Facebook, leading to a long-term consequence of a Taiwanese model, Heidi Yeh’s career. The photo shows Yeh posed in a family photo with three kids who were purposely made to appear “ugly” with small eyes and flat noses. Little did Yeh know, she would soon became a victim of a viral internet meme that put a toll on her personal life and career. False claims stated that her supposed husband in the photo sued her (his wife) for deceiving him when he discovered that she had undergone plastic surgery before they met because the image shows a lack of resemblance between the children and the parents. The Taiwanese model felt destroyed by the media, claiming she felt hesitant to continue her modelling career because of the public embarrassment. Serving as a real-life example of the uncontrollable outcomes of public opinion, as a result, the model’s job offers slowed down for three years and shattered her relationship with her then-boyfriend. Subsequently, the situation clearly got out of hand when threats to sue began to emerge.

How did the photo get distributed to become a global meme? The talent advertising agency stated the ad would be featured in newspapers and magazines by the initial cosmetic clinic only, according to Yeh (Willett, 2015). However, the agency later allowed another clinic access to the image for their website, claiming their copyright ownership and intention to promote plastic surgery in a humorous manner. When Yeh threatened to sue the cosmetic clinics, they responded by claiming that she damaged their reputation and demanded for an apology from Yeh. Soon enough, it was all over Facebook news feeds and it is because of these stories that Facebook has moved towards the implementation of algorithms to optimize users’ news feeds in order to cease the prioritization of fake news without restricting the accurate content. The attention that has caused Facebook to take action proves that public opinion is largely influential and is not taken lightly. Therefore, social media and the internet encourages and enables collaboration through the exchanging of knowledge that builds and influences societies.

Citations

B. (2014, July 18). What’s the impact of social networks on public opinion? Retrieved October 11, 2017, from https://medium.com/@behradj92/whats-the-impact-of-social-networks-on- public-opinion-fe148ce89a6

Franz, J. (2016, December 10). What’s the role of social media in the news media? Retrieved October 11, 2017, from https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-11-26/whats-role-social-media-news-media

Shearer, E., & Gottfriend, J. (2017, September 7). News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2017. Retrieved October 11, 2017, from http://www.journalism.org/2017/09/07/news- use-across-social-media-platforms-2017/

Social Media: Shaping The Way We See the World or Shaping the New World Itself? (2013, February 19). Retrieved October 11, 2017, from https://astanatimes.com/2013/02/social- media-shaping-the-way-we-see-the-world-or-shaping-the-new-world-itself/

Willett, M. (2015, November 06). A Taiwanese model said her life was ‘ruined’ after she was turned into a plastic-surgery meme. Retrieved October 11, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/taiwanese-model-plastic-surgery-meme-2015-11

You Won’t Believe How People Make Thousands of Dollars With FAKE NEWS (Not Clickbait)

I bet that title was pretty intriguing, you probably clicked on it thinking this article would teach you how to make money. Looks like you fell for the clickbait. It said not clickbait in the title? It’s 2017. We all know that if the article doesn’t have a clickbait title no one will read it. However, this post will show you what fake news is, how clickbait works, and how people make money writing fake news. Moreover, this article will prove that fake news can create real money.

Fake news, false news, or whatever you want to call it, is everywhere right now. I don’t mean to say that everything is fake news, but everyone is being made highly aware that it is out there, especially if you paid any attention to the 2016 US presidential election. But what is fake news? Well if you are Donald Trump, fake news seems to be any story that views you in a negative light. According to Penn State University’s library fake news is:

“Sources that intentionally fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports”, (Novotny, 2017).

Now this type of content is different than satire, rumour mills, and junk science but it does often use clickbait. Unfortunately for creators of fake news, clickbait titles aren’t enough to spread fake news. One of the huge ways that fake news is spread is through automated accounts or “bots,” (arXiv, 2017). This is very scary because without direct intervention from sites like Facebook and Twitter people can create thousands of these accounts and manipulate algorithms to spread their fake news. The people creating these bots are smart, they are designing them to direct the fake news tweets/posts at influential users, (arXiv, 2017). This is concerning because influential users can create real momentum if they share what the bots are feeding them. This would then result in their huge followings receiving the fake news. A real example of this is a story that ran on a website called the “Christian Times Newspaper.” It used the momentum of an idea Donald Trump mentioned when he said he was afraid the election would be rigged for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 US Presidential election. The website then ran a fake story about how tens of thousands of fake Hillary Clinton ballets were found in a house in Columbus. This story reached approximately six million people, (Berman, 2017). This is an example of the scary power fake news holds. In sum, fake news is created; it is shared by bot accounts on social media, and then is shared to a plethora of influential users that create real buzz around the articles. This is how fake news is spread.

The big question is how do people make money from spreading fake news? Two ways that fake news websites make money are through advertising networks and posting sponsored content, (Gillin, 2017). Firstly, looking at advertising networks, people can connect their websites to third party advertisers who will pay the user a fraction of a cent per click, (Gillin, 2017). Obviously a fraction of a cent is not much money, but if you multiply that by hundreds of thousands of times people can make some serious money. Secondly, people use sponsored content to make money for their websites. This method works similarly to the first method. Instead it uses advertisements that are designed to look like real articles, (Gillin, 2017). For example, if you see a post titled something like, “this new soap will blow your mind,” and then you click it to read information about some soap product and want to buy it. That is sponsored content. Adding to the example above about the fake news that there were tens of thousands of fake Hillary ballots ready to be used in the 2016 US Presidential election, the man who created that website made roughly $22,000 from that post and other various hoaxes. Not only that, but his website at one point was worth $125,000, (Berman, 2017). To sum up, people have been able to monetize their fake news websites to make real money from advertising in the form of advertising networks and sponsored content.

In conclusion, fake news is apparent and is being spread to us like wildfire. The use of clickbait and automated social media accounts to spread it has significantly affected people’s lives. People have been able to set up fake websites, write fake news, and monetize that content to make actual money. The era of fake news has hit us hard since the 2016 US Presidential election and is unlikely to be curbed until major changes continue to be made by the social platforms that share it. Now you know that fake news can make real money.

References

arXiv. (2017). First evidence that social bots play a major role in spreading fake news. Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608561/first-evidence-that-social-bots-play-a-major-role-in-spreading-fake-news/

Berman, N. (2017). The victims of fake news. Columbia Journalism Review, 56(2), 60-67. Retrieved from http://proxy.lib.sfu.ca/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ufh&AN=125432045&site=ehost-live

Gillin, J. (2017). The more outrageous, the better: How clickbait ads make money for fake news sites. Retrieved from http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/article/2017/oct/04/more-outrageous-better-how-clickbait-ads-make-mone/

Novotny, E. (2017). “Fake” news. Retrieved from http://guides.libraries.psu.edu.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/fakenews

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle

News and Social Media; Where We Are Today and What It Means For Us

According to Galen Stocking of the Pew Research Center, “roughly nine-in-ten adults (93%) ever get news online (either via mobile or desktop)”.

Mitchell et al’s (2013) survey “provides evidence that Facebook exposes some people to news who otherwise might not get it”. Facebook is usually turned to as a source for immediate and breaking news, but there are consequences for turning to this social media platform in ways people may not be thinking about. Whether we like it or not, Facebook is one of the main purveyors of news information in the digital age of today. Even if people don’t depend on Facebook as a news source, it is usually the first thing people look at in the morning and the last thing they look at at night. With the amount of fake news circulating through social media, especially through the 2016 election, it is easy to see why readers may be mislead or have feelings of distrust towards what is online and in our news. It can also be frustrating with those who produce newsworthy content, as they are battling with ‘trolls’ and people distributing false information. The responsibility to improve this issue lies not just with readers and social media users, but the platforms and media this occurs on.

What does one do when the very President of the United States can redefine truth and hard evidence as “alternative fact”? This threatens the very ideologies of democracy, as Farhad Manjoo and his colleague, Thomas B. Edsall, of The New York Times report, (which can be found here http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/03/29/the-future-of-free-speech-trolls-anonymity-and-fake-news-online/). It leads to those readers, who find this absolutely ridiculous, to take on the responsibility of finding their own factual sources. Regardless, a May 2016 study with Pew Research Centre showed “62% of Americans get their news from social media” (Rainie, Anderson, Albright, (2017). Whether it’s fair or not for citizens to have to fight for hard, scientific evidence no longer matters. Users must be aware to what extent their news on Facebook is being manipulated and curated every day. Nunez (2016) writes that “Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential ‘trending’ news section”. Those readers who depend on just social media as their news source are getting their news from news curators, who, as Nunez (2016) continues to describe, are people instructed to “artificially ‘inject’ selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion — or in some cases weren’t trending at all”. In other words, the information people are getting from platforms such as Facebook are filtered and imposed on users. It is disturbing to think that all of society’s eggs are in the basket of one organization, who obviously denies all allegations of bias, and who can determine what stories people are reading whenever they feel like it. Facebook: if you can create algorithms that produce trending topics naturally, then have a team of curators to artificially inject stories into the media despite these computerized algorithms, you can hire a team to filter the algorithms you apparently now use to filter fake news.

How do news organizations battle this? Already, news organizations do not have a lot of funds, and the Internet, combined with this “post-fact” age, is calling for a complete reorganization of the news industry. Gottfried and Shearer (2017), who analyzed data from not even a year ago, reported that “43% of Americans report often getting news online, just 7 percentage points lower than the 50% who often get news on television”, particularly because older Americans are now turning more and more to online news. In fact, upon further investigation, this population is driven by Americans who are “older, less educated, and nonwhite”. More on Gottfried and Shearer’s research on who’s getting what from what social media platforms can be found here; http://www.journalism.org/2017/09/07/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2017/, but needless to say, the population must rely on multiple sources nowadays in order to trust and understand what is going on in the world.

News organizations are not just battling the digital age, but users themselves; those who are defined as ‘trolls’ are characterized by online behaviour that can include, but not limited to, “profanity and name-calling to personal attacks, sexual harassment or hate speech” (Cheng, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, Bernstein, 2017). The rise of the troll was inevitable; “anonymity, a key affordance of the early internet, is an element that many in this canvassing attributed to enabling bad behaviour and facilitating ‘uncivil discourse’ in shared online spats” (Raine, Anderson, Albright, 2017). Rainie, Anderson, and Albright (2017) also found that “scholars provided evidence showing that social bots were implemented in acts aimed at disrupting the 2016 U.S. presidential election… news organizations documented how foreign trolls bombarded U.S. social media with fake news.” But trolls are not just foreign, they can be anyone from a sociopath to just the average Joe waking up on the wrong side of the bed, as Cheng, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, and Bernstein’s 2017 research shows. For more information on the two key factors that lead ‘ordinary’ people to troll, visit their research at http://www.businessinsider.com/find-out-why-any-of-us-are-capable-of-trolling-2017-3. These trolls are not exercising their freedom of speech, but rather participating in removing the entire country of democratic freedoms and misinforming the public.

Where does this leave us now? Cheng, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, and Bernstein (2017) claim we can fight back against trolls through machine learning algorithms, create social interventions, prioritize constructive comments over trolling comments, etc. Moreover, we need to demand more action from platforms such as Google and Facebook to take proper steps in being democratic platforms for news, or not offering any news at all. Readers need to double check their sources before they share articles, and critically think about where the articles are coming from and who is writing them. News organizations need to triple check and make available all of their sources before sharing them, as they can affect people’s lives, like with Tom Petty and his family. Most importantly, if our own governments won’t take action against trolls and fake news, then who will?

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All statistics, data and information were recovered from the following references:

Cheng, J., Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, C., & Bernstein, M. (2017, March 02). Why people troll, according to science. Retrieved October 09, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/ find-out-why-any-of-us-are-capable-of-trolling-2017-3

Gottfried, J., & Shearer, E. (2017, September 07). Americans’ online news use is closing in on TV news use. Retrieved October 09, 2017, from

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/09/07/americans-online-news-use-vs-tv- news-use/

Mitchell, A., Kiley, J., Gottfried, J., & Guskin, E. (2013, October 24). The Role of News on Facebook. Retrieved October 09, 2017, from http://www.journalism.org/2013/10/24/the- role-of-news-on-facebook/

Nunez, M. (2016, May 09). Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News. Retrieved October 09, 2017, from https://gizmodo.com/former-facebook- workers-we-routinely-suppressed-conser-1775461006

Rainie, L., Anderson, J., & Albright, J. (2017, March 29). The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Online. Retrieved October 09, 2017, from http:// www.pewinternet.org/2017/03/29/the-future-of-free-speech-trolls-anonymity-and-fake- news-online/

Stocking, G. (2017, August 07). Digital News Fact Sheet. Retrieved October 09, 2017, from http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/digital-news/

Peer Review #2

All Things Pacific Northwest, created by Rachel Fung, is a blog that is dedicated to her personal and authentic experiences living in the pacific northwest. The overall appeal is very organized and clean, with a well-structured main menu that lets the audience get a sense of the topics she writes about. On the homepage, there are beautiful images, filling the whitespace with bright green and blues, rightfully depicting the natural beauty of Vancouver. One suggestion I have is to create a header that is consistent in any page the viewer may navigate to. Clicking into another page, there seems to be no website/blog title or header image that tells them what website the user is on, which contributes to increasing the viewer’s cognitive load. Questions such as “What website am I on again?” “What is this website about?” should be answered through a header/title that sets a brand for the blog. Another design suggestion would be to differentiate the Featured Posts from Recent Posts in the homepage. The consistent gridded structure between these two sections cause it to seem like they organized under one category. Perhaps Featured Posts could incorporate larger images in a carousel that catches the audience’s attention first.

I am quite impressed with the amount and frequency of posts Rachel has written in the past few weeks. It really shows how much she enjoys writing and being persistent with putting up content on a regular basis. I loved reading about the hikes because it gives the viewer a good sense of what the whole experience is like. As more hiking posts are written, I would suggest creating a visual scale that indicates her personal difficulty ranking of each of the hikes to let the viewer know if that hike may be suitable for them. All Things Pacific Northwest is a blog that presents Rachel’s genuine opinions and experiences, depicting her true self on an online digital platform through her personal and cultural values: it may be an aspect that one can only see if they read her blog. It’s also great that she has linked her Instagram account to her blog that let’s the audience have a better sense of who she is and gives more content about her personal life. Without the social linking, her identity is almost anonymous without a photo or revealing too much information in the About section so the images from her Instagram really adds a more personal touch. Overall, the blog is being produced very professionally and consistently!

Peer Review #2

Hello Tiffanie,

I recently viewed your site and found some interesting points to talk about, some of which I think you did a good job on, and some that I think you could improve on.

I like your approach to a minimalist, contemporary web design. The white really makes your large header image, which I love, stand out. However, a little more brightening and white balance would make the very fluffy camels and (what I am assuming is) you the center of attention. This image brings out your personality, it’s unpredictable against the clean backdrop of your blog and works well to showcase that you’re not a designing machine, (as mentioned in Travis Gertz’s article). This image is a great choice, because it really relates to the reader by confronting them and piquing their curiosity.

The colour of the links really matches the colour of the camels’ fur, which I think is a clever use of colour. I think this subtle use of colour match stands out against the white background and makes it pop. It catches the reader’s eye and makes them want to click further to read on.

While reading some of your posts, I would like to say that the images you included were inviting and seemed to express your personality, which is why I would like to see them a bit larger without having to click through for a full size.

I also noticed you included a link at the bottom of each post for your social media (twitter, facebook, and google+) but only your instagram is linked on the side, where it is always displayed no matter where the reader scrolls on your site. I think you should also include links to your other social media with your instagram here or in your menu. One of these spots will be ideal to display all your social media links in one spot for easier access. If you choose to include them all in your header menu, it will help to balance out the asymmetry of your category links (i.e. “Home”, “POSIEL”, “Blog”, and “About”) and will make everything look even.

On the topic of category links, they are not as eye catching as they could be. They are the same font size as body of text in your posts, this might lead some people to not see them as easily. I think you could bold the font or make it a larger size as you want people to see that first.

Compared to the large header image you have, the size of the font is very small. I can see where you’re coming at with the small font, I also like small fonts, but for a text heavy blog, bigger fonts attract more people to your site as they will be able to read things easier. Your blog title “nom nom nom” is cute and shows off your personality, but I almost missed it. I think it would be better if it were slightly bigger and maybe a darker font. It doesn’t have to be exaggerated or black, but slightly bigger and darker would make it more visible while still keeping the aesthetic you are going for.

Overall, I think you did a good job with your blog, it looks nice and clean, it’s easy to navigate, but some minor changes here and there would improve it even more and would attract more readers to want to stay on your blog and learn more. But I think your readers will be able to relate to you and your blog well.

Vision Board

I’ve never done a vision board before. I decided to start with a list of bullet points of things that describe me, or describe some of my passions.

  1. Athletic
  2. Adventurous
  3. Strong
  4. Thinker
  5. Reader
  6. Writer
  7. Positive
  8. Makeup
  9. Snowboarding
  10. Music (EDM)
  11. Soccer
  12. Greek
  13. Sister
  14. Curious
  15. Passionate
  16. Gym

I’m always changing, so whenever I’m asked to describe myself, I immediately start thinking about context. Is it for an interview? How do I make everything that’s bad about me sound good? Is it for class? If so, how many people are actually going to care? I’m not too sure how to be more creative about a vision board, but I took inspiration from something that happened to me in 7th grade.

7th grade was reckless and mayhem. Everyone was restless to get out of middle school and get into high school. The attitude was that we were better than everyone else. It was pretty ridiculous. It was kill or be killed – I don’t mean that literally, but what I do mean is that if you wanted to not get picked on by everyone else, you have to keep to yourself and try not to be noticed. Sometimes, you might feel you need to participate on picking on someone else because at least the attention wasn’t on you. Don’t stick up for the weird kid or else you too will be deemed WEIRD. There was a kid who was constantly picked on, who claimed he had turrets but no one was really sure. He did a lot of things for attention, and most kids would tell him inappropriate words to scream at the top of his lungs in the middle of class. He got in trouble with the teachers a lot, and was constantly kicked out of class for being disruptive.

One teacher had enough. She lectured us on how horrifying we had been acting not just to the one kid, but how we were treating each other. The ‘jokes’, the ‘rumours’, everything. She told us to write a list of everyone in class, and next to every name, we had to write one thing we liked about that person. Even if you didn’t know them, you had to write one compliment. She collected all the papers, and about 2 weeks later we got a paper back. The colourful paper had my name taking up the majority of the space, with compliments branching off of it. The bigger the compliments were in font, the more people said the same thing. Smaller font meant that the compliment was more unique.

Even if kids lied about the things on mine, I’ve kept it ever since. I was the WEIRD kid many times, and some people didn’t even know who I was enough to write a true compliment, but I have hung it up in my room all these years anyways. Sometimes you are so busy looking for the negative, you forget to look for the positives about yourself. I strongly believe that if you have anything like this, you should hang it up in your room. You don’t have to read it every day, but at least you know the meaning behind it and you can start your day on a positive note.

I think to take it a step further, or if you are finding yourself constantly feeling down, a good idea might be to start a journal. In this specific journal, you should write three good things about your day. It could be anything; a compliment you received, the weather, the way tights feel on freshly shaved legs. If you feel extra ambitious, try to add a fourth comment about something that’s bringing you down and give a possible answer to try and fix it. It doesn’t even have to be solved in that moment, but eventually, you train your brain to look for the positives and for solutions instead of the negatives. And heaven knows we have enough negativity in our lives to deal with as it is.

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...